Journal of Research in Childhood Education, vol.19, no.1, pp.5-17, 2004 (Scopus)
It is a well-known theory and practice among early childhood educators that building early relationships with the children is crucial to their development. However, there is irony in the fact that many teacher education programs that propose to model “best practices” do not model relationship building with their preservice teachers. This study examines two methods courses that integrated the ethic of care within their science and mathematics pedagogy as an avenue to operationalize the “relational zone.” Two cohorts of 24 and 20 female preservice early childhood teachers participated in the study. The students were enrolled in science and mathematics classes that emphasized integration and an ethic of care. Integration included joint syllabi, discussions, joint assignments, and co-teaching by both teacher educators. Caring practices were modeled and practiced within the courses. The participants responded to 10 prompts by writing journal entries. Qualitative analysis of the students' journals revealed that they understood and practiced caring content in the context of science and mathematics teaching. The findings are discussed in terms of modeling relationship building with preservice teachers. © 2004 by the Association for Childhood Education International.