Early Learning Environment

Topics: Reggio Emilia approach, Childhood, Intelligence Pages: 8 (2813 words) Published: July 15, 2013
The Influence of Educational Philosophy on a Proposed Early Learning Environment Annlatish Jones
Barbara Seagal
March 25,2013

While developing a classroom with the parameters of utilizing the knowledge of educational philosophers it has been found that in order to do so effectively, it is best accomplished using an emergent curriculum and consideration for the individual child. Determining the best approach for implementing the proposed curriculum is guided by the Montessori, Gardner and Vygotsky theories focusing mainly on the ideas of scaffolding, open ended play and multiple intelligences. When introducing the PA Early Learning Standards to the proposed plan, it is found that a variety of presentations of information can be given to children of different learning styles all while getting the same main idea across.

Loris Malaguzzi, the creator and force behind the work that is proof positive of the benefits of early childhood education has said a great thing about how children learn, "Creativity seems to emerge from multiple experiences, coupled with a well-supported development of personal resources, including a sense of freedom to venture beyond the known." This is the heart of the educational philosophy with which my classroom for preschoolers is designed and which guides the tenants of approach for environment, curriculum and practice. Children learn through their experiences and we as their caregivers, build upon their knowledge to develop not just the whole group, but the whole child.

In addition to the founding and current principles that run the early childhood environments found in Reggio Emilia, Italy, the ideas of Vygotsky, Gardner and Montessori will and do have influence over the environment that the children learn and explore in.. A founding tenant of their success in Reggio Emilia, is the employment of their emergent curriculum, otherwise what is known as a project oriented approach to the children's experiences (Malaguzzi, 2013). In other words, the children’s interests guide their planned experiences, with their free exploration being the most opportune time to observe, record, and quietly reflect on their blooming interests. This is the scaffolding that Vygotsky so wisely explored and classrooms worldwide employ the technique of assessing prior knowledge and then building upon what they have learned with planned experiences. By taking what is seen from these times, the teachers can come together to plan and negotiate experiences so there will be a better sense of what the children need to learn from what they want to know.

Also popular to our counterparts in Italy, are the Montessori methods which focus greatly on hands on learning. The classroom that I envision is all hands on, with experiences geared towards the senses that in turn ensure a logical sense of order and reason to what the child takes in and gets out of their time in the environment. Much like the ideas behind the emergent curriculum, it is understood that Dr. Montessori envisioned a child that showed us what they wanted to learn and it was the adults who geared their plans towards their interests. The idea that, "Children's emotional, social, and academic development improve when they are empowered through choice” (Shaw, 2012) gives rise to the notion that by allowing children the free choice to explore as frequently as possible we give them the power to enjoy their learning, and it is well understood that when anyone, not just children, enjoy their experiences they take more from them.

To allow children to take something from their environment requires that the environment itself gives them a reason to enjoy it. Essentially by creating a requirement that the environments development caters to not just their interests but the means of learning that the children exhibit, we give the youngest learners the option of how to learn new things best. The idea...

References: Malaguzzi, L. (2013, March 22). The Reggio Emilia Approach. Retrieved from Campus Kindergarten: http://www.uq.edu.au/campuskindy/Reggio_Emilia_for_parents.pdf
Shaw, L. F. (2012, January 27). Montessori: The Missing Voice in the Education Reform Debate . Retrieved from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-flores-shaw/montessori-education-debate_b_1237451.html
Smith, M. K. (2008). Howard Gardner and Multiple Inteliigences. Retrieved from The Encyclopedia of Informal Education: http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm
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