Early Childhood Professional Culture: Social Networks and Beliefs Among Pre-Kindergarten Educators


As efforts are made in the United States for public school districts to implement pre-kindergarten programs and centers, there is a growing need to attend to the aspects of the local context that may influence the ways that teachers and staff make sense of their work. Yet, the professional cultures in which early childhood teachers and other educators make sense of their practice are multi-faceted and not well understood. This study explores the network structures and beliefs among educators in three pre-kindergarten centers. In particular, the mentorship relationships among lead teachers, assistants, instructional coaches, and administrators were explored along with individuals’ beliefs about themselves and others. Findings indicate that early childhood mentoring networks aligned with formal role hierarchies, and were similar to networks seen in elementary school research. Trust among lead and assistant teachers and autonomy were particularly important in the pre-kindergarten settings where two individuals work together as part of a classroom teaching team, and the school serves a single grade level. Suggestions for future research expanding the work on professional culture in early childhood settings are addressed.


Childhood Education and Family Studies

Document Type





learning support assistants, pre-kindergarten, professional culture, social networks, teacher beliefs, teachers

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Early Childhood Research