Philosophies and Practices
In Early childhood Education
ECE311 Early Childhood Curriculum
02 August 2010
With a personal philosophy accumulated from educational philosophers and theorists, and keeping current with research, a preschool teacher can reach a family and teach the young child to be ready for further education and the community. Teaching young children to become productive members of a society goes as far back in history as Aristotle who believed “children should be taught virtue by the use of repetitive exercises.” (S. Mack) The idea was to create a more civilized society by teaching young children virtues. Although his way of teaching may be challenged, the basic idea of creating a civilized society through the education of young children appears to be the foundation for theorists such as Lev Vygotsky, Jean Piaget and Maria Montessori. Based on research and theories the Montessori, and Highscope approaches were developed and are currently being used in preschools.
Lev Vygotsky theorized that young children learn through social interactions both at home and school. He challenged the common belief that children can learn at any time and that learning came automatic to children. Vygotsky offered that learning had a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), a window of opportunity to teach a skill in the child’s development, and although learning can be done after the ZPD, it is difficult. Teachers and families must recognize the ZPD, and provide appropriate learning experiences. Young children will learn through active participation with games, toys, and socializing with the people around. Jean Piaget took this information and expended it, giving educators a clearer insight on the developmental stages of young children.
Jean Piaget wanted to know why children thought the sun and mood followed them, and with great experimentation, he theorized that children where young scientists, forming their own hypothesis about their surroundings and although their conclusions may be incorrect, they learn from continuing to find the correct answer. Children are not empty and waiting to be filled with knowledge, but are forming their own knowledge from experiences and experiments. They will create their own theories based on what makes sense, and where the child is developmentally. Jean Piaget outlined the four developmental stages as follows: Sensorimotor Stage: Approximately 0 - 2
from sucking and grasping at infancy through tactile learning at two. The child is already forming ideas about his surroundings Preoperational Stage: Approximately 2 - 6
The preschooler is starting to use symbols in speech and counting. They are applying symbols to what is already learned in sensorimotor. Concrete Operations: Approximately 6 - 11
School agers are using numbers to add and subtract, and concrete knowledge to learn. Formal Operations: Approximately 11 - adult
Reasoning, Hypothesizing, and using abstract thought to formulate answers that make more sense. Teachers are there to help build on the knowledge already stored in young children, use the information they have already gathered to help find other solutions. Maria Montessori also felt that children were not “blank slates”, but soaking in the environment and experiences available.
Maria Montessori uses the environment and available resources to teach children. She felt that Children learn through uninterrupted concentration and hands on experimentation with materials carefully selected to enhance the child at his current level of learning. Maria Montessori felt that a classroom with children of multiple ages can learn better without grouping and teacher lectures, that children can learn more effectively at their own rate, with more one-on-one contact with a facilitator who will increase the difficulty of materials as the child matures and develops.
A Montessori trained teacher and...
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