My image of the child is that every child is curious and capable of learning new things. However, each child is unique with different interests, backgrounds, and developmental stages, and as an Early Child Educator, my role is to facilitate that learning by providing supportive learning environment and endless opportunities for them to explore, discover, create new ideas and imagine.
There are many curriculums that set such out, including, Reggio Emilia, Montessori, FDK, Waldrof, High Scope, Head start, and forest school models that are used to build a foundation for young children.
I personally believe that every model has some good components and a bit of each curriculum should be merged together. After having all the class presentations/discussions and reviewing all of these curriculum models I found out High Scope Model is the one that has a great teaching style. In the High/Scope approach, children construct their own knowledge through exploration and experimentation, and this active learning, paired with hands-on experiences is the driving force behind it.
Through their daily Plan-Do-Review process, children are encouraged to choose what materials they would like to use and teachers are in place to support and guide. I personally believe children should have given the opportunity to decide what they want to learn, as they do that, they’re guided by educators who provide materials and support for children to meet certain developmental challenges known as key experience. (highscope.org)
My philosophy is also based on my experiences in placements, my overseas experiences and my own knowledge of children.
Personally, I was brought up in a restricted environment where children forced to follow so many rules and regulations by teachers and given very limited or no choices. Gender discrimination was also part of my back home culture where a male child was given more opportunities to be educated and learn, rather than a female child. I was holding on to these same ideologies since then, until I started studying Early Childhood Education and learned about all these curriculum models that completely changed my views I believe that the environment plays a major role in the success of an early childhood program. As Reggie Emilia states “Environment is a third teacher”. (Malaguzz. L, 1993)
It should enhance the children’s interests in all developmental domains. I believe learning in an early childhood environment is done most successfully through different learning areas that can be visited, explored, and revisited again and again. The environment should take into consideration the social skills, communication skills, physical abilities or challenges, and learning styles of the children being served. I need to be an active listener and responsive to all children and equally participate in their activities. As Malaguzz has stated in his article “It is necessary to give an immediate response to a child. Children need to know that we are their friends that they can depend on us for the things they desire, that we can support them in the things that they have, but also in the things that they dream about, that they desire”. (Malaguzz. L, 1993)
Within the classroom learning, it should be child-centered and accomplished through guidance and scaffolding. The role of the teacher should be to facilitate learning, and focus on the process of learning, rather than the end product of it. During my placement in FDK program when I implemented one arts and crafts activity where children were supposed to create tomatoes by painting on paper plates, I placed different paint colors, paper plates, and green paper to glue as a top of a tomato head; some children created a flower instead and decided to use that green paper as leaves. Some children couldn’t create anything but mixed all the colors and created unique art. I learned that during the activity, children were able communicate with peers, strengthen their fine motor skills while holding brushes or squeezing glue bottles, felt pride in their creations, and chose how to use materials by themselves.
All children are capable of learning. As a result, it is important that I always observe each child’s actions, accomplishment and failures in the classroom and scaffold it according to each child’s Zone of proximal development. Everything that happens is a learning moment, an opportunity to learn. My teaching strategies in classrooms or childcares should always be child-centered. Each child is seen as someone who should be respected. My role is to help bring each child on a voyage of discovery of himself or herself. They are little explorers and I am their guide. I believe as an Early Childhood Educator that children learn best when they play. However, there should also be some structural learning. My goal as an ECE is to find a balance between teacher-directed and child initiated activities. I should create the activities that capture their imaginations and interests and they plan with me and do it.
The learning environment should always allow each child to grow, learn and explore at his or her own level. The best way this can be done is to engage them in many open-ended opportunities and materials that encourage them to explore. This for me is the best way to teach a child and guide them in a positive manner. A young child spends most of his or her day at a childcare or classroom. Other peers and other adults in the classroom surround them. This gives them the opportunity to work with other children and make friends but also giving them good strategies to use their words and to problem solve when put into a situation. The role of an Early Childhood Educator is to give them the situations and opportunities to discover things about the world around them, each other, and themselves.
In conclusion as an Early Child Educator my role is to facilitate their learning and be a positive role model for each child by giving them opportunities to learn, strategies for resolving conflicts and problem solving. I also need to plan and implement activities which are open ended, process oriented, developmentally appropriate and of interest to children. I also need to be present and participate with the children in their activities.
When building, scaffolding is a temporary structure used to support a work crew and materials to aid in the construction, maintenance, and repair of buildings. ( Verywellfamily, 2019) The philosophy is similar in early childhood education and works almost the same way to build independence in young children who have absorbent minds and take in what they learn through their play experiences. Scaffolding is that new lessons and concepts can be more readily understood and comprehended if support is given to a child as they’re learning. It can also involve teaching a child something new by utilizing things they already know or can already do.
It can also works best when I employ the method in different ways, including: asking open – ended questions, making suggestions, using teacher created materials or using props. I believe using scaffolding with young children, I will provide each child with support and guidance while the child are learning something new and age-appropriate or just slightly above what a child can do by him or herself.