Discuss the importance of providing developmentally and culturally appropriate; stimulating environments and experiences to support children learning in the early years (include theories) in context of your centre or hypothetical. Describe the roles you play in facilitating and scaffolding children’s learning?
Developmentally appropriate, stimulating environments and experiences According to Piaget’s stages of cognitive development, children constantly absorb knowledge as they experience and explore their world. Piaget has classified children’s growth into 4 stages. The first being the Sensorimotor stage which is from birth to 2 years old. This stage the infant explores the world with their eyes, ears, hands and mouth. The next stage is the Preoperational stage which is preschool children between 2 to 7 years olds. At this stage there is development of language and make-believe play takes place. However, there is no logical thinking developed here. The third is the concrete operational stage. The children are between 7 to 11 years old. At this stage, children’s reasoning becomes logical. The fourth stage is the Formal operational stage. Children ages from 11 years onwards. At this stage, the children could thinkof all possible outcomes and solve problems. (Berk 2003) With regards to these 4 stages of cognitive development, if children at a certain stages have not reach their maturity and are given inappropriate materials or activities, there will be a hindrance to their learning and this may result in discouragement and lose of interest in learning. For example if we let an infant of 2 years or below play games such as monopoly, the infant who is cognitively still need exploring may messed up all the cards or tear the ‘money’. At this stage we should provide stimulating materials like rattles, music box, big colorful cars, biting toys, bright colors pictures, big hand size toys for the infant to feel and explore. Games like peek-a-boo instead of hide and seek. Since the infants are exploring and curious to their surroundings, stronger colors like red, orange, yellow should be used on those materials. Toys with sounds are good for the stage of development. Materials which allow sensory functions are much appropriate. The infants here learn through see, feel, touch, taste and hear. Between 2 to 7 years, the thinking of the children lacks logic. Therefore, activities or games with deeper problem solving are not appropriate. There should be a lot of pictures with communications. Children at this stage may take a block or anything to pretend that they are phoning and calling someone at home or their friends in the Centre. The exposure to more vocabulary through the interaction with the educator is necessary as the children at this stage are ready to absorb more knowledge and learning to speak properly. As this age the children has not developed their logical thinking, any more complicated problem solving game may not be appropriate. That will cause stress and discourage learning. The children at the Operational Stage are from 7 to 11 years. They are beginning to develop logical thinking. At this stage we could introduce sorting and classification, sizes, the understanding of volume. As the children’s thinking at this stage is not yet abstract, we should not have complicated problem solving games. Inappropriate activities may cause them to be discouraged in learning. Lego and blocks constructions are good activities to develop the area of abstract thinking. For those 11 years onwards, the have the capacity for abstraction. They could reason with symbols that do not refer to objects in the real world. They can think and analyze and explore possible outcomes for scientific problem and can do more challenging problem solving questions. More challenging games like treasure hunt, IQ problem solving questions, and maze are good activities that will stimulate and enhance the development. Games with rules are...
References: Developmentally appropriate practices, Carol Gestwicki, 2011, Wadsworth
Who am I in the lives of children?, Stephanie Feeney, Eva Moravcik, Sherry Nolte, Doris Christensen, 2010, Pearson Education Ltd
Child Development, Laura E Berk, 2003, Pearson Education
Approaches to early childhood education, Jaipaul Roopnarine, James E Johnson, 2010, Pearson Education Ltd
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