Full Length Research Paper
The aim of this qualitative study is to investigate experiences of master’s students regarding children’s development of 21st century skills during preschool period in Türkiye. This is a phenomenological study. Purposeful sampling technique was applied in the forms of convenience sampling and criterion sampling. The data for this study was collected from four preschool teachers who were also master’s students attending the Department of Preschool Education at a university in ?zmir, Türkiye during spring 2021-2022. The data were collected through a Demographic Information Form and an Interview Form. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with the participants using a semi-structured interview form, and the data were analysed through content analysis technique. Based on the participants’ experiences regarding the development of 21st century skills of preschool children, all participants’ stated creative thinking techniques as a 21st century skill, and all stated technology based activities as a way of developing children’s 21st century skills. All of them also expressed digital literacy skills of teachers as a teacher quality which develops students’ 21st century skills and expressed family control over children’s usage of technology as a responsibility of families. They all acknowledged that schools' technological infrastructure and conditions are often inadequate for teaching children 21st century skills, and suggested the preparation of an activity guide which teaches 21st century skills to children as a solution. The findings indicate that the participants have some knowledge regarding the development of 21st century skills in children and have designed activities based on this knowledge to help children acquire these skills during their preschool period. However, they faced certain difficulties while designing and implementing these activities. They also all emphasized their experiences regarding children’s acquisition of technological skills. This study aims to reveal the professional experiences of preschool teachers regarding the development of children's 21st century skills, explain the present situation and activities that teachers design, display difficulties encountered during teaching, and explain the needs of preschool teachers.
Key words: preschool period, 21st century skills, master’s students attending preschool education program, experiences.
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