A Study of Facilitating Early Literacy Curriculum Improvement in Head Start Classrooms

YILMAZ A., McMullen M. B.

EGITIM VE BILIM-EDUCATION AND SCIENCE, vol.35, no.158, pp.169-183, 2010 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 35 Issue: 158
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.169-183
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Early childhood education studies draw attention to the importance of the early childhood years for future learning and development, and in particular, literacy development. Thus, early childhood programs, including Head Start, must be prepared and able to support children in their early language and literacy development by creating appropriate experiences and environments. In this study, the early literacy beliefs and practices of four Head Start teachers were examined using qualitative (interviews, early literacy quilt, and documents) method. The data supported a conclusion that a university-school partnership can impact literacy practices. Teachers who were provided with this teacher improvement program and ongoing support changed their practices from the beginning to the end of the study period. Particularly, the teachers seemed to improve their efforts to meet the early literacy needs of children which were the targeted goal of the study. Also, unlike most previous intervention studies, which resulted in change to a specific domain or created an impact on a limited behavior, the current improvement effort created more broad-based change. It impacted teachers' beliefs about early literacy, how they arranged their classroom environments, as well their notions of the value of a research partnership with the university. Ensuring the high qualifications of teaching staff requires that early childhood programs, including Head Start, devote funding to ongoing professional development. Through such programs teachers can develop their knowledge and competence in supporting all children's early literacy and language development.