“It must be remembered that the purpose of education is not to fill the minds of students with facts … it is to teach them to think, if that is possible, and always to think for themselves. ” Robert Hutchins. It is very clear to me that a successful early childhood program must provide a safe and nurturing environment that promotes social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. Young children need a warm and inviting atmosphere to learn. Children must have their basic needs met before any learning can take place. Safety, nutrition, and shelter are a few needs which must be provided.
Although early childhood centers may not directly provide these services outside the regular school day, administrators must connect with outside agencies in order to recommend and provide families with necessary services. Children need to be encouraged to express themselves though verbal communication, text/pictures, play, and through art. Children learn through manipulation of objects in their environment, creative play, and discovery of the world around them. It is through group play, role modeling, and through supportive teaching that children grow socially and emotionally.
These group activities teach young children how to live, work and play together. Independent and guided problem solving and independent exploration help children gain greater independence. Children need both independent and teamwork skills to become a well rounded person Early childhood teachers need to understand that often they are the one person spending the majority of the time with the children they are teaching. Parents today are busy with work and trying to keep the household together. Released by the U. S.
Census Bureau in November, 2009 there are approximately 13. 7 million single parent s in the United States today. These single parents are responsible for raising 21. 8 million children which is roughly 26% of children under 21 in the U. S. today. I strongly believe that early childhood teachers are responsible for forming a superior bond with each parent so they can work together to help each child grow as an individual, based on the child’s needs. A classroom is places where differences should be valued and children and their families are appreciated and respected.
Each Classroom is diverse in many ways, including economically, and culturally. I believe each teacher, parent and administrator should be committed to promoting diversity in all its forms, including those related to racial and ethnic identity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexuality, age, family structure, religion, national origin and ability. I believe as educators we should actively seek to teach children tolerance of all forms of difference, and just as actively seek to dissuade children from bias about norms and stereotypes.
Throughout the classroom as well as the center there should be displays that show diversity as a celebration of people, of differences and of ways of living. I believe in early childhood education the best form of assessment is performance records. Performance records are any documentation regarding the child’s development and learning. These records help the child care provider to notice patterns in a child’s behavior as well as learning patterns. It is important to document at various times of the day as well as with a variety of teacher directed and child directed activities.
I feel in early childhood children develop at differently, some children develop faster than others and therefore standardize testing is not an accurate account of the children’s abilities. At this age in a child’s life children should not be measured against their peers. I believe that each child should be measured on an individual basis. I feel that the best approach to curriculum is the integrated curriculum approach which involves picking one topic that can be explored across more than one academic discipline. I do feel that children are going to be more interested if they have some choice in the topics.
With preschool children they are at an age where they can express what they want. I feel that a teacher should include them in some of the topics they explore. Children should participate independently, with the entire group and cooperatively in small groups. Each day should be a balance of free-choice time and planned structured activities in specific time blocks. Activities throughout the day are either child-initiated or teacher-directed. This variety promotes independence, provides opportunities for children to practice and acquire social skills and fosters the development of a positive self-image.
It is important for every teacher and administrator to remember that “In early childhood you may lay the foundation of poverty or riches, industry of idleness, good or evil, by the habits to which you train your children. Teach them right habits then and their future life is safe. ” Lydia Sigourney. I truly believe that each child that walks into our lives is there for us to nurture and help grow and we may be the only one that is laying the foundations. We have a chance to change the life of every child that walks in our center.