Developmentally appropriate classroom and curriculum planning is key to an instructor?s success with students, parents, colleagues and the educational system. In my essay will be describing to my ED manager my classroom plans and educational philosophy if hired to teach a class of pre-school aged children (ages3-5). The Ed manager should use this information as a way to get to know me and feel confident that she understands the level of readiness I bring with me to enrich and assist children as they attain readiness for school. I will be discussing the educational philosophy and theories the director can expect to see influencing my teaching style. Three to five year old children physical & motor, social-emotional, cognitive and language development will reviewed so that my director will be assured that I am working with these children in developmentally appropriate ways. The definition of assessments both formal and informal and how to use these assessments appropriately.
The developmentalists and theories that have influenced my view of early childhood education include Abraham Maslow?s ?hierarchy of needs?, Maria Montessori?s, sensory materials, John Dewey?s ?progressivism? and Jean Piaget?s ?age-stage? understanding of cognitive development (Morrison, pg.98, 100, 101, 141,(2009). These educator?s philosophies can be counted on to lead teachers in a developmentally appropriate direction in the creation of curriculum for children ages 3-5. There are many philosophies that are noteworthy and influential in building childhood education today however, these four people will be the focus of developing a curriculum in my classroom.
Abraham Maslow reminds us that fundamental needs must be met before any learning or as he would call it ?actualization of self? could occur. Maslow?s theory contends that the following needs must be satisfied or learning will be hindered: Life essentials such as food and water, Safety and Security, Belonging and Love, Achievement and prestige, and Aesthetic needs.
Nutrition is of utmost importance. It is my duty as an instructor to find out if a child has not had breakfast or is otherwise not getting proper nutrition. It will affect their performance and must be addressed immediately. Safety and security, belonging and love, and aesthetic needs are environmental influences; fulfilling these social-emotional needs is a part of my teaching at all times. Achievement and prestige are earned and with goals clearly outlined for the students, there will be a place and time for achievement awards and honor of my students.
John Dewey and Jean Piaget followed a constructivist theory. Constructivist theory ?emphasizes the active role of children developing their understanding and learning? (Morrison, pg 114). Maria Montessori?s theory was in agreement with constructive theory and active learning. However, her teaching method is not child-centered and led, like Dewey and Piaget. The Montessori Method is definitively scheduled and led by the instructor (Morrison, pg.143, 2009). This is why I am drawn to advocate the Montessori Method. I believe that children should be encouraged and led (but not pushed), outside of their own agenda and comfort zones, in order to grow. Each of these educators advocates active learning as a means to reach and enrich children. New experiences built upon old experiences result in adaptation of more complex knowledge.
John Dewey introduced progressivism or identifying with what children are interested in and focusing on those interests instead of what a teacher might like to teach. This is necessary to enrich pre-school children?s development although it may not adequately prepare pre-schoolers for the current era?s educational developmental atmosphere. I appreciate Dewey?s philosophical focus on preparing children for life in the real world. His classroom involved plenty of physical activity. Children benefit from opportunities to be actively involved with tools and materials for building, and creating. ?Teachers who integrate subjects (such as combining math and literacy experiences) who use thematic units, and who encouraged problem solving activities and critical-thinking are philosophically indebted to Dewey? (Morrison, pg. 99, 2009).The idea of multiple subjects being taught together under the guise of real world activities like growing seedlings, following recipes or building a simple structure with blocks is certainly an approach I expect to utilize while engaging children?s interest in ?a course of action, occupation, or pursuit that absorbs the powers of an individual in a thorough-going way? ( Morrison, pg.99, 2009)
Jean Piaget?s theory of learning is called the ?age-stage development theory? (Morrison, pg. 116-120, 2009). This theory is demonstrated pre-school age children to be in the pre-operational stage of development. At this stage children are