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 and concluded that children who are allowed to make mistakes often go on to discover their errors and correct them, or fined new solutions. In this process, children build their own way of learning.From children’s errors, teachers can obtain insights into the child’s view of the world and can tell where guidance is needed. They can provide appropriate materials, ask encouraging questions, and allow the child to construct his own knowledge. Piaget’s continued interactions with young children became part of his life-long research. After reading about a child who thought that the sun and moon followed him wherever he went, Piaget wanted to find out if all young children had a similar belief. He found that many did indeed believe this.
Piaget went on to explore children’s countless “why” questions, such as, “Why is the sun round? , or “Why is grass green? ” He concluded that children do not think like adults. Their thought processes have their own distinct order and special logic. Children are not “empty vessels to be filled with knowledge” (as traditional pedagogical theory had it). They are “active builders of knowledge-little scientists who construct their own theories of the world. An old Chinese proverb states: Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.
In three short statements, this proverb represents my outlook on education. Over-all my philosophy could be ? escribed as eclectic; nonetheless, the main emphasis I plan to make stems from progressivism. I also plan to incorporate behaviorism into my teachings and I will maintain an open mind throughout my teaching career in order to adapt to the needs of my pupils. Furthermore, my classroom philosophy also contains elements from behaviorism. I believe rewarding and positive reinforcement is the best way to get the results one desires from his/her students. Having an idea of the philosophies I will use is great for now, but I plan to be flexible in my teaching style.My job is relay information that I have obtained and allow my pupils to acquire the skills necessary to be successful in life.
To do so, I need to be able to change my style of teaching from class to class or in some cases from student to student in order to cater to each individual. Through experience, I have found that not all students learn the same way and that the progressivism or behaviorism approach may not always work. As a teacher, I can only teach what I know, so to increase my effectiveness as a teacher it seems necessary to further my education.Shortly after graduation, I plan to get my masters degree in the Special Education field. Even though I believe that participation and positive reinforcement are the best ways for a student to learn necessary skills, it is also best to keep an open mind. Through my own experiences, I have learned that not all students learn this way and it is my duty as a teacher to adjust my style to fit their needs. As a teacher, it is also my responsibility to further my education in order to teach my pupils and help them reach their fullest potential