Perceptions of physical education in early childhood teacher education courses



physical education, teacher educator, preservice teacher, early childhood teacher education


The engagement in movement skills in early childhood education care is a key component of promoting a healthy lifestyle. However, the literature shows that early childhood teachers' insufficient training and lack of policies to support physical education (PE) negatively impact children's education on movement activities in their early years (Sharma et al., 2014). The aim of this case study was to describe teacher educators’ (TE) perceptions from three different countries regarding the purpose of PE in early childhood teacher education (ECTE) program. One TE from each of Brazil, Finland, and the USA was invited were the participants of this study. Data were collected through interviews and PE course syllabi. Data extracted from the interviews were analyzed inductively via an individual case and cross-case (Patton, 2001). The results showed TEs' similarities in providing preservice teachers with a better understanding of the importance of movement skills and clarifying misconceptions inherited from their past experiences. Challenges found in some ECTE contexts involved: (a) allocation of time in the ECTE curriculum is not always consistent with other academic disciplines, (b) PE courses in ECTE do not always include practicum activities, and (c) PE in ECTE sometimes is not seen as an academic subject.