Early Childhood Education
Early childhood education is traditionally defined as any education-taking place before the primary grades of first through third grades in elementary school. It encompasses all education from birth to first grade, but usually the term is used to refer to the more formalized nursery or preschool environments and kindergartens. These classroom environments have different emphases from developmental to academic. The most appropriate type of educational structure for children this age focuses on their individual level of development and their individual interests; therefore, most academic classrooms are inappropriate because of their emphasis on seatwork and teacher directed learning. The best available curriculum for teachers of this age group is found in a book called The Creative Curriculum for Early Childhood, by Diane Trister Dodge and Laura J. Colker. The Creative Curriculum is a comprehensive, child development-based curriculum that allows teachers to set-up an effective learning environment for preschool and kindergarten classrooms. It is based on child development theories, it is easy to use, practical and flexible in its approach to teaching, and allows each child to proceed on the path of learning at the child's own pace.
Jean Piaget was a pioneer in the field of early childhood education. The legacy of Jean Piaget to the world of early childhood education is that he fundamentally altered the view of how a child learns. In addition, a teacher, he believed, was more than a transmitter of knowledge she was also an essential observer and guide to helping children build their own knowledge. As a university graduate, Swiss-born Piaget got a routine job in Paris standardizing Binet-Simon IQ tests, where the emphasis was on children getting the right answers. Piaget observed that many children of the same ages gave the same kinds of incorrect answers. What could be learned from this? Piaget interviewed many hundreds of children...
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