Styliani Gidari, Domna - Mika Kakana


Research findings suggest that teachers’ education and training is a key factor in improving the preschool quality. Teachers’ qualifications can lead to high-quality preschool education and positive developmental outcomes for the children. This study examines the effectiveness of the teachers’ professional development program “Upgrading the Quality of the Preschool Environment” on improving the quality of the Kindergartens. The research followed a quasi-experimental design and included 26 kindergarten teachers from 23 public Greek kindergartens, who were divided into an Experimental and a Control Group. The quality of the kindergartens was initially assessed using the ECERS-R scale and a five-month professional development program, based on this initial evaluation and on collaborative practices, was designed and implemented to the Experimental Group. Our results show that although the mean scores of quality before the implementation of the program did not differ significantly (t = 6.45, p =.52), the mean scores, for the Experimental Group (M = 4.71, SD = .62) were significantly higher after the intervention (t = 4.30, p <001) than those of the Control Group (M = 3.78, SD = .37). The follow up evaluation one and a half years later showed the maintenance and further improvement of the results of the program in the quality of the kindergartens. Our research provides useful information that can be used in the future for the designing of professional development programs aimed at improving the quality of the preschool environment.


Article visualizations:

Hit counter


preschool environment, quality improvement, teachers’ professional development, evaluations of preschool quality, ECERS-R

Full Text:



Abreu-Lima I, Leal T, Cadima J, Gamelas A M, 2013. Predicting child outcomes from preschool quality in Portugal. European Journal of Psychology of Education 28: 399–420.

Ackerman DJ, 2005. Getting Teachers from Here to There: Examining Issues Related to an Early Care and Education Teacher Policy. Early Childhood Research and Practice 7(1). Google scholar

Avalos B, 2011. Teacher professional development in Teaching and Teacher Education over ten years. Teaching and Teacher Education 27(1): 10-20. Google scholar

Azzi-Lessing L, 2009. Quality support infrastructure in early childhood: Still (mostly) missing. Early Childhood Research and Practice 11(1).

Bonetti S, Brown K, 2018. Structural elements of quality early years provision: A review of the evidence. London: Education Policy Institute.

Botsoglou K, Kakana DM, 2015. Αξιολογώντας την ποιότητα στο νηπιαγωγείο με την χρήση της Κλίμακας Αξιολόγησης Περιβάλλοντος για την Προσχολική Εκπαίδευση (ECERS-R). [Evaluating the quality in the kindergarten using the Environmental Assessment Scale for Preschool Education (ECERS-R)]. Dialogues. Theory and Practice in Education Sciences 1: 4-14.

Bowman BT, Donovan MS, Burns MS. (Eds.) (2001). Eager to learn: Educating our pre-schoolers, Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Google Scholar

Camilli G, Vargas S, Ryan S, Barnett WS, 2010. Meta-analysis of the effects of early education interventions on cognitive and social development. The Teachers College Record 112 (3): 579–620.

Cassidy D, Hestenes L, Hansen J, Hedge A, Shim J, Hestenes S, 2005. Revisiting the two faces of child care quality: Structure and process. Early Education and Development 16 (4): 505-520.

Chambers B, Cheung AC, Slavin RE, Smith D, Laurenzano M, 2010. Effective early childhood education programs: A systematic review. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University, Center for Research and Reform in Education. Google Scholar

Chapman C, Harris A, 2004. Improving schools in difficult and challenging contexts: strategies for improvement, Educational Research 46 (3): 219-228.

Ciesielski EJM, Creaghead NA, 2020. The Effectiveness of Professional Development on the Phonological Awareness Outcomes of Preschool Children: A Systematic Review. Literacy Research and Instruction 59 (2): 121-147. DOI: 10.1080/19388071.2019.1710785.

Coolahan J, 2002. Teacher education and the teaching career in an era of lifelong Learning. OECD Education Working Paper, Number 2 (Paris, Education Directorate, OECD).

Darling-Hammond L, Hyler ME, Gardner M, 2017. Effective Teacher Professional Development, Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute.

Day C, 1999. Developing Teachers: The Challenges of Lifelong Learning, London, Falmer Press.

Desimone LM, 2011. A primer on effective professional development. Phi Delta Kappan 92: 68-71.

Deynoot-Schaub MJG, Riksen-Walraven JM, 2005. Childcare under pressure: The quality of Dutch centers in 1995 and 2001. The Journal of Genetic Psychology 66 (3): 280-296.

Egert F, Fukkink R, Eckhardt AG, 2018. Impact of in-service professional development programs for early childhood teachers on quality ratings and child outcomes: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research 88(3): 401–433.

Eurofound, 2015. Early Childhood Care: Working conditions, training and quality of services – A systematic review. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Google scholar

Fokiali P, Kaila M, 2005. Ζήτηση και προσφορά επιμόρφωσης. Η επαγγελματική ανάπτυξη ως στόχος επιμόρφωσης των εκπαιδευτικών [Demand and supply of training. Professional development as a goal of teacher training]. In K. Vratsalis (Eds.), Texts for training (pp. 135-155). Athens: Atrapos.

Fukkink RG, Lont A, 2007. Does training matter? A meta-analysis and review of caregiver training studies. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 22: 294–311. Google Scholar

Garet M, Porter A, Desimone L, Birman B, Yoon K, 2001. What makes professional development effective? Analysis of a national sample of teachers. American Education Research Journal 38(4): 915-945.

Gibbons L, Cobb P, 2017. Focusing on Teacher Learning Opportunities to Identify Potentially Productive Coaching Activities. Journal of Teacher Education 68(4): 411–425.

Grammatikopoulos V, Gregoriadis A, Tsigilis N, Zachopoulou E, 2014. Parental conceptions of quality in Greek early childhood education. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal 22 (1): 134-148.

Grammatikopoulos V, Gregoriadis A, Tsigilis N, Zachopoulou E, 2017. Evaluating quality in early childhood education in relation with children outcomes in Greek context, Early Child Development and Care 188(12): 1816-1825. DOI: 10.1080/03004430.2017.

Gregoriadis A, Tsigilis N, Grammatikopoulos V, Kouli O, 2016. Comparing quality of childcare and kindergarten centres: the need for a strong and equal partnership in the Greek early childhood education system. Early Child Development and Care 186 (7): 1142-1151.

Guskey TR, 2002a. Professional development and teacher change. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice 8 (3/4): 381-391.

Guskey TR, 2002b. Does it make a difference? Evaluating professional development. Educational Leadership 59(6): 45-51.

Hall J, Sylva K, Melhuish E, Sammons P, Siraj‐Blatchford I, Taggart B, 2009. The role of pre‐school quality in promoting resilience in the cognitive development of young children. Oxford Review of Education 35(3): 331-352, DOI: 10.1080/03054980902934613. Google Scholar

Hamre B, Hatfield B, Pianta R, Jamil F, 2014. Evidence for general and domain-specific elements of teacher–child interactions: Associations with preschool children’s development. Child Development 85: 1257–1274.

Harms T, Clifford MR, Cryer D, 2013. Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale. ECERS-R. (K., Botsoglou, & D., Kakana, Edit &Trans.), Thessaloniki, Kyriakidi . (Original work published 1999).

Ho D, Campbell-Barr V, Leeson C, 2010. Quality improvement in early years settings in Hong Kong and England. International Journal of Early Years Education 18: 243-258. Google Scholar

Hujala E, Fonsén E, Elo J, 2012. Evaluating the quality of the child care in Finland. Early Child Development And Care 182(3-4). Google Scholar

Hunzicker J, 2011. Effective professional development for teachers: a checklist. Professional Development in Education 37 (2): 177-179.

Karras KG, Oikonomides V, 2015. In – service teachers’ education in Greece. In K. G Karras & C. C. Wolhuter (Eds.), International Handbook of Teacher Education Training & Re – training Systems in Modern World (pp. 153 – 190). Nicosia: Studies and Publishing.

Kennedy A, 2005. Models of Continuing Professional Development: A framework for analysis. Journal of In-service Education 31(2): 235–50.

Katsarou E, Dedouli M, 2008. Επιμόρφωση και αξιολόγηση στο χώρο της εκπαίδευσης [Training and Evaluation in the field of Education]. Athens: Ministry of Education-Pedagogical Institute.

Kennedy A, 2014. Understanding continuing professional development: The need for theory to impact on policy and practice. Professional Development in Education 40(5): 688-697.

Kingston JD, 2017. A Mixed Methods Study: Evaluating the Impact of a Bespoke Professional Development Based on an Analysis of Existing Quality in One Local Authoritys [Unpublished master’s thesis]. University College London.

Knight P, 2002. A systemic approach to professional development: Learning as practice. Teaching and Teacher Education 18(3): 229–241.

Korjenevitch M, Dunifon R, 2010. Child care center quality and child development. New York: Cornell University.

Lave J, Wenger E, 1991. Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lazzari A, Picchio M, Musatti T, 2013. Sustaining ECEC quality through continuing professional development: systemic approaches to practitioners’ professionalization in the Italian context. Early Years 33(2): 133-145.

Lieberman A, Pointer Mace DH, 2008. Teacher Learning: The Key to Educational Reform. Journal of Teacher Education 59: 226-234.

Lynch RG, 2007. Enriching Children, Enriching the Nation: Public Investment in High-Quality Prekindergarten, Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute.

Manning M, Wong GT, Fleming C, Garvis S, 2019. Is teacher qualification associated with the quality of the early childhood education and care environment? A meta-analytic review. Review of Educational Research 89(3): 370–415.

Mashburn AJ, Pianta RC, Hamre BK, Downer JT, Barbarin OA, Bryant D, Burchinal M, Early DM, Howes C, 2008. Measures of classroom quality in prekindergarten and children's development of academic, language, and social skills. Child Development 79 (3): 732-749.

Mavridou EB, 2013. Αξιολόγηση της ποιότητας του περιβάλλοντος στην Προσχολική Εκπαίδευση [Evaluation of the quality of the environment in Preschool Education]. PhD Thesis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Melhuish E, Ereky-Stevens K, Petrogiannis K, Ariescu A, Penderi E, Rentzou K, Tawell A, Slot P, Broekhuizen M, Leseman P, 2015. A review of research on the effects of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) upon child development. CARE project. Curriculum quality analysis and impact review of European Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC). (Technical report FP7-SSH-2013-2), European Commission. http://ecec- Review_on_the_effects_of_ECEC.pdf Accessed 4 November 2019.

Miller JA, Bogatova T, 2009. Quality improvements in the early care and education workforce: Outcomes and impact of the T.E.A.C.H. early childhood project. Evaluation and Program Planning 32: 257-277.

Moiduddin E, Aikens N, Tarullo L, West J, Xue Y, 2012.Child outcomes and classroom quality in FACES 2009.OPRE Report 2012-37a, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Moss P, Dahlberg G, 2008. Beyond Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care-Languages of Evaluation. New Zealand Journal of Teachers’ Work 5(1): 3- 12.

National Professional Development Center on Inclusion (NPDCI), 2008. What do we mean by professional development in the early childhood field? Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina, FPG Child Development Institute, National Professional Development Center on Inclusion (NPDCI).

OECD, 2018. Education at a Glance 2018: OECD Indicators. OECD Publishing, Paris.

Patton K, Parker M, 2017. Teacher education communities of practice: More than a culture of collaboration. Teaching and Teacher Education 67: 351-360.

Peeters J, Cameron, C, Lazzari A, Peleman B, Budginaite I, Hauari H, Siarova H, 2014. Impact of continuous professional development and working conditions of early childhood education and care practitioners on quality, staff-child interactions and children’s outcomes: A systematic synthesis of research evidence. Gent: VBJK.

Pelema, B, Lazzari A, Budginaite I, Siarova H, Hauari H, Peeters J, Cameron C, 2018. Continuous professional development and ECEC quality: Findings from a European systematic literature review. European Journal of Education 53(1): 9–22.

Petrogiannis K, 2002. Greek Day Care Centers Quality, Caregivers Behavior and Children’s Development. International Journal of Early Years Education 10(2): 138-146.

Petrogiannis Κ, 2010. Early childhood care and education in Greece: Some facts on research and policy. International Journal of Early Childhood 42 (2): 131-139.

Rentzou K, 2012. Quality of care and education provided by Greek day care centers: An approach from researcher’s and early childhood educators’ perspective. Early Child Development and Care 182(10): 1335-1348. :

Roach MA, Riley D, Adams D, Edie D, 2005. Evaluation of a State Initiative to Improve Child Care Quality. Early Education and Development 16(1): 69-84.

Schachter RE, 2015. An Analytic Study of the Professional Development Research in Early Childhood Education. Early Education and Development 26(8): 1057-1085. DOI: 10.1080/10409289.2015.1009335

Sheridan S, 2001. Pedagogical Quality in Preschool. An issue of perspectives. PhD Thesis, University of Gothenburg.

Sheridan S, Giota J, Han YM, Kwon JY, 2009. A cross-cultural study of preschool quality in South Korea and Sweden: ECERS evaluations. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 24(2): 142-156

Sheridan S, Edwards C, Marvin CA, Knoche LL, 2009. Professional Development in Early Childhood Programs: Process Issues and Research Needs. Early Education and Development 20(3):377-401. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2009.03.004 Google Scholar

Siraj I, Kingston D, Neilsen-Hewett C, Howard S, Melhuish E, de Rosnay M, Duursma E, Luu B, 2016. Fostering Effective Early Learning: A review of the current international evidence considering quality in early childhood education and care programmes - in delivery, pedagogy and child outcomes, Sydney, Australia: NSW Department of Education.

Slot P, 2018. “Structural characteristics and process quality in early childhood education and care: A literature review”. OECD Education Working Papers, No. 176, OECD Publishing, Paris.

Sylva K, Melhuish E, Sammons P, Siraj-Blatchford I, Taggart B, 2010. Early childhood matters: Evidence from the effective pre-school and primary education project. Abingdon: Routledge. Google Scholar Accessed 13 January 2020.

Sylva K, Melhuish E, Sammons P, Siraj-Blatchford I, Taggart B, 2011. Pre-school quality and educational outcomes at age 11: Low quality has little benefit. Journal of Early Childhood Research 9(2): 109–124. Google Scholar

Sylva K, Melhuish E, Sammons P, Siraj I, Taggart B, Smees R, Toth K, Welcomme W, Hollingworth K, 2014. Students’ Educational and Developmental Outcomes at age 16. Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education EPPSE 3-16 project, London, DfE. Google Scholar

Tsafos B, n.d.. Οι Έλληνες εκπαιδευτικοί απέναντι στις επιμορφωτικές προκλήσεις [Greek teachers face the educational challenges]. Proceedings of the Symposium organized by the 3rd Office of the Board of Directors Athens. Accessed 17 May 2019.

UNESCO 2014. EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/14 – Teaching and Learning: Achieving Quality for All. Paris: UNESCO. Accessed 2 Mars 2018.

UNESCO 2015. EDUCATION FOR ALL 2000-2015: achievements and challenges. Paris: UNESCO. Accessed 2 Mars 2018.

Yoon KS, Duncan T, Lee SW, Scarloss B, Shapley KL, 2007. Reviewing the evidence on how teacher professional development affects student achievement (Issues & Answers report, REL 2007–No. 033), Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest.

Vandell DL, Belsky J, Burchinal M, Steinberg L, Vandergrift N, 2010. Do effects of early child care extend to age 15 years? results from the NICHD study of early child care and youth development. Child Development 81(3): 737-756. Google Scholar

Van Driel JH, Meirink JA, van Veen K, Zwart RC, 2012. Current trends and missing links in studies on teacher professional development in science education: a review of design features and quality of research. Studies in Science Education 48(2): 129-160.

Wenger Ε, 2006. Communities of practice. A brief introduction. Accessed 23 April 2018

Whitebook M, 2003. Early Education Quality: Higher teacher qualifications for better learning environments - A review of the literature. Berkeley, CA: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. Google Scholar



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 Styliani Gidari, Domna - Mika Kakana

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright © 2015-2022. European Journal of Education Studies (ISSN 2501 - 1111) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library (Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei). All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms. All authors who send their manuscripts to this journal and whose articles are published on this journal retain full copyright of their articles. All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).