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Historical Roots and Importance of Early Childhood Education

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Reflect on the philosophy and theories of any one of the early thinkers; Plato, Frobel, Rousseau or Pestalozzi. What are the key concepts of the philosophy or theory?

Plato is one of the early thinkers who I respect and look upon to. One of my favourite quote is ‘In all things, the beginning is the most important’. It is up to the early year’s educator to create the best environment and positive influence on a child.

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He was born in Athens in a prominent and wealthy family. He founded a school in Athens called the Academy and recognized the importance of early childhood education as it shaped a child’s future social, cultural and intellectual life. Plato broke the traditions by insisting all boys and girls should receive the same physical and educational teaching and criticizes the use of corporal punishment as discipline.

In The Republic (Plato’s book on the ideal state), Plato discussed that nurseries should be a place where we can cultivate a spirit of community. That means getting children to understand the importance of social responsibility through their actions such as how to contribute back to society or how they can make a difference.He believed the physical, mental and spiritual development of a child is equally important. Hence, the curriculum should include games, music, stories and drama that are able to demonstrate the values needed by a good citizen.

Example, Stories should have role models where children can imitate.He also mentioned in his book that enforced learning will not stay in the mind. Avoid compulsion and let children’s lessons take the form of play.Plato wanted the nurseries to be a place where children love. He wanted the children to enhance their learning through play as he believed every child learns best through play and fun.

Plato understands the importance of nursery education as he believed it played a significate role in shaping and building a child’s education, moral character and state of mine.

Reflect on the Desired Outcome of Early Years (3 yrs. and below) and the Key Stage Outcomes of Pre-school Education (4 – 6 yrs old). What are the expectations of the different age groups? Are the outcomes reasonable to be expected from these different age groups?

The desired outcomes of early years are

· Children to feel secure and confident

· Programme is holistic and provides optimal support and experiences for growth, development and learning

· Educarers are professional and engage in reflective practices

· Presence of strong partnership and good relations between home and centre

· Availability and accessibility of network of support for home and centre

n my perspective, the desired outcome is a guide where teachers should work towards in order to develop or create a quality learning environment for the children. It is attainable with the right educarers, supportive centre and parents.

In order for the child to feel secure and confident, we have to ensure that the environment is safe and free from anxiety. Example, educarers gain the trust of their children by reaching out to children in a responsive, reciprocal and respectful manner. They encouraged and challenge their children to solve their problem on their own such as negotiating on what they want. It helps to build their confidence.

Educarers should be open-minded and constantly reflect or review on their lesson daily. By doing this, not only can they identify what went wrong and what they can improve on, they will be able to understand their children better such as, if they have made any progress and who are those who needed more help etc.

Educarers played an important role in developing quality learning experience for the children. It is critical to stimulate and deepen the children learning based on how they develop and learn.

Research has shown that family engagement is critical to a child’s academic achievement and social development. By building a close relationship with the families, educarers can help extend children’s active learning throughout the day. It can be attained by sharing information about the child, welcoming families to participate in school activities, preparing parent workshops and sharing of resources.

The key stage outcomes of the preschool education are

· Know what is right and what is wrong

· Be willing to share and take turns with others

· Be able to relate to others

· Be curious and able to explore

· Be able to listen and speak with understanding

· Be comfortable and happy with themselves

· Have developed physical co-ordination and healthy habits

· Love their families, friends, teachers and school

In my perspective, I feel that the outcomes for preschool education are reasonable as the role of kindergarten education is to build up the confidence and social skills and to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills in preparation for lifelong learning.At the end of their pre-school journey, they should be a confident person who is able to identify what is right and wrong, is adaptable, knows and appreciate himself, thinks independently and communicates effectively.

They should be comfortable working or playing with others. They should also participate in a variety of physical activities; demonstrate control, coordination and balancing and developing healthy habits and safety awareness habits.

Reflect on one of the teaching approaches: Waldorf, Montessori, Bank Street, High Scope and Reggio-Emilia. What are the key concepts of the teaching approach?

I adore High scope teaching approach because it shared the same teaching outcome I look forward to as a teacher. I want to be able to develop independence, curious, cooperation, persistence, creativity and problem solving young children. It is also my personal goal to establish a good relationship with young children be it in school or out of school.

The high scope teaching approach is a guide for me in attaining those goals. It believes that learning is not a process where adults give information to the children but children learning through participation. Children will then discover and learn through direct hand on experience with people, objects, events and ideas.

In the Highscope model, teachers assess children’s and classroom activities daily and strive to achieve new insights into each child’s skills and interests. The teacher plays a key role in designing the learning environment, thoughtfully provide the materials, plan the activities and talk to the children in a manner which both support and challenge what children observe and think.

Teachers are as active and as involved as children. They arranged and labelled classroom learning areas and materials to give children a board range of experience. To promote initiative and independence, teachers ensure materials are easy to access and put away on their own.

Highscope believe in Plan-do-review sequence where children make choices on what they will do, do and reflect with adults. Children’s work is important and is usually posted on classroom walls.

By participating in the plan do review process, children can gain confidence as thinkers, problem solvers and decision makers. From this, they learn how to act with intent and reflect on the consequences of their actions.

A major goal of highscope is to create a learning environment where children can work and play free of fear anxiety and boredom. They are learning centres such as building, dramatic play, art, mathematics, reading and writing, music and movement, sensorial explanation, science and motor development.

In highscope setting, learning is a positive, exciting and natural experience which I personally hope to adapt in my teaching.

 

 

Reference:

  1. Plato (1955) The Republic, translated by HD Lee. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
  2. Plato’s Education Philosophy. Retrieved from http://results.mu.ac.in/myweb_ test/MA%20Education-Philosophy/Chapter-11.pdf
  3. Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates: Ancient Greek Perspectives on Experiential Learning (2011, January). Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/ publication/236896596_ARISTOTLE_PLATO_AND_SOCRATES_ANCIENT_GREEK_PERSPECTIVES_ON_EXPERIENTIAL_LEARNING
  4. Dr. Sultan Muhammad Khan. (2018, November). Plato and Education. Retrieved from https://research-education-edu.blogspot.com/2008/11/plato-and-education.html
  5. Ministry of Education, Singapore. (2013). Nurturing Early Learners (NEL): A Curriculum for Kindergartens in Singapore
  6. Ministry of Education, Singapore. (2012). Nurturing Early Learners (NEL): A Curriculum for Kindergartens in Singapore
  7. Early Childhood Development Agency.(2013). Early year development framework for childcare centre. Republic of Singapore: ECDA.
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