Understanding educational approaches and appropriate standards and strategies are essential for the directors of the programs.
It defines how the process of studying might influence the future of children.
Directors of modern early childhood education programs should guide the teachers and caregivers in their daily responsibilities connected with the process of teaching. They should have specific knowledge and skills to manage all the aspects of organizing the program.
Developmentally Appropriate Practices (“Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)” is the document that contains the instructions and fundamental principles of the process of teaching young children (Freeman, Decker, and Decker p. 239). This framework includes various aspects of teaching. The first element is the basic knowledge of the specifics of the development and learning process of young children in general. The next component concerns the focus on the individual peculiarities and features of each child. This part of the framework also involves understanding the characteristics of young learners with various types of disabilities, with outstanding results in studying, and those who learn two languages simultaneously. The third part includes the necessity to consider differences in children’s cultural backgrounds and the financial status of their families.
Anti-Bias Education is the second aspect of the process of planning the process of teaching. It regards the diversity of cultures, social statuses, religions, appearances, and characters to make the children understand that people are different and should accept these peculiarities of others with understanding. Various scholars contributed to developing the norms presented in the documents like the “Code of Ethical Conduct” that help organize the standards in the relations between citizens (Freeman, Decker, and Decker, p. 244). Such regulations help address discrimination and make such problems obvious to the caregivers of young learners.
They indicate what expectations the teachers should have regarding the performance of young learners. These standard characteristics of the abilities and skills of children appear as the result of the government’s initiatives aimed at the improvement of performance results of the learners. An example of these standards can be the “Early Learning Guidelines” that are compulsory for most early childhood education programs (Freeman, Decker, and Decker, p. 245). They define what specific skills and knowledge children of different ages should have at a particular stage of development.
It should correspond to such requirements:
- be adapted to satisfy the needs of the children
- be appropriately designed to conform to the developmental stage
- consider individual characteristics of the learners
- contribute to the active process of studying.
The instructors might not only use the previously described knowledge of DEP and study the available instructions and standards but also design the appropriate curriculum. The curriculum might include the particular elements and methods of helping children achieve their learning goals.
Two types of activities:
- the activities that children initiate and aspire to try (play a significant role in the development of curiosity and desire to learn in young children)
- the activities that the teachers suggest and introduce (concerns the detailed explanation and illustration of the learning material)
Teaching strategies vary according to the instructors’ experience and knowledge of different techniques and approaches. Although both approaches have their advantages, the combination of them both might benefit the children significantly.
Children-initiated activities. The role of the instructor in such a process of learning is to create a specific framework that might enhance the learners’ performance. For instance, the teacher may use such steps as asking appropriate questions to make children reason about the theme themselves and “pointing out a detail” missed by the observer (Freeman, Decker, and Decker, p. 252). Although these steps help improve some situations, the teachers are not supposed to influence the intentions and attention of the children.
Direct instruction. Together with the child-initiated process of learning, this approach is also an essential element of education. It includes various activities that should correspond to the stage of development of children and their specific features. For example, the instructor may choose to explain to the toddlers how to wash their hands, while the preschoolers might need to learn from the teacher how to write letters or count. Direct instruction might be helpful in these procedures because it might teach a child some practical skills through imitation of the acts of the adults.
Technology as a Tool
Teachers should use modern technologies together with the conventional methods of education because digital tools have become an inseparable part of human life. Teachers may use some specific equipment to enhance studying using the images, sounds, actions, and knowledge from different domains of learning. At the same time, the instructional leader should define whether the program requires these tools and how they should combine with the traditional methods of teaching. Besides, the role of the director is to monitor whether the content young learners perceive corresponds to their needs and stages of development.
Setting the Stage for Learning
All the children should have a specific teacher who cares for them and communicates with them emotionally, contributing to their development of social skills. Since the children learn how to socialize and interact with others through observation, imitation, and establishing personal relationships with the primary caregivers, they should have one teacher.
Grouping. It is significant how the director decides about the grouping of children. One of the most widespread ways to organize the groups is to focus on age. In this case, the instructor creates separate classrooms for children of different stages of development. However, this approach has restrictions that limit the development opportunities for the learners. Mainly, in the mixed-age groups, children may benefit from observing the actions of the older children or assisting younger game partners. Thus, knowledge of different approaches and their benefits plays a considerable role in the ability of the director to create the most effective groups.
The Daily Schedule. The daily schedule is a significant factor in developing young learners’ discipline, habits, and emotional stability. Their ability to predict the next step and understand their routines’ logic helps them create the structure of life in their minds. The director should devise the appropriate schedules according to the age groups. This step might help to organize the day for the caregivers and the children.
The teacher’s instructor should know all the practices, standards, curriculum approaches, and teaching strategies to understand which of them to choose as the basis of the program. This knowledge should become the initial stage in the career of a director.
Freeman, N., Decker, C., & Decker, J. Planning and administering early childhood programs (11th ed.).