“Will using a primary caregiver system in the Toddler/Twos classroom result in a more positive experience for teachers, students and families?”
I am three weeks into data collection seeking an answer to this research question. Having secured releases from all but one of the families in the class, I began observations and field notes early in March. I have been taking written notes on all observations, spending 1 hour a day, three days a week in the Toddler/Twos classroom. For consistency, I try to observe each day within the same time frame.
Following the observation I find that it helps if I immediately review my notes, sorting all of the behaviors and activities of teachers and students. I do this by reading through the field notes and completing a tally sheet that lists all of the different possibilities. Some examples from the Teacher Activity Chart include: playing/reading with children, diaper changes, logging LifeCubby events and leaving the room for a job-related task. Some examples from the Student Activity Chart include: eating/drinking, problem solving, showing affection and accidental injury. It has taken me several attempts to create these comprehensive checklists and it has been so helpful to remember that this type of research can call for some flexibility. Especially so since this is the first time I am attempting a project like this!
Another data collection tool that I am using is the parent and teacher attitude scales and surveys. It has been a bit challenging to get all of these back and to date I had responses from 4 out of 7 parents and 1 out of 3 teachers.
When we return from spring break we will be moving forward with instituting the primary care system. I have helped the teachers compose emails to the parents, introducing themselves as their child’s primary caregiver. There is a little bit of teacher apprehension as we begin this next phase, but there is excitement too. We will see what the next steps bring!