January 12, 2014
While being in this course I have learned about the different curriculums, philosophies and theories. In this paper I will be discussing how to develop an appropriate curriculum for preschool children. This paper will include the following topics: the theories and/or philosophies of Montessori; concepts learned throughout this course, how to apply them into an early childhood classroom focusing on the understanding components to design a curriculum for a preschool classroom based on ages 3 to 5 year old children. First let’s discuss the philosophies of both Maria Montessori and Jean Piaget. Maria Montessori ideas and beliefs are embedded throughout every early childhood program and her influence on our thinking about curriculum has been profound. She was a tireless child advocate and believed that all children deserve a proper education. Montessori insisted that through proper early education, underprivileged and cognitively impaired children could be successful if they were given a chance to learn. She was one of the first to establish a preschool for poor and mentally retarded children in Rome; these preschools were called “Casa dei Bambini”, which translated in English as “Children’s House.” Dr. Montessori proposed that children that are at risk and the notion that society had a moral responsibility to devote resources to early child intervention. Our textbook states that. “Montessori embraced and expanded Froebel’s kindergarten concept; she felt that children were natural learners and should drive much of their own learning. She asserted that children should be grouped in multiage (2 ½ to 5 years) classes to allow flexibility and opportunities for peer mentoring. Montessori developed an extensive set of “didactic” materials and lessons designed to be attractive to children and used by teachers to teach specific concepts and skills. She adapted furniture to child size as a gesture of respect for the unique needs of early learners” (Jaruszewicz, 2012). I agree with her philosophy and theory, because children do need the freedom to learn at their own pace and not to be pressured to do what they see other children do. It is also important the classroom learning environment to be attractive so that it will draw the children to be there and learn new and exciting things. In order to use the teaching method, the teachers must be trained to work with all children and understand that no one child develops the same as another. The other philosopher that I will discuss is Jean Piaget. A contemporary of both Montessori and Dewey, Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget proposed a theory of cognitive development that initiated a constructivist view of curriculum (Jaruszewicz, 2012). Piaget conducted several experiments with young children that proved that their mental concepts are learned through trial and error experiences. Young children will continue to do things that they have been told not to do, until the consequence of their actions has been reached. For example, when a parent tells their child not to stack the building blocks up too high or they will fall on them which could lead to them being hurt; the child continues to do that the same thing over and over again to see if what their parent said is true. Once the child has seen the building blocks fall over on them is when they have learned that they don’t need to do that. His work confirmed early learning as distinct from other developmental periods, implying, therefore, that materials and activities for young children should reflect the idiosyncratic way in which they think and process stimuli (Jaruszewicz, 2012). Piaget proposed that cognitive development occurs in four different stages, three of which occur during early childhood. In the sensorimotor stage, infants and toddlers process experience and begin to coordinate movement through sensory exploration. Preoperational thinking of preschoolers...
References: Jaruszewicz, C. (2012). Curriculum and Methods for Early Childhood Educators. In C. Jaruszewicz, Curriculum and Methods for Early Childhood Educators. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education.
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