Prof. Carly Davenport
November 21, 2011
Early Childhood Education:
* The Curriculum That Matters Most
As times change, it seems that education must change as well, to fit the ever-changing needs of our youth. For children of any age, education is a complex thing, but so very important for each of them to succeed in anything they do. California State Standards imitate the National standards for educational values. Each child has a right to quality, formal and age appropriate education. Even before Pre-K, children will begin absorbing mass quantities of information. This will continue for the rest of their lives, but the quality of the information given early on, will determine how each child will use it. Curriculum in Math, Fine Arts, Sciences and Literature has been developed in many astounding ways. The evaluation of educational standards has also opened new ways to teach these subjects, and more, in ways that an entertaining yet educational context. Along with educational standards, many theorists have studied the many stages of a child’s development. Psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) introduced four stages that a child goes through from birth to a child’s development past eleven years old. The four stages presented by Piaget can help educators make the most out of every child’s educational experience.
Although Piaget’s developmental theories focus mainly on the development of only children and do not address learning behaviors, understanding the stages could be crucial for some educators. Piaget emphasized that each stage can be reached at different times, meaning they are not concrete and develop only in the age range specified. The development could fluctuate due to learning disabilities or poor educational opportunities, however most children will go through each stage. Sensorimotor
This is the stage of development from birth to about age two. The child begins to learn object permanence. Much of the infant’s learning is through each of the senses. Children at this stage can be characterized by extreme egocentrism, meaning the child has no understanding of the world other than his or her own point of view. Preoperational
The preoperational stage focuses on children aged two to around seven years of age. Children in this stage can mentally represent events and objects, and generally engage in symbolic play. They can be quite egocentric; everything is about “me”. This is also around the time a good amount of children begin some form of formal schooling. Concrete Operational
At about age seven until around eleven years old, children go through the concrete operational stage. Piaget considered this stage to be a major turning point in the child's cognitive development, as it marks the beginning of logical or operational thought. Formal Operational
At about eleven years of age, the child enters the formal operational stage. “As adolescents enter this stage, they gain the ability to think in an abstract manner, the ability to combine and classify items in a more sophisticated way, and the capacity for higher-order reasoning.” (McLeod, Simply Psychology) Educational Standards
According to the NAEYC, the following is strived for:
* “take informed positions on significant, controversial issues affecting young children’s education and development; * promote broad-based dialogue on these issues, within and beyond the early childhood field; * create a shared language and evidence-based frame of reference so that practitioners, decision makers, and families may talk together about key issues in early childhood education; * influence public policies;
* stimulate investments needed to create accessible, affordable, high-quality learning environments and professional development; and * build more satisfying experiences and better...