PERSONALITY TRAITS AND SUBJECTIVE THEORIES OF FUTURE EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS AS DETERMINANTS OF THEIR PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY
The process of early learning and teaching is significantly determined by the different characteristics of educators that not only include relevant competences for working with children of early and pre-school age but also their attitudes and personality traits. Therefore, this paper aimed to examine the personality traits and the subjective theory of future educators and their interdependence. 129 students from the Faculty of Teacher Education in Rijeka enrolled in the undergraduate study of Early and Pre-School Education participated in the study. The Big Five Inventory was applied to measure the personality traits, while the Educators’ Subjective Theory Questionnaire and the Questionnaire of Attitudes toward Different Life Areas were used to examine the attitudes. The expected elevated values of extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience and the significantly reduced levels of neuroticism were determined. Also, there was a significant positive correlation between age growth and choice of more liberal attitudes about childhood and child-rearing. Additionally, a significant correlation was established between all personality traits and attitudes toward different life areas. In conclusion, the findings are discussed within the framework of reliable indicators of various implicit pedagogies in the work of future educators with early and pre-school children and the guidelines on the modification of relevant study programs.