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Exploring Non-Contact Time in Early Childhood Education
Principal Investigator: Erin Hamel
Co-Principal Investigators: Rachel Schachter
Funding Agency: Buffett Early Childhood Institute
Award Date: Jul 1, 2020
End Date: Jun 30, 2021
Although much attention is paid to the work early childhood teachers do in the classroom, their tasks away from their students are just as essential to children’s learning and development.
This project explores workplace support of planning/non-contact time — a teacher’s time away from children that enables them to address other work demands, such as crafting instruction plans, assessing children’s development and communicating with families.
The project’s embedded, mixed-methods research design will survey participating directors and teachers of National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) programs. Using a publicly available NAEYC database, 650 nationally accredited early childhood programs were selected, and those programs’ directors are sent requests to complete online surveys.
Researchers aim to describe the current state of non-contact time in early childhood by:
- establishing and defining terminology for how to refer to this time of a teacher’s day;
- identifying the factors directors consider when allotting teachers non-contact time and the expectations directors have for teachers’ use of this time; and
- documenting the amount of non-contact time teachers report receiving and how they use this time to address their work.
Findings could potentially improve working conditions for early childhood educators, which could bolster recruitment, retention and professionalization of the early childhood workforce.
Early childhood teachers' non-contact time — time away from students in the classroom — enables them to address other work demands, such as crafting instruction plans, assessing children’s development and communicating with families.