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Preschool teacher competence viewed from the perspective of students in early childhood teacher education

Journal article
Authors A. Lillvist
A. Sandberg
Sonja Sheridan
Pia Williams
Published in Journal of Education for Teaching
Volume 40
Issue 1
Pages 3-19
ISSN 0260-7476
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Pages 3-19
Language en
Keywords early childhood teacher education, interactionist theories, preschool teacher competence, quantitative method, student perspective
Subject categories Educational Sciences


This paper examines contemporary issues in early childhood teacher education in Sweden. The aim of the study was to explore dimensions of the construct of preschool teachers' competence as reported by 810 students enrolled in early childhood teacher education at 15 Swedish universities. The results showed that students' definitions of preschool teacher competence were composed of six different dimensions: a general pedagogical competence, specific content competence, distinct teacher competence, play competence, competence of child perspective, and collaborative and social competence. In general, there were quite large variations in how students perceived the concept of preschool teacher competence and the extent to which they believed they developed these competences during the course of their education. The different dimensions of preschool teacher competence are discussed in relation to the content of the early childhood teacher education in Sweden, the curriculum for the preschool and the concept of professionalism in Early Childhood Education and Care. 2014 © 2014 Taylor & Francis.

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