Several theories explain the concept of Early Childhood Education (ECE). Deiner (2013) describes that all of them share the same opinion that an early childhood educator is extremely essential in the development of a child’s intellectual and educational abilities. It is also commonly agreeable among the theories that the early childhood education can have a great impact in the life of an individual since education is progressive, and each stage leads to a higher one. However, there are some contradictions in the theories, which regard to some aspects of ECE.
For instance, some studies feel that the intellectual development depends on the genes of the child as acquired from the parents. Other studies hold a different opinion, that the environment plays a great role in ECE. Some assert that both the environment and the biological play a great role in early childhood development. This study is based on the fact that the educator is part of the environment in which the child is subjected to, and all children can learn. The educator has several roles that make them have a great impact on a child.
An early childhood educator has the responsibility to ensure that a child gains as much knowledge as possible depending on the level of the child, where the level is to a large extent determined by the age of the child. A child spends most of the waking time with the educator. There are differences presented by the various personalities of children. As a result, each child should be treated differently from the other by the educator. As a result, the educator needs to have sufficient knowledge on how to understand each child, so that each child gains maximally.
The educator defines the environment in which a child lives in school. It is agreeable that children have some common interests. For instance, most studies point out that using objects in educating children in grade three or lower can have on enhancing their knowledge by having them relate to things they frequently use. This means that the environment needs to have various objects and pictorial presentations for more effective learning. There are other considerations that the educator needs to be aware of, such as ensuring that the relationship among students themselves and between the educator and children is supportive to the education to be acquired. An early childhood educator deals with children who might not be much exposed, and they are open to what they are learn.
It is clear from this essential role of educators that they should be having some personal characteristics. Grotewell & Burton (2008) explains that one of them is that the educator should be role model to the children. In addition, the educator should maintain a healthy lifestyle since children are much vulnerable to communicable illnesses. The use of clear communication is also relevant, not only to convey information to the children, but also because it can affect the children’s communication skills as well. Moreover, the educator needs to work closely with the children, their parents and the fellow educators so that they can learn more about each child. This means that sometimes they are involved in settling conflicts between the children and families.
The role as the professional in the teaching and learning of children is achieved through several ways. One of them is by the educators developing and implementing programs that are designed to meet the children’s physical, intellectual, social, emotional, developmental and cultural needs and interests. The programs are basically considerate on a play environment. The programs also consider the age of the children. The educator can improvise some of the equipment that can be needed by the children.
Secondly, the role can be attained by building the children’s interpersonal and social skills. Positive self-concept can also be achieved by having the educator establishing positive guidelines that let the children to feel comfortable, safe and secure. Third, as aforementioned, constant communication with the other stakeholders in ECE, mostly the parents, should be considered. Forth, activities that actively involve the children ensure that the children gain maximally. Such activities could include outdoor play, various play experiences, snacks and meals as well as field trips (Deiner, 2013).
The child educator also plays a role as an advocate on behalf of children. The educator is expected to understand children in general. Sometimes, children can be presented by challenges that they cannot easily express verbally to the relevant authorities. This means that they can suffer silently over issues such as domestic violence, bullying and lack of basic commodities. The educator has sufficient knowledge to realize a child who is having some pressing issues. Some children can gain the confidence and trust to open up to the educator, virtues that the educator should possess. The educator could as a result gain information that could not be realized by the parents and other people close to the children.
Bhavya (2007) feels that children might not be sure on how to approach these issues. Some may be living in fear of exposing how they feel. However, the educator is in a better position to assist. For instance, the educator can ensure that the bullies in the educational institution are warned against it in the best way possible. The educator can be aware on how they can assist when cases of violence where a child is a direct or indirect victim are presented, such as involving lawful measures as well as talking with the parents and guardians of the children. Children whose parents cannot sufficiently offer basic needs can have their needs sought from other sources. Therefore, the educator represents the children in cases where the child might be unable to express themselves.
Educators should work with the mentality that all children can learn. Learning involves various aspects of gaining knowledge, and not exclusive to study of books. It involves interpersonal and communication skills. Children are also expected to learn values that are generally acceptable in the society. Each child consequently needs to learn. In addition, each child has the capability to learn. Although there can be variances in the capabilities, children are able to continually gain knowledge on the aspects noted. The educator should understand how much each child can contain. Moreover, it is relevant to know exactly what a child needs in order to learn. For instance, some children could require frequent reminders and assignments so that they can understand some concepts (Grotewell & Burton, 2008).
As the different aspects of learning are concerned, there needs to be various assessments to test the success of each. Apart from the writing and reading skills, tests such as etiquette, posture and arts can be conducted regularly. Although the tests might not be recordable, an educator who clearly understands each of the students can clearly tell whether there is progress in the development of a child. The assessment practices should ensure that the children gain from the basics to the complex contents so that all children can learn (Bhavya, 2007).
Technology currently plays a role in the education to young children. Educators are increasingly using technology due to the several benefits it has in enhancing gaining of knowledge among them. There are equipments that have been developed with an aim to create fun as children learn. For instance, counting machines are attractive to the children, and they can enjoy using it. The technologically developed equipments are also safe and easy to use. This means that the children can learn some things on their own after being guided by the educator.
Some technology can be used in displaying information that could not be better displayed in any other means. Photos that are presented in screens can be relevant in showing children objects that can help them to learn. Technology also reduces costs in teaching children. For instance, a trip to view some objects in far places can be avoided by having the objects displayed. Therefore, technology is significant in teaching children (Morgan, 2011).
The environment is crucial in the teaching and learning among children between birth and grade three. It affects the emotional, intellectual, psychological and physical aspects of a child. The environment concerns several things, but most importantly the people who interact with the children. The environment should support learning, and it could contain learning inhibiting factors, or can contain motivating ones. If the environment does not support learning, the child cannot concentrate. Children are much likely to put more focus on issues that constantly happen to them. For instance, if they are being physically or emotionally abused, they cannot gain much in the learning process (Morgan, 2011).
Children are much motivated by some aspects in the environment. One of them is the availability of ample playing space. Since the children gain a lot when playing, space and equipment provided by the environment can enhance their learning greatly. The environment can also be motivating by just being safe for the children. Therefore, the environment is crucial in the learning of children.
Bhavya, M. S. (2007). _Early childhood education_. Delhi [India: Kalpaz Publications.
Deiner, P. L. (2013). _Inclusive early childhood education: Development, resources, practice_. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Grotewell, P. G., & Burton, Y. R. (2008). _Early childhood education: Issues and developments_. New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Morgan, H. (2011). _Early childhood education: History, theory, and practice_. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield.