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Models in Early Childhood Education Essay

6. 1 Introduction The work of human development theorists is important to early childhood education if their concepts are translated into practise and methods. There was a great number of early childhood education programs developed in the 1960s and 1970s when educators and researchers were encouraged to develop alternative approaches for Head Start programs. Most programs were designed to examine different ways of helping children at later academic failure improve their school performance. However, it is helpful to examine how some specific models have taken views of particular theorists and transformed these into program application.

In this topic, we will examine several models to illustrate how particular views of child development can be implemented in practice. After completing this topic, you should be able to discuss the models available in early childhood education. Early Childhood Education Models * Montessori Programs * The Bank Street Approach * The Cognitively Oriented Curriculum * The Reggio Emilia Approach * The Bereiter-Engelmann Model Fig. 6. 1 Topic contents 6. 2 Montessori Program Maria Montessori’s program was based on some carefully considered ideas about how young children grow.

Montessori devised her program to meet the needs of impoverished children and to help them learn important life skills. It is designed as a three-year sequence for children ages three to six. However, today’s a wide range of Montessori’s program can be found. Some adhere quite rigidly to the original techniques, whereas others follow an approach that has been adapted to better fit the current social context. 6. 3. 1 The Environment * It is aesthetically pleasing, with plants, flowers, and attractive furniture and materials. * There’s a sense of order inherent in the classroom.

* Child-sized equipment and materials are clearly organized on shelves that are easily accessible to the children. * Distinct areas are available in the classroom, each containing materials unique to promoting the tasks to be mastered in that area. 6. 3. 2 The Children * Children of different ages involved in individual activities. * Children initiate activities and are free to engage in any projects they choose. * Children are self-directed, working independently or sometimes by two’s. * Younger children maybe learning by observing and imitating their older classmates.

6. 3. 3 The Teachers * Little adult control. * Teacher’s involvement is minimal and quiet. * The teacher may be observing from a distance or demonstrating a child how to use a new material. * Teacher does not reinforce or praise children for their work. * Activities are self-rewarding and intrinsically motivating. 6. 3. 4 The Materials * The materials are didactic (instructive) each designed to teach a specific lesson. * It is self-correcting so the child gets immediate feedback from the material after correctly (incorrectly) completing a task.

* It is designed from the simple to the more complex for children to challenge progressively to more difficult concepts. * It is carefully and attractive constructed. * Made of natural materials such as varnished wood. 6. 3. 5 The Curriculum * When children first enter a Montessori program, they are introduced to the daily living component, in which practical activities are emphasized. * The second set of materials and activities are sensorial; helping children develop, organize, broaden and refine sensory perceptions of sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.

* The third aspect of the program involves conceptual or academic materials. * Montessori programs are reality based rather than promoting fantasy, where there will not be a dramatic play area, a creative art corner, or other activities that invite children to freely use their imagination. 6. 3 The Bank Street Approach This program is concerned with all aspects of children’s development, but also that it places emphasis on interactions, both between the child and environment and between cognitive and affective areas of the child’s development.

The program does not aim to teach children a lot of new concepts, but rather to help them understand what they already know in more depth. Children’s own experiences are the base of the Bank Street program and thus, the curriculum must remain open and flexible so each child can build on and expend according to her or his own unique conceptual level. 6. 4. 6 The Environment * The classroom is arranged into conventional interest areas such as music, art, reading, science and dramatic play. * Many of the materials are handmade, by both teachers and children.

* Teacher materials are encouraged because they are designed to meet unique and specific needs of the children in the class. * Children made materials may include books as part of the reading centre. 6. 4. 7 The Curriculum * The curriculum and functioning of the classroom is integrated. * To promote learning, curriculum is based on a unifying theme, which serves to help children focus on specific concepts and provides a sense of integration. * Children early experiences are designed to help them understand and master their school environment. * Later learning is extended beyond the classroom to the community. 6. 4. 8 The Teachers.

* Teachers must have a keen understanding of children’s development, of each child’s individuality, and of how best to structure an environment that will encourage each child to fulfil his or her potential. * Teacher’s role is to recognize nuances in the children through their sensitivity and make changes as appropriate. * Teachers match the types and variety of materials and experiences they provide to children’s changing needs. 6. 4 The Cognitively Oriented Curriculum The Cognitively-Oriented model is based on the premise that children are active learners who construct their own knowledge from meaningful experiences.

It is based on the theoretical precepts of Jean Piaget. 6. 5. 9 The Environment * Is designed to be stimulating but orderly. * Children can independently choose from a wide variety of interesting materials. * Classroom is divided into work areas, each with a specific set of materials. * Accessible, uncluttered storage spaces in each workplace are clearly labelled. * It facilitates clean-up and promoting a sense of order. 6. 5. 10 The Schedule * Children gain a gradual understanding of time. * Based on the plan-do-review cycle. * The day begins with a planning time, where children decide what activities they would like to participate.

* Then, children will engage in self selected activities, supported by teachers during work time. * Then, children review their work-time activities during recall time. * Small group time typically includes teacher-planned activities that reinforce cognitive concepts. * Large group or whole group activities are also conducted as appropriate to the length of the program day. 6. 5. 11 The Curriculum * Teachers focus on extending the key experiences, which include a set of eight concepts based on the characteristics and learning capabilities of the preoperational children.

* The eight concepts include: active learning, using language, representing experiences and ideas, classification, Seriation, number concepts, spatial relationships and time. 6. 5 Reggio Emilia Approach The Reggio Emilia approach was established in Reggio Emilia, in northern Italy. The publicly supported early childhood programs of this region, under the guidance and vision of Lord’s Malaguzzi, have developed an extraordinary curriculum, based on many theoretical foundations, including Piaget and Vygotsky.

6. 6. 12 The Environment * The physical space is used to promote an inviting, aesthetically pleasing, comfortable environment in which both human relationships and learning are central. * Space is designed to encourage communication and nurture relationships. * Arrangements allow for places where children can work in small groups, a larger group, with a teacher or alone. * Equipment and activities are arranged to encourage exploration, discovery, and problem solving as well as to offer many choices.

* A special studio is available where teachers and children have access to a wide variety of resource materials as well as to document children’s work. 6. 6. 13 The Curriculum * Projects are the central concept of the curriculum. * Usually it allows small group of children to explore a concept or topic in depth. * Projects can be short-term or long-term. * Children are b allowed to work at a leisurely pace as there are no set schedule and no time constrains in carrying their projects. * Often the representations of learning in projects are expressed in artwork. 6. 6. 14 The Teachers

* Teachers works as co-teachers, which stay with a group of children for three years; from infancy to age three to from three to six. * They are the resource person and learning partners to the children. * Have the support of a team of pedagogical coordinators and a visual arts teacher. * Programs include time for weekly staff meetings and ongoing staff development. 6. 6 The Bereiter-Engelmann Model The Bereiter-Engelmann model was designed primarily to help children from proverty backgrounds to gain some successful experiences that would diminish the likelihood of failure once they started elementary school.

The program was founded on the assumption that because disadvantaged children were already behind their middle-class peers, they needed not just enrichment activities but a program that would accelerate their rate of learning. Howeever, such a program could not be designed to meet all of the needs of preschool-aged children. Thus, this program was designed to meet very specific, teacher-determined learning foals rather than to meet the needs of the “whole child”. 6. 7. 15 The Curriculum * Daily lesson conveyed through a direct instruction approach.

* Teacher presents carefully planned lessons, drills, and exercises designed to meet specific goals. * Lessons are designed offered in three academic areas-language, math and reading. * Precise teacher questions, which require specific verbal answers from the children, are presented in a carefully sequenced order. 6. 7. 16 The Environment * Facilities are arranged into small classrooms, where direct teaching activities are carried out, and a large room for less structured, large-group activities.

* The floor plan includes three small classrooms-named Arithmetic room, the Reading room and the Language room. * Each room is furnished with five small chairs facing a chalkboard and the teacher. * Rooms are plain, to minimize distraction from the task at hand. * A larger room is furnished with tables, a piano, and a chalkboard, provides a place for snack and music time. * Very few materials are available for the children, mainly ones that will reinforce concepts taught in the lessons.

Chalkboard XArithmetic room| Chalkboard X Reading room| Chalkboard X Language room| b oHomeroom X a r Piano d | 6. 7. 17 The Schedule * Daily schedule revolves around three intensive 20 minute lessons in language, math and reading. * Each lesson will involve 5 children and a teacher. * These small groups are interspersed with functional times for eating and toileting and a 15-20 minutes music period. 6. 7. 18 The Teachers * Elementary teachers are more suited to teach in this model than are teachers trained to work with young children.


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