From John Dewey to Herbert Kohl, many theorists and practitioners have explored the use of a developmentalist model as a way to harness the natural instincts and interests…
From John Dewey to Herbert Kohl, many theorists and practitioners have explored the use of a developmentalist model as a way to harness the natural instincts and interests of young children to foster meaningful learning. Yet, the concept of meaningful learning in early childhood education today is quickly shifting away from the developmentalist model and its emphasis on authentic learning, toward a social-efficiency model that emphasizes the use of state curriculum standards, standardized assessments, and evidence-based instructional approaches. As the early childhood curriculum pendulum swings, early childhood programs find themselves at risk for becoming more “business like” and less representative of the kind of reflective and risk-taking environments Dewey envisioned leaving educators struggling to use child-centered practices in an era of increased accountability. Considering some of the significant challenges facing early childhood programs and educators, it is critically important for the field of early childhood to begin examining the ways in which the curriculum and instructional procedures being utilized may, or may not, be illustrative of Dewey’s vision of active, dynamic, and integrated early learning experiences and, to what degree. One way to promote meaningful instructional integration is to consider the natural connections that exist across content areas. A logical beginning is to use literacy as an anchor for meaningful learning across the preschool curriculum. In this chapter the authors engage in a review of the literature as it relates to the integration of early literacy and content curriculum and discuss implications for future practice.
The White House Initiative: Educate to Innovate (2009) outlines the need for school age children (P-12) to focus more intentionally on Science, Technology, Engineering…
The White House Initiative: Educate to Innovate (2009) outlines the need for school age children (P-12) to focus more intentionally on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math or STEM. The arts and other developmentally appropriate activities (i.e., blocks, painting, music, etc.) are added to STEM to create STEAM. Specifically, this chapter focuses on Technology, Engineering, and the Arts within the contexts of Science and Mathematics in the early childhood setting. By allowing children the time to explore and create, young children will wonder about the world around them. The chapter concludes with suggestions for early childhood professionals to create environments (physically, temporally, and interpersonally) that encourage and expand the STEM principles.
Often overlooked in discussions related to how to ensure accessible and affordable high-quality early childhood education is the heavy burden that has been carried by the…
Often overlooked in discussions related to how to ensure accessible and affordable high-quality early childhood education is the heavy burden that has been carried by the early childhood workforce; the data reveal a level of exploitation of this workforce that must be considered and addressed. This chapter will focus attention on the economic realities of the early childhood workforce as a key element to achieve equitable access to affordable high-quality early childhood services.
Children experience toxic stress if there is pronounced activation of their stress-response systems, in situations in which they do not have stable caregiving. Due to…
Children experience toxic stress if there is pronounced activation of their stress-response systems, in situations in which they do not have stable caregiving. Due to their exposure to multiple poverty-related risks, African American children may be more susceptible to exposure to toxic stress. Toxic stress affects young children’s brain and neurophysiologic functioning, which leads to a wide range of deleterious health, developmental, and mental health outcomes. Given the benefits of early care and education (ECE) for African American young children, ECE may represent a compensating experience for this group of children, and promote their positive development.
On the basis of the data collected from 144 practitioners, we studied impact of the Palm Beach County Quality Improvement System (QIS) on practitioners. We found that (a…
On the basis of the data collected from 144 practitioners, we studied impact of the Palm Beach County Quality Improvement System (QIS) on practitioners. We found that (a) the duration of early learning coaching, (b) the intensity of career advisors, (c) quality workshops and conferences, (d) college courses, and (e) scholarship for books and supplies in relation to taking college courses are related to improving practitioners' job skills and level of certification and degree in early childhood care and education. We found that additional income to practitioners through the WAGE$ program is effective in retaining them. We also found that the professional development program has differential impact on practitioners of various racial and ethnic groups and that more encouragement and support should be given to African-American and Hispanic practitioners to engage in professional development and pursue advancement in the level of certificate and degree. All these findings have implications for the policy of early care and education in general and for other quality improvement initiatives for early care and education in particular.
A translation framework and associated processes and activities for bridging the research-to-practice gap in early childhood intervention are described. Translational…
A translation framework and associated processes and activities for bridging the research-to-practice gap in early childhood intervention are described. Translational processes and activities include methods and procedures for identifying evidence-based practices, translating findings from research evidence into early childhood intervention procedures, and promoting practitioners’ and parents’ routine use of the practices. The framework includes four interrelated processes and activities. Type 1 translation uses research findings to develop evidence-based practices. Type 2 translation involves the use of evidence-based professional development (implementation) practices to promote practitioners’ and parents’ use of evidence-based early childhood intervention practices. Type 3 translation includes activities to evaluate whether the use of evidence-based practices as part of routine early intervention have expected benefits and outcomes. Type 4 translation includes activities for the dissemination, diffusion, and promotion of broad-based adoption and use of evidence-based practices. Examples of each type of translation are described as are implications for practice.
This chapter draws on developmental intergroup theory, parental ethnic-racial socialization literature, anti-bias curricula, and prejudice intervention studies to address…
This chapter draws on developmental intergroup theory, parental ethnic-racial socialization literature, anti-bias curricula, and prejudice intervention studies to address the appropriateness of discussing race and racism in early childhood settings. Existing literature about teacher discussions surrounding race and racism is reviewed, best practices are shared, and the need for more research in this area is highlighted. The construct of parental ethnic-racial socialization is mapped onto early childhood anti-bias classroom practices. The chapter also outlines racial ideologies of teachers, specifically anti-bias and colorblind attitudes, and discusses how these ideologies may manifest in classroom practices surrounding race and racism. Colorblind ideology is problematized and dissected to show that colorblind practices may harm children. Young children’s interpretations of race and racism, in light of children’s cognitive developmental level, are discussed. Additionally, findings from racial prejudice intervention studies are applied to teaching. Early literacy practices surrounding race and racism are outlined with practical suggestions for teachers and teacher educators. Moreover, implications of teacher practices surrounding race and racism for children’s development, professional development, and teacher education are discussed.
Classist perspectives embedded in our meritocratic society permeate early childhood education. Curricula, instructional practices, and classroom interactions have the…
Classist perspectives embedded in our meritocratic society permeate early childhood education. Curricula, instructional practices, and classroom interactions have the potential to send messages to children about who and what is valued by society; frequently influenced by the characteristics and abilities of a middle-class child. In order to best serve the needs and abilities of children from any social class, early childhood educators should be well versed in social-class sensitive pedagogy, a pedagogy that helps teachers to be inclusive of social class diversity in their classrooms. This chapter argues that aspects of Montessori theory, such as the four planes of development and the prepared adult, complement social-class sensitive pedagogy in ways that all early childhood educators may apply to their own teaching.
The purpose of this chapter is to highlight the impact of an “Early Steps Physical Education Curriculum” (ESPEC) in children's attitudes and awareness toward a healthy…
The purpose of this chapter is to highlight the impact of an “Early Steps Physical Education Curriculum” (ESPEC) in children's attitudes and awareness toward a healthy lifestyle in early childhood. ESPEC was a part of a five-European country intervention program named “Early Steps” project. Early Steps project was a European Union funded initiation that targeted at improving children's healthy lifestyle and social development. The main philosophy behind the “Early Steps” project was the use of physical education activities to help children acquire the basic knowledge of social interaction skills, and healthy and active lifestyle. The ESPEC was designed to improve children's awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The curriculum comprised of 24 physical education lessons, which aimed through the acquisition of several motor skills at making children in early childhood engage more actively in a healthy lifestyle. Results showed that children developed several healthy habits through their participation in play experiences provided by the “ESPEC for healthy lifestyle.” Such findings could lead to the conclusion that (a) children's attitudes toward a healthy lifestyle can be influenced positively and enhanced in a carefully organized physical education program and (b) curriculum-based initiatives that aim at improving children's attitudes and behaviors, such as the “ESPEC for healthy lifestyle” program, can be implemented effectively in early childhood education.
The purpose of this study is to construct a scale that is contextually suitable for measuring early childhood leadership in China.
Following a standard scale development procedure, both qualitative and quantitative research approaches were addressed. Qualitative data was collected from 21 semistructured interviews with formal and informal teacher leaders in Xiamen City, China. Using survey data of 120 respondents and 305 respondents, an exploratory factor analysis was conducted twice to determine the underlying factorial structure of the scale. A further sample of 317 respondents were used to test the latent structure and validity of the scale using confirmatory factor analysis.
Based on the results from reliability and validity tests, this study indicates that the scale demonstrates sound psychometric properties. A three-factor model was determined, including staff management and development, peer learning and support and communication with parents.
The scale is the first of its kind for measuring early childhood leadership in China.