Understanding Young Children
Understanding Young Children
Describe the features / principles / characteristics a teacher should consider in her / his role of designing a high-quality early childhood environment and materials selection? How a classroom design / set-up can influence children’s growth, behaviors, and learning? Why a “learning centers approach” to classroom design is a professionally defined best practice for teachers of early learners? Understanding Young Children Teachers need to understand the nature and characteristics of the learners in order to devise learning materials and strategies appropriate to the learners’ abilities and interest (Krogh and Slentz 11).
In order to realize this, teachers must have a solid grasp on the universal principles underpinning the cognitive, social, physical, and emotional development of the young learners. As well, teachers should possess consciousness on the roles of the values, culture and history of family and community in the development and learning of every child. Nevertheless, teachers should be aware on the behavioral characteristics of the learners in the classroom. With the teacher’s consciousness in all these areas, he or she can formulate effective and efficient plans to assess children’s progress and their involvement in meaningful learning experiences.
Promoting Child Development and Learning With the teacher’s good understanding on the nature and characteristics on his or her learners, he or she can physically, socially, and emotionally structure the learning environment in order to support children’s learning and development (Krogh and Slentz 11). In connection to this, teachers should appreciate the significance of play in the different aspects of the learners’ development. They should integrate play in the learning activities of children and explain its importance to colleagues, administrators, and parents.
In addition, teachers should promote physical growth and health by providing health and hygiene education, employing fine-and-gross motor activities, and encouraging movement and rest. On the other hand, teachers should inculcate the value of rules, group learning, and behavioral expectations in order to foster social development (Krogh and Slentz 12). They should also encourage persistence, risk taking and independence among the learners so as to promote self-respect and emotional development.
As well, teachers should plan for language learning activities, both oral and written, in order to support language acquisition. Nonetheless, teachers should provide adequate opportunities and resources in arousing children’s curiosity and persistence while engaging with peers in risk taking. Knowledge on the Integrated Curriculum Curriculum integration involves crossing different academic disciplines in the design of learning activities which are meaningful, interesting, and relevant to children learning style and development (Krogh and Slentz 12).
This multidisciplinary approach requires intensive organization of themes, topics, or concepts from mathematics, language, science, visual and performing arts, and social studies for a learning project. Topics from each core subjects will be drawn and interrelated to produce a single subject matter in such a way that upon presentation, learners would experience some sort of difficulties in sorting out what academic subject is being presented (Krogh and Slentz 12).
Yet, teacher should keep in mind that each discipline has its own concepts, integrity, and major ideas which needed to smoothly be incorporated for the multidisciplinary learning project. Multiple Teaching strategies for Meaningful learning As mentioned earlier, teachers must have a solid grasp on the learners’ growth and development, their interest and abilities, as well as the cultural and social influences which directly shape the learning of the child. This intricate requirement denotes the complexity of an effective and efficient teaching.
Teachers then must facilitate discussions, observe, ask questions, listen, properly intervene in every leaner activity, and carefully design and adapt learning materials to the learners’ needs, interests, and abilities. For the effective implementation of every learning activity, teachers need to create the physical environment along with the learning materials conducive to learning. For instance, in learning beyond the typical range like a new language, environmental and curricular rearrangement is needed which may also necessitate the assistance from the family or from the immediate caregiver of the child (Krogh and Slentz 12).
Assessment and Reflective Practice Teachers need to evaluate the efficacy on their employed strategy in every subject matter presentation. They need to observe the effect of such in the learners’ social behavior and cognitive attributes. In relation to this, teachers should utilize various assessment tools in evaluating instruction and learning. This may include standardized instrument, anecdotal records, observations, listening, and appropriate questions (Krogh and Slentz 12). Meanwhile, teachers should also reflect on the assessed outcome on their instruction.
They must re-examine their subject matter presentation against their bases of decisions, possible biases, and social and cultural considerations (Krogh and Slentz 12). In addition, they must always be opened to innovation and self-renewal through continuous learning. As such, teachers must seek means to attain professional advancement and keep abreast with the current theories and practices of effective teaching. Classroom Structure and Learning Learning environment can directly influence the learning of an individual (Tomlinson, Stronge, and Cunningham-Eidson 11).
Childhood years are period of growth and development where every individual is still learning to control his or her behavior and practice environmental adaptation. Children are sensitive to environmental factors which directly affect their physical conditions (Tomlinson, Stronge, and Cunningham-Eidson 11). Thus, their attention to learning and participation to learning activities are also affected. Therefore, teacher should ensure that the classroom atmosphere, from lighting and ventilation to physical setting and audio-visual ambiance, is conducive to learning.
Learning Centers Approach Learning Centers are natural approach in providing meaningful learning experiences to young learners (Diffily, Donaldson, and Sassman 5). Since children are curious and fond of interactions, the design of learning centers is aligned with their developmental attributes in order to create an organized and systematic learning environment. The learning materials in the centers like concrete objects and models are carefully chosen and constructed for children’s manipulation and learning at their respective pace and developmental level.
In addition, by working and interactions in a small group, the young learners can learn not only the use of learning materials but also the sense of team work and socialization. Thus, the sense of responsibility and cooperation will eventually develop among the learners. Moreover, each learning center such as Art center, Science center, Mathematics center, Listening center, Dramatic-play center, Reading center, Music center and Writing Center, caters for the specific intelligences on the learners.
Hence, these learning centers develop and enrich the holistic capability and potentiality of children. Define How and Describe the Importance –A teacher’s knowledge of growth and developmental principles & developmental characteristics — is connected to the major teacher roles: Child Development Specialist; Foster of Children’s Early Learning; Designer of an Appropriate Learning Environment; Curriculum Designer; Documenter.
Education should provide for the inculcation of fundamental skills such as reading, writing, arithmetic, mastery of information, and development of traits. However, to be functional, instructions should include all-round guidance of the learner in fitting him or her for the successful participation in all phases of his present and future relationships (Tomlinson 31). Hence, every teacher should possess intensive understanding of the underlying principles of the child’s being.
In such way, the teachers can easily guide children in the discovery and utilization of their respective capacity and potentiality for the attainment of desirable growth and development. In particular, teachers must understand the children’s predictable sequence of growth and development so as to create a learning environment which supports the “age appropriate” education needs of the young learners. Also, since growth and development uniquely occurs among every child, the teacher should ensure the “individual appropriateness” of every learning activity.
As the theory of Jean Piaget suggests, teachers should promote a unique-child centered learning experiences in order to develop the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social well-being of every child. Moreover, the works of Lev Vygotsky emphasized the role of language in socio-cultural and cognitive learning. Vygotsky suggested that through “scaffolding,” the learning of every individual can be accelerated. This can be done as by employing group works and interactions among the learners.
As a child seeks assistance form the others who have similar zone of proximal development, the child’s learning can be facilitated. Further, if education is growth, teachers must not only prepare children for school life, but also provide opportunities for life experiences inside the classroom. In connection to this, it is important that every child should be given the opportunity to participate in each learning activity which will provide appropriate challenge to his or her abilities.
By keeping these in mind, he teacher can serve as an effective designer of curriculum and learning environment. Moreover, the knowledge on the growth and development of every child facilitates the teacher’s understanding of the learners’ social behavior (Tomlinson 32). Due to individual differences and social and cultural background of the young learners, it is impossible for a teacher to set up a pre-conceived standard or model in understanding the nature of every child.
It is rather advisable to understand the child’s behavior in terms of what the child is along with his or her family background. In doing so, the teacher can accurately document the academic progress of the child in relation to the child’s social and cultural background. Works Cited Diffily, Deborah, Donaldson, Elizabeth, and Sassman, Charlotte. The Scholastic Book of Early Childhood Learning Centers: Complete How-to’s, Management Tips, Photos, and Activities for Delightful Learning Centers that Teach Early Reading, Writing, Math & More.
New York: Scholastic, 2001. Krogh, Suzanne and Slentz, Kristine. Early Childhood Education: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Mahwah, New Jersey: Erlbaum Associates, 2001. Tomlinson, Carol A. The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of all Learners. Carolina: ASCD, 1999. Tomlinson, Carol A. , Stronge, James, H. , and Cunningham-Eidson, Caroline. Differentiation in Practice: A Resource Guide for Differentiating Curriculum. Carolina: ASCD, 2003.