Enmeshed in the continuing debate are political and economic issues (parental leave policies, family support, on-site child care, providing care and education for all who wish it); educational issues (who determines the content, mode, and effectiveness of early childhood education, professional preparation and support over time, optimal environments); and the issues that grow out of personal and societal belief systems. It will not be easy to answer these questions and to shape new ways of embracing early childhood education for all. The Head Start experiment makes clear that research over time is essential if we are to really understand the powerful effect of early childhood on the lives of adults and the future of societies. What is needed now is continuing research and a commitment of the research and policy communities to dialogue with families and communities to enact policies that will, in the long run, benefit both our youngest children and the societies in which they will take their places.
Sociocultural theory provides a unifying way to think about the major controversies affecting early childhood education. The theory provides a helpful way to frame research and practice regarding play and academics. Lesley Mandel Morrow has studied the effects of adults engaging preschool children in literacy activities during sociodramatic play. She and her colleagues found that children engage in literacy activities more often when adults help guide their play than when children simply play in print rich environments (Morrow & Schickedanz, 2006).
Think about your early childhood education (or your child’s early education), was it flexible to suit individual learning experiences or were children required to conform to the teacher’s methods of teaching.
The scenarios presented below are similar to those that you will likely encounter as an early childhood educator. Put yourself in the shoes of the early childhood educator and apply your knowledge and skills to navigate through each scenario.
A decent research project on early childhood education must contain all necessary components in compliance with the procedure of the scientific text writing. The set of rules and principles, which are the main construction elements of the procedure, can be easily discovered in the form of free sample research paper topics on early childhood education.
A good early childhood educator will enhance learning and development with an extensive knowledge of both the verbal and non-verbal elements of communication.
In the United States and around the world, the statement drew and has continued to draw both praise and criticism. Praise for the statement focuses on what it has enabled. It has given early childhood practice visibility and has put early childhood education in the limelight of education policy in this country and abroad. The criticism has come from those who question the “suitability of this approach for young children, for at-risk children, and for children from varying cultural backgrounds” (Huffman & Speer, 2000, p. 169). These critiques were foundational to the development of a new line of research and theory known as the reconceptualist perspective.
Both terms used to define DAP, developmentally and appropriate, are ambiguous, leading to conundrums. For example, much of DAP recommendations are simply good teaching practices—for children of all ages. Referring to these practices as developmentally appropriate for young children implies that these practices are not necessarily appropriate for older students. The word appropriate poses its own dilemmas. What is appropriate to one may be inappropriate to another. There are ways around this ambiguity. Other professions do not define practice by the notion of appropriateness. There is no such thing as legally appropriate practice or medically appropriate practice. Rather, most professions embrace a best practice approach in which minimal standards and ideal guidelines are articulated. Adopting a best practice framework would reduce ambiguity and provide a way to identify differences in quality while reserving the label inappropriate for those practices that are unambiguously unacceptable for all children (e.g., abuse and neglect).
The ring of scientific truth in the psychological research that grew out of Piaget’s (1929/1975, 1952; Piaget & Inhelder, 1969) work and that of the child study movement presented difficulty for educators and policy makers. I say difficulty because, along with the stage theories of Erikson (1963) and Freud, this research, which appeared to so ably describe optimal learning environments and optimal learning treatments, seemed to completely overshadow the work of early childhood pioneers. Early childhood education became synonymous with theories of child development, and efforts to spur children’s cognitive development took precedence in the field. As Williams (1992) noted, two schools of thought emerged from this perspective: one suggests that programs for young children (4- and 5-year-olds) should be framed around the traditional school subject areas and should engage children in “formal, academic skills such as reading and computation” (p. 12), and the other calls for a nuanced, child-centered approach for 4-and 5-year-old children. Seefeldt and Galper (1998) describe the split as between behaviorists and those who advocated a child-centered curriculum (p. 173).
An early childhood educator will understand what constitutes good communication and the positive impact this can have on effectiveness of a successful learning environment....
Unfortunately, framing early childhood best practice as a dichotomy between appropriate constructivist methods and inappropriate behavioral methods does not allow the field to develop rich, nuanced conceptions of how best to educate young children. Alternative ways of conceptualizing professional practice will be discussed later.