Introducation to ECE

Introduction to ECE
Baela R Jamil
November 30 2013
Building Vocabularies : Developmentally Appropriate Practice
The Great Innovators in ECE
Comparing Pre –School Programs
Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)
–a much used ECE term – what does it mean
Defining Developmentally Appropriate Practice :
Over time, the phrase developmentally appropriate practice has been defined and used in different
ways. Its definition has evolved as new research and knowledge have become available.
What Is Developmentally Appropriate Practice?
Developmentally appropriate practice is teaching that is attuned to children’s ages, expe-rience, abilities,
and interests, and that helps them attain challenging and achievable goals. The foundations of
developmentally appropriate practice, as it is defined today, lie in the history of early childhood
education. Most fundamental is the premise that teaching young children should be based on what is
known about how they develop and learn optimally. Within the field of developmental psychology, the
concept ofdevelopmentally ap-propriate has been widely used for more than a century and refers to agerelated and in-dividual human variation. Early childhood educators have long used the phrase
developmentally appropriate
to describe materials, learning experiences, or expectations of children of varying ages. For example,
during the late 1970s, the federal government charged the Head Start program with helping children
acquire basic educational skills.
Most early childhood educators agreed that this goal was acceptable if, and only if, the program was
implemented in a “developmentally appropriate way” (J. Klein, personal communication, 1980)
Roots of ECE
• How did it all begin? Where did our "big ideas" about early childhood
education come from? We'll fill you in on the founders of early
childhood education and their theories and approaches that are alive
and well in our own classrooms today!
Friedrich Froebel: Founder, First Kindergarten
• John Dewey: Father of Pragmatism
• Maria Montessori: A Sensory Approach to Learning
• Lev Vygotsky: Playing to Learn
• Jean Piaget: Champion of Children's Ideas
Pioneers In Our Field: Friedrich Froebel - Founder of the First Kindergarten
The first installment in Early Childhood Today’s series on the Roots of Early Childhood Education
By Early Childhood Today Editorial Staff
"Children are like tiny flowers: They are varied and need care, but each is beautiful alone and glorious when seen in the community of
peers." - Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852)
• Friedrich Froebel was a motherless child. Losing his mother before the age of 1, and being raised by a father who had little time for him and
his two brothers, left Froebel with a yearning for something seemingly impossible to satisfy.
Froebel spent much of his time alone in the gardens surrounding his home. Here, as a young boy, he would play all day and explore his
surroundings. This led to a deep love of nature that would remain with Froebel to the end of his days and influence all of his future
As a young man, Froebel accepted a teaching position at the Frankfurt Model School. Frankfurt Model School was based on the teachings of
Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, a well respected educator of the day. Pestalozzi welcomed the poor into his school, including orphans practice
that was revolutionary. His philosophy included the idea that children need to be active learners.
Froebel applied his "hands-on learning" approach when he left the school to be a private tutor. The parents of the children he tutored
offered Froebel a small patch of their property to use as a garden. The learning experiences with the children in the garden convinced
Froebel that action and direct observation were the best ways to educate.
In 1837 Friedrich Froebel founded his own school and called it "kindergarten," or the children's garden.
Prior to Froebel's kindergarten, children under the age of 7 did not attend school. It was believed that young children did not have the
ability to focus or to develop cognitive and emotional skills before this age. However, Froebel expressed his own beliefs about the
importance of early education in the following way: ". . . because learning begins when consciousness erupts, education must also."
Froebel labeled his approach to education as "self-activity." This idea allows the child to be led by his own interests and to freely explore
them. The teacher's role, therefore, was to be a guide rather than lecturer.
In the end, Froebel's most important gifts to children were the classroom, symbolically viewed as an extension of a lovely, thriving garden,
and that which he needed most as a child a teacher who took on the role of loving, supportive parent.
• This article originally appeared in the August, 2000 issue of Early Childhood Today.
The learning experiences with the children in the garden convinced Froebel
that action and direct observation were the best ways to educate.
• Froebel's Kindergarten Goals
Froebel's kindergarten was designed
to meet each child's need for:
• physical activity
• the development of sensory
awareness and physical dexterity
• creative expression
• exploration of ideas and concepts
• the pleasure of singing
• the experience of living among others
• satisfaction of the soul
• A Classroom Garden
• Children can discover Froebel's "gifts"
with indoor garden experiences.
• Plant window boxes with bulbs.
Paper-white narcissus bulbs will grow
and bloom quickly indoors.
• Create a classroom terrarium in a
clear fish tank. Fill the tank with layers
of gravel, sand, and soil and plant with
mosses and ferns. Caring for this miniecosystem lets children observe life.
• Plant seeds of fast growing vines such
as beans and sweet peas.
John Dewey: Father of Pragmatism
• "Education is not preparation for life: Education is life itself." - John Dewey (1859-1952)
• Although he was one of the most famous educators of the 20th century, what may have been most remarkable about John
Dewey was his ability to see the extraordinary value of the unremarkable, everyday experience for young children.
In most classrooms across the United States during Dewey's time, children could be found sitting quietly and obediently in
their seats, passively receiving information from their teachers and committing random facts to memory. Every classroom
and every teacher would be doing the same thing at the same time.
How unsettling this was for Dewey! He knew that, out of necessity, even the youngest children participated in household
chores and activities, and he quickly recognized the wonderful learning opportunities these everyday experiences
provided. He came to believe that the child's own instincts, activities, and interests should be the starting point of
Dewey's strong beliefs fired his passion for educational reform. After receiving a Ph.D. in philosophy from Johns Hopkins
University and teaching at the University of Michigan, Dewey founded his now-famous Laboratory School at the University
of Chicago in 1896. The Lab School came to have a powerful influence on American education. In designing the curriculum,
Dewey took advantage of the teachings of early European educators such as Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, who emphasized
that children learn by doing, and Fredrich Froebel, who recognized the value of play in children's development. Important
skills such as problem solving, language, and math concepts were developed as children were allowed to move freely in
and out of the classroom and explore their surroundings. Education was truly child-centered-teachers were trained to
observe children's interests and help them follow through on those interests. Throughout the entire process, teachers and
children were "learners together."
"When we look at early childhood classrooms today, we see children building language skills as they share snacks with
classmates, learning important science concepts as they water and care for plants, and developing math skills as they cook
up a special treat for lunch. All these commonplace preschool activities stem from the ideas of a forward-thinking and
most uncommon man." - John Dewey
• This article originally appeared in the October, 2000 issue of Early Childhood Today.
Dewey: A child's own instincts, activities, and interests should be
the starting point of education.
A Pragmatic Approach to Learning
• You can exercise Dewey's approach to
learning in your own program by:
• Starting each day by gathering
children for a group meeting, where
the development of language skills is
an inevitable outcome.
• Planning cooking activities in which
children learn important math skills in
the process.
• Taking a nature walk for a hands-on
exploration of important science
• Dewey's Doctrine
Dewey's beliefs about education for
young children were based on the
following ideas:
• Education and life are interrelated, not
• Children learn best by doing, by acting
on the world.
• Continuity of experience is essential to
Maria Montessori:
A Sensory Approach to Learning By Early Childhood Today Editorial Staff Grades: Early Childhood, Infant, PreK–K
• Now, what really makes a teacher is love for the human child; for it is love that transforms the social duty of the educator into
the higher consciousness of a mission." - Maria Montessori (1870 - 1952)
• When she was only 10 years old, a seriously ill Maria Montessori told her mother, "Do not worry Mother, I cannot die; I have too
much to do." With such a strong will, it's not surprising that Montessori's achievements were so extraordinary. She began by
becoming the first female doctor in Italy, but today she is known worldwide for her work with young children.
• Montessori turned her attention to education for the first time while working with mentally disabled children as a doctor at the
Psychiatric Clinic of the University of Rome. Although the children had been dismissed by both teachers and doctors as
unteachable, Montessori viewed their disabilities as a failure of teaching methodology rather than a medical problem. She
established a special form of education for these children using the principle, "First, the education of the senses, then, the
education of the intellect." The nation was shocked when her students learned to read and write and passed the same
examinations given to "normal" children of the same age!
• Her successful work with these children inspired her to undertake a new project in education: to understand how best to educate
children in ordinary classrooms. During Montessori's time, classrooms were crowded and teachers used rigid drill methods for
teaching young children. Montessori insisted that teaching involved great devotion and an understanding of how young children
• Surprisingly, Montessori's famous first class, the "Children's House," was actually a child care center in an apartment in a poor
neighborhood. Montessori refused to impose arbitrary tasks on the children. Instead she showed them ways to develop their own
skills at their own pace, a principle she called "spontaneous self-development." Her classroom had low cubbies where children
could take out and put away their own supplies, child-size furniture, a garden and pets for them to care for, and assorted objects to
encourage children to teach themselves.
• Montessori made a breakthrough in the education of children when she realized that the way to teach a skill is not to have a child
try something over and over but to prepare the child to learn skills by teaching the movements and actions necessary to perform
them. For example, to teach her students how to write, she cut up large sandpaper letters and had children trace them with their
fingers, and later with pencil or chalk. Soon, her 4-year-old students were able to write letters-and then words - on their own! The
Montessori classroom was the first of its kind, with its emphases on cultivating a warm and comfortable environment and on
independent and active learning.
• Today, schools worldwide have discovered the wisdom of Montessori's methods, grounded in her own belief that - "early
childhood education is the key to the betterment of society."
Teaching the Montessori Way
• To promote optimal learning:
• Provide classroom objects,
including wooden cylinders, fabrics
of different textures, gymnastic
equipment, and counting rods, that
will stir children's interest and
capture their attention.
• Encourage children to explore
these materials freely.
• Allow children to work on tasks or
projects at their own pace,
• You are bringing Montessori`s
methods into your own classroom
as you:
• Plant seeds so that children can
care for plants and observe their
• Include children in the preparation
and serving of snacks.
• Provide both sandpaper and threedimensional shapes and letters
that children can trace with their
fingers to reinforce shape and
letter recognition.
Lev Vygotsky - Playing to Learn
The fourth installment in Early Childhood Today’s series on the Roots of Early Childhood Education
By Deborah J. Leong PhD, Elena Bodrova PhD Grades: PreK–K
• In play, a child is always above his average age, above his daily behavior; in play, it is as though he were a head taller than
himself." - Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934)
• Lev Vygotsky is often called the "Mozart of psychology." Similar to the famous composer, Vygotsky applied his genius early in life to
many different areas. And like Mozart, Vygotsky died young, at age 37, after a battle with tuberculosis.
Born in 1896 in Belorussia, he began his career as an educator and a psychologist at the time of the 1917 Russian revolution. After
moving to Moscow in 1924, Vygotsky set out to create what he hoped would become a new way to understand and solve the
social and educational problems of his time.
At the core of Vygotsky's theory, called the Cultural-Historical Theory, is the idea that child development is the result of the
interactions between children and their social environment. These interactions include those with parents and teachers, playmates
and classmates, and brothers and sisters. They also involve relationships with significant objects, such as books or toys, and
culturally specific practices that children engage in the classroom, at home, and on the playground. Children are active partners in
these interactions, constructing knowledge, skills, and attitudes and not just mirroring the world around them.
Vygotsky opposed the psychologists who believed that children's development occurs spontaneously and cannot be affected by
education. He also differed with those who claimed that teaching had the power to alter development at any time regardless of
the child's age or capacities. Instead, Vygotsky felt that learning could lead development if it occurs within the child's Zone of
Proximal Development (ZPD). The ZPD contains skills and concepts that are not yet fully developed but are "on the edge of
emergence" emerging only if the child is given appropriate support. For the skills and concepts that lie outside a child's ZPD, even
significant instructional efforts may fail to produce developmental gains.
Vygotsky recognized that the kind of assistance needed to help children develop new skills and concepts within their ZPD took
different forms for children of different ages. For instance, fostering make-believe play with preschoolers could provide the same
support that formal instruction offers for older students. "A child's greatest achievements are possible in play, achievements that
tomorrow will become her basic level of real action."
Lev Vygotsky has contributed a wealth of ideas to early childhood education. Most important, he has shown us how children's
efforts to understand the world around them, working in concert with teachers' sensitive, responsive interactions, rouses their
young minds to life.
Vigotsky cont..
Supporting Development Through Play
For make-believe play to support
development, the teacher should:
Give children the opportunity to
create an imaginary situation by
offering nonstructured and
multifunctional props and by
modeling how to use them (for
example, a paper plate may be
used not only for playing
restaurant but may also become a
dial in a spaceship or a mirror in a
• Encourage children to act out
various roles by introducing
different play themes and
scenarios (so, when playing out a
grocery store theme, children can
be shelf stockers, baggers,
shoppers, cashiers, and so on).
• Be certain that children are aware
of the rules that govern the
relationship between specific roles
in a play (for example, in playing
hospital, the "patient" is not
supposed to give a shot to the
Pioneers In Our Field: Jean Piaget - Champion of Children's Ideas-Grades: PreK–K
"If logic itself is created rather than being inborn, it follows that the first task of education is to form reasoning." - Jean Piaget 1896-1980
The legacy of Jean Piaget to the world of early childhood education is that he fundamentally altered the view of how a child learns. And a teacher, he
believed, was more than a transmitter of knowledge she was also an essential observer and guide to helping children build their own knowledge.
As a university graduate, Swiss-born Piaget got a routine job in Paris standardizing Binet-Simon IQ tests, where the emphasis was on children getting
the right answers. Piaget observed that many children of the same ages gave the same kinds of incorrect answers. What could be learned from this?
Piaget interviewed many hundreds of children and concluded that children who are allowed to make mistakes often go on to discover their errors and
correct them, or find new solutions. In this process, children build their own way of learning. From children's errors, teachers can obtain insights into
the child's view of the world and can tell where guidance is needed. They can provide appropriate materials, ask encouraging questions, and allow the
child to construct his own knowledge.
Piaget's continued interactions with young children became part of his life-long research. After reading about a child who thought that the sun and
moon followed him wherever he went, Piaget wanted to find out if all young children had a similar belief. He found that many did indeed believe this.
Piaget went on to explore children's countless "why" questions, such as, "Why is the sun round?" or "Why is grass green?" He concluded that children
do not think like adults. Their thought processes have their own distinct order and special logic. Children are not "empty vessels to be filled with
knowledge" (as traditional pedagogical theory had it). They are "active builders of knowledge-little scientists who construct their own theories of the
Piaget's Four Stages of Development
Sensorimotor Stage: Approximately 0 - 2
Infants gain their earliest understanding of the immediate world through their senses and through their own actions, beginning with simple reflexes,
such as sucking and grasping.
Preoperational Stage: Approximately 2 - 6
Young children can use symbols for objects, such as numbers to express quantity and words such as mama, doggie, hat and ball to represent real
people and objects.
Concrete Operations: Approximately 6 - 11
School-age children can perform concrete mental operations with symbols-using numbers to add or subtract and organizing objects by their qualities,
such as size or color.
Formal Operations: Approximately 11 - adult
Normally developing early adolescents are able to think and reason abstractly, to solve theoretical problems, and answer hypothetical questions.
For more information about the work of Jean Piaget: A Piaget Primer: How a Child Thinks by Dorothy G. Singer and Tracey A. Revenson (Plume Books,
1996; $12.95).
Piaget cont…
• Applying Piaget's Theory in Your
The art of applying Piaget's
theories in your program is in
making children's experiences
hands-on and concrete. Remember
that children need to explore the
nature of things through trial and
• Introduce unusual materials to
encourage exploration.
• Add aluminum foil and flashlights
to the block area. How can you use
these with the blocks?
• Encourage children to talk about
changes they notice when
manipulating objects.
• Invite children to learn more about
the world through field studies and
Take Home Exercise – Make Notes and Complete
the slides below on 3 most popular ECE programs
Different Approaches
to Teaching: Comparing Three Preschool
Differet Approaches to Teaching: Comparing Three Preschool Programs
Programs By Amy Sussna Klein
By Amy Sussna Klein
Different Approaches to Teaching: Comparing Three Preschool
By Amybetween
Sussna Klein 3 Programs
• As early childhood educators, we all have our own philosophies and approaches to education. Our
approach to teaching is created from a multitude of resources and probably includes knowledge
from early childhood theorists, an understanding of child development, and our experiences with
children in different learning environments. Whether you are a new teacher about to embark on
an early childhood career or a well-seasoned professional, it is helpful to know what other
educators are doing in different types of programs. New approaches to teaching and learning can
be adapted within our own environment and information about how your philosophy of
education compares or differs from others can be shared with parents considering your program
for their children.
We will cover three different types of preschool programs—Montessori, High/Scope®, and Reggio
Emilia. The following questions will be considered for each of the three approaches:
What is the program’s history?
What are its main components?
What is unique about the program?
How can one tell if a school is truly following the model?
Exercise : Montessori
Exercise : High Scope
Exercise :Head Start
Exercise Two
The Great ECE Innovators and
Your Own Views about Each
Which one is your practice in your
Or Which one you aspire to practice?
Exercise Two – Use as many sheets below
The Great ECE Innovators and
Your Own Views about Each
Which one is your practice in your
Or Which one you aspire to practice?

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