- The constructivist approach to early childhood education is well-suited to the modern technological age (Chaille 2008)
- Chalking out a written policy with the coordination of my colleagues and the senior teachers would be my first step (Edgington 2004).
- My role as early childhood educator is an important one in the life of a growing child (Puckett and Diffily 1999).
- Children would be helped to have interactions with their own experiences and child-initiated activities would be given preference (Arce 2000).
- Making the child’s learning process visible by effective documentation would be significant (Chaille 2008)
- Suiting the curriculum to the child’s individual needs is essential and it must be governed by research and theory (Catron and Allen 2008).
- Teacher-guided experiences would provide direction for activities that stimulate childrens’ thinking process (Arce 2000).
- The predominantly child-centred curriculum may be modified for an individual child’s requirement with involvement of parents or grandparents (Hughes and MacNaughton 1999).
- Inclusive and sensitive curricula will cater to the diversity of communities in the international society (Arce 2000).
- My role includes clarification and coordination of the children’s group activities.
- Maintaining portfolios of the children with video taken at various stages makes a significant contribution to follow up (Elliot 1999).
My role as an early childhood educator is a significant one that I cherish. Initial efforts would be along with other teachers and staff, to involve ourselves in preparing a working policy document to be completed slowly, taking ample time to do it well (Edgington 2004). Hurrying will not produce a good one. Every participant’s ideas will be collected and discussed in several forums. Sharing our individual beliefs, understandings and expectations, we hope to place on paper our objectives and vision (Edgington 2004). The task would be finalized after encouraging three participants to write their version of the document. Clearing inconsistencies and ambiguities, practices that would pass consensus opinion would be put together. The working document would reassure all parents about their wards having access to a high quality early childhood educational experience (Edgington 2004). Monitoring and evaluation would be a significant process as a follow-up. Observation of the inspiration of the children who learn through their exploration and the relationships they develop form the basis of the constructivist approach (Chaille 2008). The project approach which is suitable for the early childhood education has evolved out of this aptitude of children (Arce 2000). Strategies may be developed out of the reflection and participation along with the children.
Creating an emergent and integrated curriculum focusing on the child initiatives with plenty of flexibility should be a part of the teacher’s responsibility (Arce 2000). The recording of the experiences and responses to the various schedules is an important part of the education (Chaille 2008). Children are encouraged to express themselves in many “languages”. They indulge in clay work, wire-play, painting, words, construction and dramas (Chaille 2008). The teachers are to listen, participate closely in the process by envisioning the child as a powerful, creative and competent person. The children experiment with their own ideas and experiences to develop new ideas and theories. Intrinsic motivation allows them to discover this world. Their thinking capacity is triggered and they learn the way to find out by experimentation (Cromwell 2000). Play and activities would be planned based on past history and experiences of institutions which have already set in motion the constructivist approach (Cromwell 2000). Schedules and experiences would be planned according to the health, security, feelings and comfort of the children in question. The children are expected to gain the quality education as they go through the paces of the constructivist type of education. As no effort is made to force classroom teaching on the children and they are learning through the method of play, the children are expected to enjoy their early childhood education.
Support of my Philosophical statement
Policy-making and curriculum
Early years’ policy-making happens to be the most important step in the early childhood education. Shared understanding among the team members of the policy-making and expectations of a good curriculum help the teams share their philosophy and practices with each other (Edgington 2004). Efforts will include the negotiating of the right words to be used in the policy document. Writing out of the drafts would make the look and wording of the policy more appropriate finally. Mistakes and inconsistencies may be obvious faster and may be corrected before the final draft. The ensuing discussions help others to understand the complexity of the issue of early childhood education and its significance for the future of the children. The coordinator would be encouraging the team members to make active contributions to the policymaking (Edgington 2004). Differences of opinions may pose a challenge but the efficiency of the coordinator should solve that problem. The coordinator can resort to the findings of researches to back her views. The policy document should not be too lengthy and cause confusion. The framework of the document should include the rationale behind the policy, the expected outcomes, guidelines and monitoring procedures (Edgington 2004). The policy must also detail the role of play in this early child education.
The construction of knowledge by children through their own interactions, between ideas and experiences, is the theme behind constructivism (Chaille 2008). Piagetian and Vygotskian theories are embedded in constructivism. The motivation for this theory is intrinsic. The children are allowed to practice their own ideas in their own space. Whole group instruction is not done. The project approach which is a popular teaching method is constructivist. The children of the Reggio Emilia Institution have been exposed to a constructivist method of learning and found success (Chaille 2008). Children are introduced to many “languages” for expression of their ideas like clay work, painting, construction, words. Documentation of the activities is maintained.
Model of early childhood education
The teachers in Reggio Emilia had some exemplary practices. They listened to the children or saw, felt and heard them immensely. This meant that their total participation was another characteristic feature. The relationship of the children with their peers made the education a social and interactive experience. Both these factors contributed to the power and competency of the child which made it worth being studied from and respected (Chaille 2008). The teacher documents the words, pictures, constructions, videos and sketches completing the education of the child. These documents help to monitor and evaluate the education achieved. The Reggio Emilia method of education was so admired that other institutions were making attempts to follow this system (Chaille 2008). Inspiration, relationship-building and observation through participation and reflection are the concepts involved in the process. Opportunities may be searched for making learning visible.
The daily events and interactions in the home and school affect the general behaviour of the children (Arce 2000). The observational skills of the teachers must guess at what could have changed the behaviour of the child; ill-health, absence of a favourite peer at home or school or a new teacher could make a child moody and depressed. Efforts must be taken to cheer up the child by asking the other children to play with her so that she takes her mind off or invite the parents or grandparents to share half the day at school. Parents may be encouraged to be involved in the child’s early education (Hughes and MacNaughton 1999). Child initiated experiences which are meaningful and worthwhile to the child are quality experiences (Arce 2000). Classifying the experiences as extremely good or bad is unnecessary. They are good for the child and that should be sufficient reason for them to be classed as quality experiences where freedom of intelligence is accompanied by freedom of movement.
Inclusive and sensitive curricula
An international society with its diverse communities is better faced if the child is exposed to inclusive and sensitive curricula (Arce 2000). Holidays, foods and cultures must be shared among the students of the diverse origin. Dolls may be dressed up in the different clothes and designs pertaining to various cultures. Similarly other methods to let the children see the different cultures must be found. Group times are arranged as teacher-guided experiences. Approaches to planning identify different approaches: development focus, curriculum area, thematic and the project approach (Arce, 2000). Projects happen to be the main component of the child’s and teacher’s learning experiences (Helm and Katz 2000). The emergent and integrated experiences are also observed by the teacher. Research has found many curriculum models but the Reggio Emilia model is considered the best.
Organised portfolios of the children could be structured according to the developmental domains or key learning areas or curriculum areas (Elliot 1999). Ideal for planning the individual strategies for each child, the portfolios hold the audio and video records, statements, written work and other records which show the growth and development of the child (Elliot 1999).
Arce, E. M., 2000. Curriculum for young Children: An introduction, Delmar: New York, p. 55-76.
Catron, C.E. and Allen, G., 2008. Role of curriculum in early childhood programs, in Early Childhood Curriculum: A creative model play, 4th Ed, Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, p 4-18.
Chaille, C., 2008. Big ideas: A framework for constructivist curriculum in Constructivism across the curriculum in early childhood classrooms, Pearson education, Sydney, p.1-11.
Edgington M., 2004. Coordinating early years practice in The Foundation Stage Teacher in Action. Paul Chapman, London, p. 41-53.
Elliot, A., 1999. Portfolios in action, Every Child, Vol. 5, No.1, p. 10-11.
Helm, H.J. and Katz, L., 2000. Projects and Young Children in The Project Approach in the Early Years. New York: Teachers College Press, p.1-11.
Hughes, P. and MacNaughton, G. 1999. The expert: Reconceptualising parent-staff relations in early education. Australian Journal of Early Childhood, Vol. 24, No. 4, p. 27-32.
Puckett, M.B. and Diffily, D., 1999. Teaching young children: An introduction to the early childhood profession. Florida: Harcourt Brace and Company. p. 4-8.