Early Childhood Education: The Curriculum That Matters Most Stacie Emery ECE 311 Prof. Carly Davenport November 21, 2011 * * * * Early Childhood Education: * The Curriculum That Matters Most Introduction As times change, it seems that education must change as well, to fit the ever-changing needs of our youth. For children of any age, education is a complex thing, but so very important for each of them to succeed in anything they do. California State Standards imitate the National standards for educational values.
Each child has a right to quality, formal and age appropriate education. Even before Pre-K, children will begin absorbing mass quantities of information. This will continue for the rest of their lives, but the quality of the information given early on, will determine how each child will use it. Curriculum in Math, Fine Arts, Sciences and Literature has been developed in many astounding ways. The evaluation of educational standards has also opened new ways to teach these subjects, and more, in ways that an entertaining yet educational context.
Along with educational standards, many theorists have studied the many stages of a childâ€™s development. Psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) introduced four stages that a child goes through from birth to a childâ€™s development past eleven years old. The four stages presented by Piaget can help educators make the most out of every childâ€™s educational experience. Jean Piaget Although Piagetâ€™s developmental theories focus mainly on the development of only children and do not address learning behaviors, understanding the stages could be crucial for some educators.
Piaget emphasized that each stage can be reached at different times, meaning they are not concrete and develop only in the age range specified. The development could fluctuate due to learning disabilities or poor educational opportunities, however most children will go through each stage. Sensorimotor This is the stage of development from birth to about age two. The child begins to learn object permanence. Much of the infantâ€™s learning is through each of the senses.
Children at this stage can be characterized by extreme egocentrism, meaning the child has no understanding of the world other than his or her own point of view. Preoperational The preoperational stage focuses on children aged two to around seven years of age. Children in this stage can mentally represent events and objects, and generally engage in symbolic play. They can be quite egocentric; everything is about â€œmeâ€. This is also around the time a good amount of children begin some form of formal schooling. Concrete Operational
At about age seven until around eleven years old, children go through the concrete operational stage. Piaget considered this stage to be a major turning point in the child's cognitive development, as it marks the beginning of logical or operational thought. Formal Operational At about eleven years of age, the child enters the formal operational stage. â€œAs adolescents enter this stage, they gain the ability to think in an abstract manner, the ability to combine and classify items in a more sophisticated way, and the capacity for higher-order reasoning. (McLeod, Simply Psychology) Educational Standards National Standards According to the NAEYC, the following is strived for: * â€œtake informed positions on significant, controversial issues affecting young childrenâ€™s education and development; * promote broad-based dialogue on these issues, within and beyond the early childhood field; * create a shared language and evidence-based frame of reference so that practitioners, decision makers, and families may talk together about key issues in early childhood education; * influence public policies; stimulate investments needed to create accessible, affordable, high-quality learning environments and professional development; and * build more satisfying experiences and better educational and developmental outcomes for all young children. â€ (NAEYC, Standards) California Standards California Standards are very similar to the National Standards, however very much more detailed. The CAEYC website states, â€œOUR MISSION The California Association for the Education of Young Children is dedicated to advancing excellence throughout the early care and education profession.
OUR VISION CAEYC envisions a respected professional workforce providing developmentally appropriate and culturally sensitive, high-quality, early care and education for all young children achieved through research, education, professional development and advocacy. OUR EXTERNAL VALUES â€¢We believe that quality, early care and education in the lives of young children enables them to reach their full potential. â€¢We believe that appropriate systems of early care and education are an indispensable part of a community's infrastructure. We believe that a well-informed community will advocate for the resources necessary to improve the quality of life for their children. â€¢We believe that quality, early care and education is provided by well-trained professionals who understand a child's developmental needs and possess the competencies necessary to reach their potential. â€¢We believe that providing quality, early care and education is the result of lifelong learning where theory, standards, and practice are shared routinely and openly among professionals, government and public officials, as well as parents. We believe in valuing the diversity that exists within our profession. â€¢We believe in building positive partnerships with organizations that share our principles and seek to ensure that appropriate systems are in place to serve young children and their families. â€¢We believe that quality, early care and education is provided by professionals that respect and understand the emotional, physical, social and cognitive needs of young children and their families. â€¢We believe that our ability to affect positive change in the profession occurs when we join together creating a unified voice. (CAEYC, Overview) Fine Arts Definition * Fine Arts are defined as creative and visual art; an activity requiring great skill or accomplishment: â€œthe fine art of persuasionâ€. Standard Reasoning * Fine Arts in the classroom can be beneficial to both the teacher and the student. The arts include music, painting, photographs, etc. Allowing the child to express themselves will open up their minds to think beyond what is physically in front of them. As an educator, teaching a class of children to draw a picture will only show the child to draw.
If thought is put into the project, such as having the child draw a picture of what they will be when they grow up, will get the child to think outside the box. This expansive thinking creates a more satisfying educational experience for the child. Mathematics Definition Mathematics is defined as: the abstract science of number, quantity, and space; the mathematical aspects of something: â€œthe mathematics of general relativityâ€. Standard Reasoning Mathematics can be a complex topic at any age. Teaching a child numbers can be challenging yet rewarding.
The complexity and challenge of the subject generally comes when a child has difficulty grasping the concept. Creating songs about multiplication tables or silly rhymes for addition problems can create a more relaxed environment. Children generally need to feel confident that they can complete a math problem without feeling inferior. Giving any child the ability to work through a complex math problem will not only gain that experience, but it will help them when they get older. Science Definition
Science is defined as a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws. It can also be categorized as a systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation or any of the branches of natural or physical science. Also as knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study. Standard Reasoning Science covers a wide range of topics. Mathematics can be a range of problems with probability answers.
Science makes those possibilities concrete. Science helps prove theories, which are just opinions, with evidence to show that there is no probability if the answer being correct, because the proof shows that it is. Science in an early education classroom exposes children to biological changes in the environment and basic changes that the child goes through. At the younger ages, science should be kept entertaining because if it is not â€œfunâ€ children tend to turn away from the concept. Reading Definition Reading is the action or practice of a person who reads.
To read is to look at carefully so as to understand the meaning of something written, printed, etc. , to read a book; to read music. Standard Reasoning To teach a child to read is to give them a gift of imagination and development of creativity. Reading to a child, starting at a young age has proven to assist in the development of language skills as well as social skills. In the classroom, reading is required for most tasks. Children need to be able to read the problem they are trying to solve, or read a section of a book to discuss, even reading instructions on the board from the teacher.
Educators alike all strive to promote reading as one of the number one activities a child participates in. Many communities will partner with education institutes to promote reading outside of the classroom as well. Language Development Definition Language development is the process by which children come to understand and communicate language during early childhood. Standard Reasoning Language development starts at birth. As the child ages, the understanding of certain words becomes clear. Many children learn â€œnoâ€ early on.
Language development is very important for social interactions as well as being able to understand the teacher and the learning process. Recognizing when the language development is delayed is crucial for a developing child. Getting that child the assistance he or she needs early on will determine that childâ€™s willingness to participate and learn all together. Educators strive for appropriate pronunciation of new words as well as practice and use of familiar ones. This will encourage grammar and eventually sentence structure.
Conclusion * Although times have drastically changed, the importance of education has not. The entire Nation as well as each state has created standards for educating our youngest counterparts. Their letters and numbers will still be taught, be there are new ways to teach them and make it so our children want to go to school. Making education exciting will create the passion desired by educators to ensure that our children succeed. * References California Association for the Education of Young Children Standards. 2007-2010) Overview California. Retrieved from: http://caeyc. org/main/page/navabout Eliason, C. F. , Jenkins, L. (2008). A practical guide to early childhood curriculum (8th ed. ). New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc. National Association for the Education of Young Children Standards. (2009) Standards and Guidelines. Retrieved from: http://www. naeyc. org/positionstatements/standards Simply Psychology. (2009) McLeod, Saul. Jean Piaget. Retrieved from: http://www. simplypsychology. org/piaget. html
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