Best practice in the early childhood special education field supports the inclusion of young children with special needs in natural learning environments, that is, in programs where children without disabilities of the same age and their families participate. Consequently, early childhood teacher education programs must prepare professionals to teach children who are diverse in physical, social, emotional, and cognitive abilities and needs. This article describes the first 3 years of collaboration between a university's early childhood teacher education program and a hospital's program for families of children with special needs. Using a transdisciplinary model, the mission of this partnership is to prepare a new generation of teachers who excel in helping children with and without disabilities thrive.
Determining and understanding the challenges faced by new teachers and their corresponding support needs is a major issue for policy development and for addressing quality issues that many educational systems face. “How well are new teachers equipped to face the challenges they encounter in the classroom and achieve their school tasks/activities?” is the research question of this paper. The analysis uses TALIS data and the results constitute the first step of an on-going research project on new teachers and teacher education and training.