Running Head: Final Project Final Project/Research Paper Kimberly Introduction to Curriculum/ProgramsECED 105 Professor There are many different areas that one must focus on as they are attempting to create a developmentally appropriate curriculum for young children. All of these aspects are equally important to the learning process. Therefore, it is imperative that we as teachers take the process of planning this curriculum very seriously. Not only is it important that we understand the basic guidelines for a lesson plan, we also need to be knowledgeable of the developmental and learning theories as well. These theories will help us to understand the way a child learns mentally and physically.
Once we fully understand the concepts of early education we can then take them to the classroom and apply them to our students. Back in the 1900's a woman by the name of Patty Hill created a curriculum for kindergarten students in the United States. She also founded the laboratory school at Columbia University Teacher's College; this was the beginning of the use of curriculum in early childhood education. Curriculum was created as an unbiased, cultured, community and parent approved way of teaching. The first national goal was to have every American child ready to start school and learn by the year 2000. Curriculum is a basic guide of implementing cognitive, physical, social, emotional, language and developmental learning skills.
When using this method of teaching, the area we are trying to focus on is clear, it is important that all areas receive equal time. If our curriculum is well written out, it will reflect the philosophy and goals of what we are trying to accomplish for that school year. The creation of curriculum was invented so that young children would be able to benefit from it. If you look up the definition of curriculum in Early Education Curriculum, a textbook written by Hilda L. Jackman, it will read; a multilevel ed process that encompasses what happens in an early education classroom each day...
The word multilevel ed is a perfect word to explain developmentally appropriate curriculum. When a teacher puts together a curriculum it is kind of like a balancing act. We have to make the work that the children do challenging yet not to simple. We must push our children to reach for that little extra step in their cognitive thinking. We must try to get them to succeed just a little past their limit, but not too far, so that the goal is still obtainable. On the other hand, the curriculum must not be too easy due to the fact that children will get bored if they are not challenged.
This means that the curriculum must be a perfect measure in order for the children to thrive. All children develop their skills on their own time table. So, in a room of three year old children not all of them will be at the same developmental level. As teachers we must be able to create a curriculum that encompasses the entire classroom.
This means we have to allow room for flexibility and creativity. We must figure out a way to modify certain programs so that all of our children, even those that don't learn as rapidly, can experience success. Another significant aspect in creating a developmentally appropriate curriculum for a young child is being able to put out the right amount and type of supplies in the children's learning areas. For instance, putting out paper, glue and scissors for an art project that only requires cutting and pasting would be more productive than bombarding the child with unnecessary supplies such as paint, brushes, string and glitter.
Overwhelming them with too many options only confuses the student which in turn, blocks their creativity. It is all about knowing our students, we have to be able to teach them and provide the appropriate things they will need for that point in their lives. It will benefit all teachers to familiarize themselves with the many developmental theories. A developmental theory is the belief of how a child grows and learns. Catron and Allen (2003) stated that these beliefs guide our views of teaching in supporting children as learners. Erik Erikson has a psychosocial theory; this is the interaction between the person's social emotional state and their interpersonal environment.
He believes that within the first year of life, an infant learns how to trust. It is crucial that the infant's needs are met. In the second year of life, a child is demonstrating self control and independence. We can reinforce this concept by accepting and encouraging them. Between the third and the fifth year of life, a child is eager to learn and is very curious about their environment.
Their motor skills are rapidly developing so that they can now run, hop and also ride a tricycle. At the ages six through eleven, a child is learning problem solving and critical thinking. They are learning how to cooperate with others and love a challenge. Jean Piaget came up with the theory of cognitive development, which is basically the way that a child learns and thinks.
Spode k and Sara cho (1994) quoted one of Piaget's articles that stated a child's system of thought develops through a series of stages, common to all children of all cultures. Piaget's theory is broken down into four stages; Sensorimotor stage, Preoperational stage, Concrete Operational stage and Formal Operations stage. The first stage, Sensorimotor, is applied from birth to the age of two. Infants use their sensory systems and reflexes, in time the child's reflex behavior will change into new behavior. In the second stage, Preoperational, which covers the ages from two to seven years, a child is egocentric. This means that the child thinks about the world in realization only to themselves.
Children's language and intellectual skills begins blending together at this stage. Concrete Operational, the third stage, deals with the ages of seven to twelve. At this stage, children begin to think problems through, grasp the concept of numbers and learn better by sight and being able to handle objects. It is more beneficial for the child to see the objects in front of them and have them within reach. The last stage is Formal Operational, which covers from twelve years of age up until adulthood.
At this stage of life, a person has the ability to think ahead and hypothesize. They can also think from simple terms to complex terms, then to concrete and finally to abstract terms. Socio culture theory was developed by a man named Lev Vygotsky, who believes that a child's culture and family have a huge affect on their learning development. Vygotsky feels that every person that interacts with a child has a significant influence on their intellectual development. Lev created the zone of proximal development, which is basically the theory that states a child can push their limits of intelligence. He finds that they can do this by being in an environment with someone of greater expertise.
He is also a firm believer of the fact that children working in small groups will help them to problem solve. These small groups give them the opportunity to collaborate their ideas together and master many skills. Howard Garner came up with the theory of multiple intelligence. In stating this theory, he feels that a child is not born with a certain amount of knowledge, but that a person's intelligence can improve throughout their lifetime.
He has come up with eight stages of intelligence, all which are equally valuable and viable, not one intelligence is more significant than the other. These stages begin with verbal which deals with an infant babbling to a complete language. Logical, it starts with the ability to categorize and use number patterns all the way to math, science and real life situations. Next comes musical, which deals with singing, listening, sound awareness and musical instrument appreciation.
Visual is an infant's ability to discriminate among faces to visual / spatial abilities. This helps the child to design, draw and also create things. The next stage is bodily, it starts from an infant being able to grasp things and transforms to the child being able to run, jump and move. Interpersonal intelligence is the sixth stage, it deals with the ability to bond and have meaningful relationships with others outside of the family. Intra personal intelligence is the act of realizing that you are your own separate person with your own feelings and strengths. The last stage is Naturalist intelligence which is simply being able to enjoy the outdoors and nature in general.
As good educators, we need to take these theories and learn from them. Not one theory is right or wrong, so we need to intertwine them and learn from each one. Gathering all of this knowledge will only help us to fulfill our children's needs. There are six areas of development that we as teachers must encompass. We must make all six areas the foundation of a young child's curriculum. According to Kagan and Kogan (1970) Cognitive thinking includes imagery, perception, thought, reasoning, reflection, problem solving, and all verbal behavior.
We can help a child in cognitive development by exposing them to multiply opportunities. For example, literature, music, science, creativity and math all play a role in simulating a child's brain function. We must always be supportive and encouraging to our students as they embark upon this journey. As teachers we must provide an atmosphere for a child to practice his or her physical development, paying attention to the large and fine motor skills.
Running, jumping, marching and setting up obstacle courses all help to develop the large motor skills. Participating in these practice movements will help with their balance and body awareness. Fine motor skills can be exercised by cutting, pasting, eating finger foods and painting. A child must master these fine motor skills and eye hand coordination because it will help them to complete simple tasks such as developing the muscles that are used to hold a pencil.
In order for our students to continue developing, we need to offer them plenty of opportunities that will allow them to fine tune their large and small motor skills. It is important that we help our students in the process of developing social skills. They must learn how to create relationships with people that are outside of their family. A child needs to gain enough self confidence in them self which will allow them to feel more secure. Placing a child into a group gives them the opportunity to develop person to person relationships. This will teach them communication, and they will also experience the feelings of their peers as well as their own personal feelings.
Through this process a child will learn to share and negotiate, it will also help them to have empathy for others. For all of this to be achieved, a child must have interaction with others on a regular basis. It is vital for a child to have a relationship with their Lord. We need to teach them that God has made them for a reason.
He has given them traits and abilities that they will need to fulfill a purpose that God wants them to complete. We need to show them that they are somebody because God made them. Keeping our children in contact with their Lord everyday is important. This can easily be achieved by performing simple tasks such as daily prayer, praying before meals, singing and reading bible stories. It is important we remind them of how much their Father loves them on a daily basis. Children have a million emotions, and the smallest thing will easily set them off.
These emotions can rang from tears, to fears and also to full blown tantrums. We may even find a child that will show a large amount of aggression towards his or her peers. It is our job to help our children in understanding the way they are feeling and offer them positive ways to deal with the emotion. Teaching them how to use their words correctly can help them to overcome many obstacles. The last of the six areas deals with creativity, which can most easily be expressed through art. It has been said that art is a way of communicating our feelings without the use of words.
Offering our students a wide range of art supplies will allow them to create whatever comes to their mind. A teacher must never judge or criticize a child's work, but rather simply admire it as an extension of them. Exposing our children to their own art as well as art created by others will only help to enrich a child's life. As teachers we must honor all of our students as individuals. It does not matter how they look, where they come from, how well behaved or not behaved a child might be. They need to feel loved and accepted at all costs, being mindful of what we say or do so that we do not offend any student.
Teaching our children that each of us have a unique blend of talents is important. God created us for a reason, who are we to judge God's work? We must embrace and love everyone equally, for God has a plan for everyone. As teachers we must realize that our students will come from various backgrounds. We must set an example by embracing the students as well as their families into our classroom.
A child needs to feel appreciated and accepted by their teacher. Having children that come from different backgrounds really provides a door of opportunity for us. Creating a curriculum that revolves around families, encourages our students to share their families history. By showing our enthusiasm, it will help the child feel proud and value where they come from. It will also help the child to understand how much we value them for their own individuality. This will broaden the views of everyone in the class, creating an anti-bias classroom environment.
Finally, it opens our minds of how children should be treated and the roles a family plays in a child's development. When we practice an established schedule and daily routine, a child is offered a sense of security. It aids in creating a relationship of trust between teacher, parent and child. The children become familiar with this daily format and look forward to certain activities. Klein (2002) asserted that children who are provided with a predictable schedule and a secure environment are more likely to feel confident about exploring their world... through these explorations children strengthen their connections to the people and environment around them.
A schedule should incorporate time for arrival, departure, meal times, toileting, rest, activity time and outdoor time. When a teacher follows a routine children learn to expect what is next. This will help in keeping everyone organized. In order for a person to be a good preschool teacher, we need to know when to step back and let the environment become the third teacher.
We must learn to be a facilitator and understand how to set up an environment for a young child. This area must be safe, for instance no glass or chemicals that a child can get a hold of, and also supplied with proper materials. We stand back and observe; only offering words of encouragement. Environments that teach the children and help them to create are stations such as art and dramatic play areas. This is where children act out their fears, tell stories, and learn to cope with everyday life. Donovan and Burns (2002) demonstrate that children come into the world eager to learn...
there is no question that the environment in which a child grows up has a powerful impact on how the child develops and what the child learns. Children are very sensitive, and this enables them to be aware of everything that is going on around them. We need to provide them with an atmosphere that is strong and stable, allowing them to spread their wings and fly. Students are highly influenced by there teacher and their surroundings, so as educators we must make sure that we are influencing our students in a positive way. The things that we say and do are easily absorbed by little ears that we do not think here us. Guiding our students through educational work is one aspect of being a teacher, however, the other half is helping them to build their character and understand good morals and values.
We must cherish our students for each of their own individual abilities and talents, recognizing that everyone has something different to offer. Not only are the teachers able to teach the students, the students can also teach us something new everyday. These young, fragile minds are so ready to learn, so we should take advantage of it while we have the chance. Berk, L. E.
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