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INSPIRATIONAL SESSIONS AS AN EDUCATIONAL STRATEGY IN HIGHER EDUCATION FOR FUTURE EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION TEACHERS

This work aims to describe a teaching innovation experience carried out as one of the main pillar of a subject called “Strategies of Educational Intervention in Early Childhood Education”, which was imparted in the last course of Early Childhood Education (henceforth ECE) Degree in the University of Córdoba (Spain).

In order to evaluate the accuracy and relevance of this educative strategy, it has been conducted a mixed-method research (which combines quantitative analysis through SPSS program, and qualitative one, by using the software ATLAS.ti). Initial and final questionnaires have been applied (pre and post-test), both with compilations of open and closed items. The sample size is n = 170, which corresponds to all the students of the 4th course on Early Childhood Education Degree.

According to the development of the experience, its seven sessions are carefully presented:
(1) Pedagogical referents in Early Childhood Education. In a multiple work session, through the visualization of the documentary “María Montessori una per i bambini”, students reflected around María Montessori´s figure as a personal and professional example and, from this, it was highlighted the importance of a deep understanding about other great referents in ECE;
(2) Continuous training of ECE teachers: A crucial compromise. This session was implemented by ECE advisors from the Teacher Center of Córdoba, in which the relevance of connecting theory and practice, and initial and continuous training in ECE, was remarked;
(3) Alternative approaches and pedagogical practices in ECE classroom. This was also a multiple session with in-service teachers who are experts in applying a socio-constructivist approach to the writing-reading process. During this moment, a lot of practical examples about what occurs in their classrooms were shared, pointing up the need for a writing-reading learning full of sense;
(4) “ECE is more than simply sing and dance”. In this session, in which people in charge of E-fusión, an Educational Association, the strengths of psychomotor practice and music in ECE were underlined, as well as its odds for the professional development of teachers.
(5) The importance of listening to children´s voice. This was an initial and motivating session about carrying out Work Projects in ECE, developed by members of RIECU network (www.uco.es/riecu);
(6) Social commitment through the theatre in ECE. The speaker was an ECE teacher who, thanks to her extended experience, displayed how theatre can act as a platform of Inclusive Education and how it can promote children´s integral development;
(7) “Discovering treasures” and bolstering the importance of the 0-3 tract. Using the so called strategy of Treasures’ Basket, students deepened into this first and essential stage in ECE, which is very often ignored in degree´s curriculum planning.

The experience has been assessed as positive and very positive by nearly the entire student group. They have highlighted as the most valued aspects the motivation and the diversity of the acquired learning. In relation to the weak points, it is pointed, unanimously, the urgent necessity to deeply approach the first section of the stage, that is, from birth to 3-year-old.