Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Early Childhood Education

This three year old (left)
and a five year old (right)
 are both learning to
 distinguish between shapes.
Both students are in stage 2
of early childhood learning.
      Early childhood education refers to the formal teaching of young children by people outside the family or in settings outside the home. "Early childhood" is usually defined as before the age of normal schooling – five years in most nations, though the U.S. National Association for the Education of Young Children defines "early childhood" as before the age of eight.
      Early Childhood education focuses on children learning through play, based on the research and philosophy of Jean Piaget. This belief is centered on the "power of play". It has been thought that children learn more efficiently and gain more knowledge through play-based activities such as dramatic play, art, and social games. This theory stems children's natural curiosity and tendencies to "make believe", mixing in educational lessons.
      Preschool education and kindergarten emphasize learning around the ages of 3–6 years. The terms "day care" and "child care" do not convey the educational aspects, although many childcare centers use more educational approaches. The distinction between childcare centers and kindergartens has all but disappeared in countries that require staff in different early childhood facilities to have a teaching qualification.
      Researchers and early childhood educators both view the parents as an integral part of the early childhood education process. Often educators refer to parents as the child's "first and best teacher".
The assignment shown above is not just
entertaining; it serves a very important
purpose in the development of small
motor skills. This four year old is
learning "how" to work with her fingers.
In the future, she will be asked to per-
form the same movements with a
pencil and a eraser.

      It is very important for parents to stay engaged in their child's learning process even if they are getting most of their education from a daycare, day home, school etc. The knowledge learned from a parent will be more cherished and remembered by a child then if any other person taught them, especially at an early age. Early childhood education is crucial to child development and should be entered into cautiously with someone you trust will benefit your child.
      Much of the first two years of life are spent in the creation of a child's first "sense of self"; most children are able to differentiate between themselves and others by their second year. This is a crucial part of the child's ability to determine how they should function in relation to other people. Early care must emphasize links to family, home culture, and home language by uniquely caring for each child.
      Children who lack sufficient nurturing, nutrition, interaction with a parent or caregiver, and stimulus during this crucial period may be left with developmental deficits, as has been reported in Russian and Romanian orphanages. Children must receive attention and affection to develop in a healthy manner. There is a false belief that more hours of formal education for a very young child confers greater benefits than a balance between formal education and family time. A systematic, international review suggests that the benefits of early childhood education come from the experience of participation; more than 2.5 hours a day does not greatly add to child development outcomes, especially when it detracts from other experiences and family contact.
      The Developmental Interaction Approach is based on the theories of Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, John Dewey, and Lucy Sprague Mitchell. The approach aims to involve children in acquiring competence via learning through discovery.
Very young students are positively motivated to learn by two basic instincts, pleasure and acceptance.
This little three year old is manipulating brightly colored bits of ribbon and fuzzy pom-poms in order
 to create a collage. She thinks that crayons, paper and glue are materials to play with. However,
 these art supplies will shape her ability to communicate and to also find pleasure in doing so.
 Teachers, parents and caregivers will encourage her productivity and voice their approval frequently
 in order to strengthen her will to manipulate the materials more and more as she matures.
        There are five developmental domains of childhood development:
  1. Physical This section refers to how well your child is developing physically. You should keep an eye on their eyesight and how their motor skills are developing; they should be able to do small crafts and puzzles.
  2. Social This section refers to the connections they've made with people and how well they are interacting with them.
  3. Emotional This section refers to the emotional connections and amount of self-confidence they have.
  4. Language Development This section refers to how well they communicate with people. Also how they represent their feelings and emotions.
  5. Cognitive Skills This section refers to how the child lives in their everyday environment and how they solve everyday problems.
      There are three very basic, age appropriate, stages of early learning:

     1. Ages 1-3 Years Old: Learning through the discovery of knowledge:
  • exploring the five senses
  • kinesthetic memory
  • discovery of basic motor skills
  • identifying self and others
  • experiments with making sounds and copying sounds
     2. Ages 3-5 Years Old: Learning though the processing of knowledge:
  • identification, definition, categorization of knowledge
  • development of basic motor skills
  • social engagement with others i. e. “acceptable behaviors”
  • learning to read faces, emotions 
  • differentiate between good and bad conduct in oneself and others
  • learning to make specific sound associated with language
     3. Ages 6-9 Years Old: Learning through manipulation of knowledge:
  • fine tuning (controlling) large and small motor skills
  • cause & effect social interaction and feelings (Cause and effect theory in academic subjects begins in grade 4; the children approx. 10 years of age.)
  • Basic academic identification and applications: Integrated studies in multiple academic studies: math, science, art, history, literacy/reading and language (how do subjects compliment each other or relate to each other)
  • working in a group to achieve a common goal
  • learning to both speak and identify the language preferences of one's own people and also languages foreign to one's own people
  • developing and adapting sophisticated memory cues, processes
Watch a candid and inspirational discussion with teachers from the Georgia Wolf Trap / Alliance Theatre community - including the social, academic, and emotional impact of Wolf Trap's early childhood arts education program. Parents can see how an "art rich" curriculum is developed for early learners.

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