September 26, 2011
One of the goals of preschool education is to improve children’s school success. Early childhood educators need to enhance a child’s developmental skills and knowledge. We are to build upon their ever growing need of curiosity and creativity. Without knowing what, why, and how to developmentally teach preschool children in an early childhood environment teachers will not have a great impact on the knowledge children will gain and retain in this environment. Children are eager to learn and acquire new life changing skills.
The text (2008) emphasizes the importance of a child-centered curriculum that encompasses the whole child- physical, social, emotional, creative, and cognitive. Teachers practical knowledge of how and what to teach children is not taught in school. Teachers receive and understand the theoretical knowledge of children learning but they are unable to blend the theories with practical applications appropriate for young children. There are many preschool classrooms with qualified teachers but they do not understand the steps needed to provide a curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate. Most teachers have the book knowledge but their hands on and one on one skills are lacking when it comes to implementing activities to stimulate and excite children in learning.
Kostelnik states that, “Teachers who lack adequate knowledge in any of these areas are hampered in their attempts to create developmentally appropriate programs for young children. The areas are: the fundamental components of early literacy and numeracy; how children experience literacy and mathematical concepts in their play; what teachers can do intentionally to support literacy and numeracy in all areas of the curriculum throughout the day”. Teachers must know and understand a child’s developmental needs and how to develop ways to meet these needs.
Early childhood education recommends that programs utilize Developmentally Appropriate Practices. It is vital that young children have a curriculum that provides learning goals and guidance for teachers to develop activities and interactions. The National Association for the Education of Young Children approved the Early Childhood Standards and Accreditation Performance Standards and Accreditation Performance Criteria in 2005. These standards guide programs in a variety of areas including the curriculum (pp. 232-233).
• Children have varied opportunities to be read books and to be read to in individualized ways.
• Children have activities that allow them to become familiar with print.
• Children are given opportunities to recognize and write letters, words, and sentences as they are ready.
• Books are displayed and writing is encouraged in one or more areas of the classroom.
Curriculum development should focus on promoting learning and development in the areas of social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive growth (NAEYC Program Standards). There should be themes that are hands on and developmentally appropriate. Activities should include: art, math, science, social, studies, reading, and creativity. Classroom s should be filled with laughter and excitement. Hands on learning should take place, stories should be told, and play encouraged. Play is child’s work and when they enjoy what they are doing, then, they are more apt to learn, discover, and investigate their surroundings and environment. So how do we know that play is child’s work? This question and many more are answered when we look at research and theories of education.
Theories are the foundation for which teachers choose to teach from. Theories help guide teachers in understanding the reason why they set up their classrooms and for carrying out the lessons they teach children on a daily basis....