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He says to his teacher: Should she leave him to continue his observations unaided? Should she try to teach him about evaporation and molecules, simplifying the concepts as far as possible?
Or should she do something else? How best to teach young children—pupils in preschool, kindergarten, and the early grades—has long been a subject of lively debate. What do experts mean by this unwieldy phrase? We know, for example, that children aged 4—6 learn better through direct, interactive experiences than through traditional teaching, where the learner is passive and receptive.
Further, the younger children are, the more what they learn needs to be meaningful on the day they learn it, not just in the context of some future learning.
First, it is age-appropriate: Second, it is appropriate to the individual child: Teachers need to consider both dimensions, she says. She offers an analogy to choosing a toy for a 3-year-old. Given the diversity seen in any group of young children, attention to individual appropriateness is crucial—yet too often neglected, Bredekamp says.
This neglect occurs because the curriculum imposes a norm, and because teachers find it easier to plan to some predicted norm. Teachers must also consider all aspects of the child, experts advise. Instead, teachers must exercise their professional judgment, based on training and reflection.
Over the past few decades, observers say, preschool classes and kindergartens have begun to look more like traditional 1st grade classes: Concurrently, teachers have been expecting their pupils to know more and more when they first enter their classrooms.
Experts cite many reasons for this trend. Today, the urge to compete with Japan yields the same result, experts say. Another cause of the pushed-down curriculum is the widespread—yet incorrect—notion that one can teach children anything, at any age, if the content is presented in the right way, says David Elkind, a professor of child study at Tufts University.
In addition, more children today attend preschool, and preschools market themselves as academic, says Marilyn Hughes, an education consultant and veteran elementary teacher from Aspen, Colo. Some parents, too, favor the pushed-down curriculum in their zeal to give their children a head start in life.
And, in general, Americans believe that faster is better. For one thing, giving children material far beyond what they can do is simply inefficient, says Elkind. Similarly, 4th graders typically need months to learn decimal fractions, whereas 6th graders can master them with far less effort. When young children are introduced to formal instruction too early, in a form that is too abstract, they may learn the knowledge and skills presented, but at the expense of the disposition to use them, Katz says.
Further, when young children are repeatedly coerced into behaving as though they understand something—such as the calendar or arithmetic—when they really do not, their confidence in their own abilities is undermined, Katz says. And over time, children bring their behavior into line with this belief.
Active Learning If traditional, lecture-driven teaching is not appropriate for young children, then how should they be taught? Therefore, the younger the learners, the more opportunities they need to interact with real objects and real environments.
In a developmentally appropriate classroom, Bredekamp says, the teacher provides lots of organized activity. Children are actively involved in learning: Young children need hands-on experiences and social interaction around content, she says. In math, for example, students grasp concepts better when they grapple with real-life problems and work with manipulatives.
Teachers must respect how young children learn best: Research shows that children learn to solve problems better when they work in groups, she says.
So while some whole-group instruction may be useful, teacher lecture should not be the rule of the day. For the most part, teachers should avoid whole-group instruction, Katz agrees.
So two-thirds of the children are wasting their time.
Because children learn idiosyncratically, teachers need to provide a range of learning opportunities, says Judy Zimmerman, principal of Indian Fields Elementary School in Dayton, N. Therefore, the teacher must continue to provide opportunities for pupils to learn the concept.
For young children, investigation is a natural way of learning; they make hypotheses all the time.Visual spatial intelligence is crucial in many academic and professional fields. Despite the importance, it is rarely included in kindergarten or elementary curriculum. This comprehensive guide to the brain development of children from 0 to 6 years is packed with insightful tips and important facts every parent should know.
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ABCs of Behavior An easy method for remembering the order of behavioral components: Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence. Parent Involvement in Literacy Development - In the study performed by Cairney and Munsie, Parent participation in literacy learning, the relationship between parents, teachers, and the community was explored in regard to their children’s literacy development.
Visual spatial intelligence is crucial in many academic and professional fields. Despite the importance, it is rarely included in kindergarten or elementary curriculum.