Curriculum in Early Education
Young children are capable of learning so much more than “”How to behave””. Adults need to understand and take the time to develop an experiential learning environment that encompasses all areas of development and creates a focused program that respects both the abilities children have and the growth they are capable of. We must create opportunities for young people that stimulate their development.
Early Education and Care must incorporate (1) cognitive stimulation, (2) physical growth, and (3) emotional support and development within a nurturing environment. This does not have to be an overwhelming concept but it must be the goal. Many areas of learning can be introduced and investigated within themed units. The children and teachers should guide the curriculum together. Children can be encouraged to learn within their comfort level while challenging themselves to reach further and to take chances in learning.
Early learning can be broken down into goals that are not overwhelming. It takes professionals who are trained, understand, and care about the development of the lives they have been entrusted with. Illustrating this point is simple.
The Natural Sciences offer young children a plethora of learning opportunities to understand their world and to question what goes on around them. Experimental theory teaches observation, creating a hypothesis, testing, retesting, and forming a conclusion. Earth sciences incorporate nature, animal husbandry, weather, plant life and more.
Chemistry can be introduced by cooking food, and making and play dough.
Math can be taught through number recognition, place values, grouping, colors, shapes, classification, spatial relations, Conceptual understanding of addition, subtraction, grouping, attributes, weights and measures, comparative analysis, geometry, initial concepts of time, money, multiplication, critical thinking skills.
Social awareness is taught through conflict resolution skills, responsibility to and for self and others, and diversity.
Cultural Diversity is taught through pictures, music, and perhaps different foods.
Independence, self-esteem, and self-empowerment must be taught as life-long learning skills.
Problem solving, self motivation and inspiration, critical thinking, community interdependence are taught at the earliest of ages in order to create individuals who focus on giving back, caring, and being active citizens in their communities.
Deborah Keller, M Ed
Director, Cheshire Barn Pre-School
Director of Spiritual Development
Teacher for 29 years