Every builder knows “A house is only as strong as its foundation”. They also know that they have to evaluate and become familiar the land before beginning to work. This rationale can be used as a guideline for teachers across the world, especially with the children in the early childhood stage, ages 2-6, because how teachers assist children in this stage will serve as the foundation for the life ahead of them. A child develops physically, cognitively and socially.
It is important for the teachers to know how the child is developing in order for them to effectively teach the students because they lack of understanding can lead problems for the child. Additionally, if the teacher is aware of how the child is developing, they can assist and promote the way their students think, succeed, socialize, and understand their emotions. At this stage, teachers can also begin to promote diversity, because most often, it is in the classroom that children of this age encounter people that are different.
Throughout an individual’s life, he or she goes through several stages of development, where they are developing physically, cognitively and socially. These stages begin from the day you are born and continue throughout your lifetime and last up until the day you die. Through each stage, there are certain changes an individual is expected to go through. Looking specifically the early childhood stage, physically, children’s grow rate and body fat declines. It is also during this stage that the children began to rapidly develop their gross (running and jumping) and fine (writing and drawing) motor skills.
Most importantly, during early childhood the brain and nervous system are growing. It is in the early childhood stage that the child enters school and their cognitive development is noticeable. Cognitive Development can be defined as the growth of one’s intelligence. During the early childhood stage, the child is developing symbolic reasoning and intuitive thought and they are perceived to be egocentrism. From the assignments they receive in class you can see the child’s rationale and how they see the world when they tell the stories of their pictures.
It is also because the child has entered school that they began to develop more socially. Although the children initially develop there social skills from their parents once they begin to attend schooling they develop relationships with their peers. They often want to emulate what they see their friends do from the way the walk to the way the dress. They also want to spend majority of their time playing with the other children. All teachers should understand the different stages that a child goes through in order for them to effectively teach their students.
Teachers should understand that successful learning depends on properly setting the stage for her development ? creating an open, supportive, engaging environment that meets a child’s social, emotional, and cognitive needs. (Church and Ravid. 2003) When teachers have a lack of understanding of the development stages it can cause confusion in the classroom. For example, children who are at the early childhood stages are at the point where they often display temper tantrums when things do not go the way that they planned. Not knowing this may not only cause the teacher to become impatience but also cause the students to continue the behavior.
Most importantly, teachers who do not understand the development stages may not know where the students need to be. As teachers, we must understand that there may be some influences in the child life that has caused the child’s developments to be halted. Sometimes it only takes five extra minutes spent on a subject, extra work or tutoring for the child to get back on track. In my school, I see that more and more teachers are having problems teaching their students and when they are not mastering the material in the manner the teachers thought they would.
Unfortunately, these teachers want to automatically have the child placed in a special education classes or have the resource teacher work with them (My school is working on the inclusion style of teaching for students with learning abilities). If the teacher knew much about the development of the students they would know the differences between a child with learning disabilities and a child that has not been in the environment in which they could properly develop. When a teacher fully understand the development stages and know what stage their children are in they will be in a better position to assist in their students’ development.
One important skill a teacher a can assist early childhood children develop, especially children in the early part of the stage, is there listening skills. It is important that teachers know that taking advantage of the world of sounds is a wonderful way to help young children develop their listening skills. (Miller, 2001) Students can read stories, play music, or just simply talk to the students in order for the children to pay attention. If it is something of interest, they will often listen to what is going on.
However, having children pay attention to the sounds is not enough; therefore teachers mush request the students to repeat what is going on. This year I have decided to incorporate the Arthur® cartoon series into my classroom. This series teaches educational lessons through a story plot. I have the kids to pay attention to what is being said and ask them what is going on. I noticed that kids that watch the cartoons will remember what is said and the next time they see the cartoon they are able to cite some the lines along with the characters.
Understanding the students’ development stages can also provide teachers information that can be used to help students achieve greater success; because, providing a high quality education for young children is a key to a child’s future success. Foundational skills needed to achieve academic success include social development, cognitive development, and physical development. (Sanders, http://www. pbs. org/teachersource/prek2/issues/703issue. shtm) Additionally, the students must have self-confidence and motivation to succeed.
Therefore, the teachers must not only ensure that their students are receiving educational activities that enhance the development in all three areas but they must make sure that the students willingly participate in the activities. Some students may not want to participate in some activities because they may be weak in that area and as mentioned before, children at this stage often have temper tantrums. In my class, I often express to the students that it is important to participate in all the activities whether under my instruction or not.
I make sure that I call on everyone student and that they attempt to answer the question. When I know that the student is weak in an area I give them the easier questions first and when they offer the right answer I often will say “I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT!!! “. I also make big news when my students conquer their weakness and make it to the wall of fame and they often continue working to succeed in all areas. Therefore, giving your students praises and encouragement can cause them to strive harder to succeed in class.
During the early childhood stage, the child begins to develop a conscience. The child is not only coming to an understanding of what is right from wrong but is often afraid of being caught doing something wrong. Knowing this, teachers must allow students to make decisions on their own. When explaining the rules to the students at the beginning of the year, I often will give each student a hypothetical situation and ask then what they would do and give the opportunity to explain why. By doing this, I am learning how much development the child has in this area.
I had one student who had brought candy from home and while I was grading the test I watched him to see if he was going to sneak the candy. He was unaware that I was watching and I surprisingly; he chose not to eat the candy. I called him to the side before the class was to go to lunch and told him I was watching him and I was pleased that he had decided not to eat the candy. In addition, a child needs to have social skills if they want to succeed in class and in life. Helping children to develop a repertoire of positive and appropriate social behavior is a primary goal of early childhood education.
Teachers need to coach the solitary child to learn to watch a group at play and then to suggest an appropriate role that helps them enter in. (Coons. 1985) When the students shy away from interacting with the other students the teacher should encourage the students to observe for a will then have them join. I often provide activities where I pair off the students to work together because I notice that it is easier for a child to “come out of their shell” when there is less people in the class.
Each time, I make sure that I make different pairs and by the end of the first month of school each person has spent one-on one time with all the students in the class. Now I am able to incorporated group activities where the whole class is participating and my children are all comfortable in working together as a class to complete assignments. However, the teacher must realize that a child’s social skills will only continue to progress if the child is emotional developing.
As instrumental figures in the students’ life, teachers can foster mental health in young children by providing many opportunities for healthy emotional attitudes to develop. Dr. Erik Erikson has made a significant contribution to our understanding of those basic attitudes. It takes a lot of patience combined with good judgment and warm, nurturing relationships to raise emotionally healthy children. But no matter what we do, children are going to feel sad, afraid, anxious and angry from time to time. (http://www. pbs. org/wholechild/providers/dealing.
html) Having dealt with Emotional Disordered students, I realize that they are very quick tempered and many small things will make them angry. Although I teach my students not to laugh at each other when someone makes a mistake, there are times when they “slip up”. When they do the child that made the mistake often feels embarrassed and extremely angry and immediately wants to fight the other students. After disciplining the child who laughed, I pull the child aside tell them that it is totally acceptable to fell embarrassed and angry but you can not express it through fighting.
I tell them if this happens again that they should express to the student n words how you feel. The student immediately gives me a smile because I understand and hen this happens to the next time, most of the time, they tell the other kids that they would not like it if it happened to you. This makes it important that teachers explain to the students the concept of diversity and ensure that they tell the students that we are all different in some way; one in which how we learn.
Educators must help our children appreciate the diversity and complexity of all people; therefore, in or to fulfill our commitment to diversity and to empowerment of all children and families we serve, schools and early childhood programs need to take the lead in supporting the healthy identity development of this ever increasing population. (Wardle. 1998) Henry Brooks Adams, writer and historian, put it wonderfully when he said, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell, where his influence stops.
” Teachers of children in the early childhood stage should especially consider this in the classroom. Their students are at the beginning stages of a lifetime of development and it is at this stage that what they observe and learn that will be the building block for who they will be tomorrow. Our lack of understanding can be the negatively effect their future; therefore would should try to provide a learning environment that will assist in development. As teachers, we have the power to promote critical thinking in our students and assist our students in succeeding not only in school but also life.
We need to ensure that our students work on being socially and emotional healthy and understand how diverse the world is. If we do all of this, we are increasing the chances of our student to make it in the real world and therefore have demonstrated that we are effective at our jobs. References Church, Ellen Booth, Ravid, Frann. (2003. Sep. ) Setting the Stage for Learning. Scholastic Parent & Child, Vol. 11, Issue 1 Coons, Phyllis. (1985. December) STUDY SAYS TRAINING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD BENEFITS YOUNGSTERS. Boston Globe. Boston, Mass. Miller, Susan. (2001.Oct. ) 3 to 4: Listening and learning. Scholastic Early Childhood Today. New York. Public Broadcast Station (PBS).
Dealing with Feelings: Emotional Health. Retrieved September 15, 2005 from http://www. pbs. org/wholechild/providers/dealing. html Sanders, Steve. The Issues: Physically Active for Life. Retrieved on September 15, 2005 from http://www. pbs. org/teachersource/prek2/issues/703issue. shtm. Wardle, Francis. (1998). Meeting the Needs of Multiracial and Multiethnic Children in Early Childhood Settings. Early Childhood Education Journal, Vol. 26, No. 1.