An early childhood program entails appropriate development practices for decision and policy makers in program centers. The main reason for the creation of such programs is for the care and education of young children. The program aims at establishing quality standards in the process of delivering the needs of children in their early development stages. According to Willer et. al. (1991), early childhood programs are increasing because of increasing demand for children care out of their home context and recognition of the adverse effect of the best educational experiences at a tender age.
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Currently, these programs have expanded to take care of cultural diversity because of the perceived importance of culture in the development of children. According to NAEYC, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act require these programs to make provisions to accommodate physically and mentally challenged children. The reason for this are the legal requirements that children with special needs should be integrated with their peers in the community.
Sufficient inclusion and accommodation of children with special needs requires a proper description of the practices as well as practices to be carried out in the convergence of early childhood education principles with special education. Early childhood experiences affect one’s behavior in school as well as an individual’s later life. Research indicates that early childhood experiences and the environment that a child is exposed to affect the process of brain development.
According to Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives (1996), brain cells form important connections in life and can be easily manipulated between infancy and 10 years. Creation of supportive relationships in early childhood enhances cognitive and emotional development as well as creation of secure social attachment in children. Research indicates that these objectives can be achieved through initiation of development-appropriate programs.
Curriculum Schedule for a week.
|7:00 – 8:00||Play with toys, fill in simple puzzles through play||Coloring, play with sand||Fill in puzzles using toys||Singing rhyming with hands||Individualwork on the floor|
|8:30 -8:45||Cutting, coloring of pictures, and playing with dough||Individualwork on the floor||Coloring, play with sand||Singing rhyming with hands||Introduce new learning concepts|
|9:15 -9:45||Singing session; children interact through singing and the use of hand rhymes||Play outside the classroom||Individualwork on the floor||Story time||Introduce new learning concepts|
|9:45 -10:00||Introduce new learning concepts||Story time||Individualwork on the floor||Play outside the classroom||Coloring, cutting, and playing with dough|
|10:00 – 10:15||Learning of numbers and letters||Play with toys on the table||Numbers and letters||Individualwork on the floor|
|10:15 – 11:15||Play outside the classroom||Coloring, cutting, and playing with dough||Singing session; children interact through singing and the use of hand rhymes||Individualwork on the floor||Coloring, cutting, and playing with dough|
|11:15 -12:00||Story time||Introduce new learning concepts||Individualwork on the floor||Individualwork on the floor|
|12:00- 12:45||Lunch break||Lunch break||Lunch break||Lunch break||Lunch break|
|12:45 -1:45||Nap time||Nap time||Nap time||Nap time||Nap time|
|1:45 – 2:30||Coloring, cutting, and playing with dough||Singing and rhyming with hands and fingers||Introduce new learning concepts||Individualwork on the floor|
|2:30 – 3:00||Snack time||Snack time||Snack time||Snack time||Snack time|
|3:00 – 3:30||Play with toys on the table||Individualwork on the floor||Cutting, coloring of pictures, and playing with dough||Individualwork on the floor||Cutting, coloring of pictures, and playing with dough|
|3:30 – 4:00||Numbers and letters||Cutting, coloring of pictures, and playing with dough||Play with toys on the table||Individualwork on the floor||Play with toys on the table|
|4:00 – 4:30||Singing and rhyming with hands and fingers||Play with toys on the table||Cutting, coloring of pictures, and playing with dough||Play with toys on the table||Individualwork on the floor|
|4:30 – 5:00||Free play||Free play||Free play||Free play||Free play|
Activity plan for the week.
|Listen to audio tape to learn on auditory discrimination||Paint a drawn fruit with red, paint its edges with green and fix watermelon seeds||Parents encourage children to narrate stories to them to assess on language development||Fix sand with shells using glue (art)||Encourage the child to complete common shapes using simple puzzles (art)|
Curriculum organization of the program will provide a detailed decision-making framework upon which policies, methods of instruction, and the process of evaluation will be based. It will provide a precise program guide for implementation of the preferred strategies. The curriculum will be used in an early childhood education center to provide the expected structure of programs for both half and full-day activities. The curriculum creates room for development of creativity as well as social skills through learning activities and continuous play in school.
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The process of curriculum development was initiated by early childhood development theories. It puts into consideration the values that are considered to be important in early childhood learning and in the process of learning and development. These factors have influenced and played a big role in predetermining the role of the instructor, the objectives of the curriculum program, the structure of the classroom, and ways of enhancing active participation of children in the learning process (Hohmann & Weikart, 1995).
In addition, the curriculum model gives the teacher the freedom to implement the programs in a way he or she considers appropriate for the learning of the children. Despite the objectives and flexibility of the program, it is aimed at promoting uniform development in children through consistent teaching methods, predictable outcomes, and a prepared curriculum.
The curriculum should adapt the principles that include auto-education, respect for the child, recognition of sensitive periods, the existence of a prepared environment, and nurturing of an absorbent mind. Teachers help children through instilling the initiative of independence in them, which learns to do things by themselves. This enhances the development of learning skills and abilities as well as positive self-esteem in children. Children are susceptible to sensitive periods that enable them to learn easily. The teacher is obligated to detect the sensitivity times and help a child achieve the best out of him or her (Hohmann & Weikart, 1995).
The teacher is obligated to guide the children and leave room for connection between a child and the learning experience. The development-appropriate principles require the teacher to implement the process of a child-centered approach in various ways. For instance, they encourage a child’s learning process through providing freedom to explore the environment. The principles initiate active learning through arranging learning materials in a specific environment so that the child can get the preconceived experience.
The learning environment should uphold cultural diversity and support the learning and integration process for children with disability and outstanding talent. Early childhood programs trigger the intrinsic learning motive in children thereby enabling them to absorb knowledge as far as the materials and the environment they are exposed to support the learning process are concerned (Hohmann & Weikart, 1995). Learning in children with disabilities is initiated by mixed-age groupings that provide a wide range of learning materials in a single classroom to initiate learning at an individual level rather than a group level. Children with disabilities should be introduced to learning programs according to individual readiness.
The use of real objects instead of toys is critical in the integration of the child’s brain development with the real community. For example, children should be allowed to carry out activities like wiping tables with clothes under the guidance of the instructor. Children with disabilities should be encouraged to develop a decision making ability through freedom of materials to use in learning and doping simple assignments.
The complex process of learning and development in children is critical and should be considered in the process of devising evaluation methods for assessing their progress. The process of evaluation should incorporate the understanding of several factors that contribute to them. The evaluation process should consider the contributions of the various environments in the development and learning of a child.
The family and school are the main environments that influence growth and development in young children. Creating a link between the two institutions and parental involvement in a child’s learning process is important in the development of the child. A home-school relationship can be established through consultative planning between the parents and the teachers sharing the process of decision making. Calling a parent to school and sharing with him or her on the progress of the child helps in the development of support mechanisms for positive development of the child. In addition, it ensures that the needs of the child are met through consideration of the interaction in both important development-oriented environments.
The Learning Environment and the Curriculum
The learning environment provides learning materials arranged in an orderly manner to ensure that children achieve the preconceived experiences. Academic materials to initiate reading and writing support the process of learning arbitral concepts in a child. Availability of sufficient learning materials prompts the teachers adherence to the principles of the program. For instance, the teacher only guides the child’s learning process and leaves him or her to explore, understand, and connect with the resulting experiences. This leads to the achievement of the core objectives of the program like development of decision making ability and self-centered learning.
The prepared environment helps in the development of practical life skills in children at a tender age (Frede & Barnett, 1992). For example, if the compound has shielded spots where the children are not supposed to play in, it teaches them the important principle of adhering to instructions. Adoption of these ideologies enable children to become independent, creative, ability to come up with their own opinions about issues, and perfect on the skill of concentration.
The curriculum plan reflects on the core objectives of the NAEYC to support learning in young children. It aims at influencing positive development of the emotional, intellectual, and social processes in a child. A child has a short concentration span. This is implicated in the program’s adoption of a schedule that requires children to perform a certain action within a short period of time before they lose their concentration. In addition, its successful execution requires cooperation between the parents and the teachers to initiate positive development in the child. The program requires teachers and parents to share the process of making decisions that pertain the child because both the home and school environment are very in important in the child’s development.
Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives. (1996). Delivering results: A progress report on brain research. Washington, DC: Author.
Frede, E. & Barnett, W. S. (1992). Developmentally appropriate public school preschool: A study of implementation of the High/Scope curriculum and its effects on disadvantaged children’s skills at first grade. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 7(4): 483–99.
Hohmann, M. & Weikart, D. (1995). Educating young children: Active learning practices for preschool and child care programs. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Educational Research Foundation.
Willer, B. et al. (1991). The demand and supply of child care in 1990. Washington, DC: NAEYC.
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