Curriculum in Early Childhood

In early education and child care, the word curriculum has different meaning to different people. For some, it can be a philosophy, a model, approach or a set of materials as well as activities that are in a boxed curriculum (Cook, 2010). The curriculum is a set of knowledge and skills that are in educational programs and also they are also plans for the experiences in which children’s learning will take place. Although there are various definitions of curriculum, they all have once concept: goals and strategies set aside to help children gain skills and knowledge through experiences, activities, as well as opportunities. The curriculum in early childhood education is not a full concept because of the influence of developmental and educational psychology, the interpretations of child development theory. According to traditional educational models, they emphasize the processes of learning where children learn through exploration, play and discovery link with lesser disciplinary methods (Cook, 2010). The makeup and the place of the curriculum content in early childhood education is a debatable issue especially when it comes to how children should interact with subject matter, skills, and concepts. Moreover, learning processes are more critical as opposed to either content or outcomes.

Due to the curriculum theory, has connected poor relations to the way a child develops. On the other hand, in the present-day policy frameworks, the early childhood curriculum model has become a tool that articulates content, coherence, and control to ensure that there are streamlined processes in both pre-school and compulsory education policy (Palaiologou, 2016). It provides that children can achieve educational as well as school readiness goals that help in creating both long term and socio-political goals. According to early education research, two positions that explore curriculum content, control, and coherence (Moss & Moss, 2008). The first position comprises the impact of both developmental and educational psychology in early childhood education. The second position encompasses how contemporary policy frameworks have chosen the main concepts from the disciplines. There are different assumptions as well as discourses in the two spot with each taking a different view of what entails curriculum in early childhood, what influences decision making and the most significant forms of knowledge. Both positions have combined global trends towards capitalizing in the early childhood education models where theories of human development are put together with discourses of human capital.

There are varying views of the concepts of curriculum content, control, and coherence that are within and between the above mentioned positions. About two new educational policy frameworks such as the Early Years Foundation Stage and Te whriki in New Zeland, we discover a third position that stems from children working theories. The New Zealand Ministry of Education provides alternative ways of taking part in elaborate conversations, informing curriculum theory and practice, and asking relevant questions (Hamlin & Wisneski, 2012). By using the first two positions, they reflect on the development of curriculum theory and practice in ECE, the framing of the curriculum, and the influence of the policy frameworks (Early Childhood Australia, 2012). The positions shed light on how the new curriculum developed. According to research, reveals that curriculum in early childhood education entails difficult conversations, complex questions as well as effective practices. As such, The different curriculum orientations and cultures are assumptions about the nature of learners and their needs, the influence of the teachers, the norms surrounding subject matter, learning environments, and also curriculum planning and evaluation.

In the same fashion, there is an understanding that the curriculum draws from some perspectives and narratives: personal, political, ethical, historical, cultural, post-colonial, social, and such. Resultantly, many people such as children, families, policymakers, and professional are also part of the curriculum. The curriculum emphasizes on the need to ask fundamental questions about milieu, nature, practice, aims and comprehending their significance. As a result, there are questions about what takes place when issues of content. Coherence and control are tools in used to highlight in the curriculum by using both theory and policy in early childhood education. Curriculum in early childhood education is all about it is all about putting together the understanding of children, education process, assessment, play, and pedagogy. It exploits the fact that children are always learning and it is essential to identify the fact that all parts in early childcare provide learning experiences for all developmental domains.

How Do Children Learn the Curriculum by Playing In Early Childhood Education?

Because Play is a childhood right, it provides a crucial aspect of a child’s physical, social, and also intellectual development. Therefore, a play is an integral part of young children’s education. Child developed research has supported the need to incorporate play in early childhood education in the most recent documents (Cook, 2010). Nonetheless, there are specific aspects of the link between play and curriculum that remain open to expounding and this influences the beliefs of early childhood practitioners and even their classroom activities. The many interpretations of curriculum stem from the fact that there is a contradiction in meaning between the words play and curriculum common in professional literature and everyday lingo that teachers use as well as parents. The prevailing notion is that play is a spontaneous and child initiated activity that has no practical influence. While with the curriculum, there is the assumption that it is an intentional way of teaching whose goals is to provide instructions (Palaiologou, 2016). Besides, playing is not a single explanation but a mix of playful behaviors that children take part in classroom and the different actions according to the level of adult guidance and support.

As stated earlier, Studies on playing in early childhood education address two main aspects of the play-curriculum relationship. According to some research, they analyze the use of play elements, play motivation, and play environments as a way to promote instruction in the primary subjects such as science, literacy, and math (McLachlan, Fleer & Edwards, 2013). It can also be a way of enhancing specific areas of development in children such as children’s social and emotional competencies, language and gross and motor skills. These studies focus on the areas of growth in education where the play is a tool for boosting child development. Early childhood educators have helped to translate the studies into practical ways in which to model math, literacy, sciences, and social skills into children’s play.

At the same time, there is a long tradition in play research that sheds light on playing, and its make-up pretends object, and social (Cook, 2010). It identifies that it is a distinct child-initiated activity that has a unique contribution to child development. The grants stem from broader competencies such as mind theory, symbolic representation, and self-regulation that does not only affect child development in their early stages but also affect them in their schooling and beyond. It is common to find that majority of studies that derive from that perspective have taken place in a natural setting where children participate in free play with little or no adult supervision (McLachlan, Fleer & Edwards, 2013). The curriculums derive from the need of emphasizing adequate physical areas as well as props for child play. It also advocates that children should have ample time for free play in the daily pre-school schedule and increase the time for recess in pre-school children and others in primary grades.

Playing is about processes such as exploration, repetition, mastery, practice, and revision (Warren, De Vries & Cole, 2009). These aspects are significant in creating, extending, and connecting the children’s cognitive abilities. As such, play activities help children to develop a sense structure in children when it comes to tasks. They developed their ability to experience and take part in the rehearsal of these processes. Educators often speak out their concerns that children’s play is sometimes repetitive. However, a closer examination reveals that there are small changes in play themes as well as patterns as children play, revise and extend their previous activities (Warren, De Vries & Cole, 2009). For example, in singing games, children learn how to learn through social interaction and concentration through well-planned play. The process of playing as well as learning contributes to enhancing the children’s brain design. The role of educators in Children’s play is all about looking for patterns that lead to more complex thinking, learning, and comprehension in children.

Blackboard Video Explanation

In the video, the teacher and children’s interactions show them interacting in outdoor exercise-treasure hunting. The focus of play activity is to promote social skills and critical thinking. The reason for this premise is because it is a group activity that involves treasure hunting. One of the things that stands out in the video is the fact that the children have a different behavioral bearing. The teacher provides a free and harmonious bearing according to their skills and attitude. Some children are actively seeking treasure while others are following up. The teacher is critically analyzing the outcome of the play activity by asking the children repeatedly about what they are doing (Hamlin & Wisneski, 2012). In turn, this encourages talking, feedback, engagement and such. However, not all children are finding the exercise amusing as some are on the side looking on or playing other games. 

It is interesting to note that the teacher does not force all children to participate in the activity. Instead, she focusses on bringing out the behavioral aspect of each child. The spontaneous and structured activity is a platform for the teacher who appears to be carrying a note and a paper as if to record the outcome of the action. Another area that the teacher focusses on is the knowledge and understanding, interests and skills in the treasure hunting activities. There are those children that can follow the clues and participate actively while there are others who are oblivious of the happenings. As such, despite them being in the same class, they tend to exhibit different levels of understanding about the play activities. When the children are playing, the teacher not only sets to observation, but she also enhances the engagement by encouraging the children to dig further and find the treasure. She also gives them clues that help them to see the treasure box. There is also the aspect of praise by the teacher to children who found the treasure. This helps them to critically think about the activity and boost their knowledge skills and attitudes (Moss & Moss, 2008). 

According to the Early Years Learning Framework, the children can communicate in a free and harmonious environment according to their pace, general needs, and creativity (Moss & Moss, 2008). Through the activities, they are developing the capacity to interact with other children, with adults (the teacher) and also their environment to gain new knowledge, attitude, behaviors, and skills. As a result, the children are eager to explore the treasure hunting exercise, experiment, or test as a free learning experience (Oliemat, Ihmeideh & Alkhawaldeh, 2018). Because each child has an unprecedented pace, the activity helps them to develop a positive image about themselves. The teacher is supporting the children’s acquisition of knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and skills by letting them take their time to find the treasure and not pressuring those who do not seem to be keen with the activities.

The early childhood educator is promoting the children’s learning through focusing on specific learning outcome such – how the children can know about the activity, their skills in interpretation the activity, and their attitudes towards the activity (Palaiologou, 2016). Some children tend to have more knowledge by how they are answering the questions. Along with the children’s experiences, the teacher can help them meet positive learning outcomes. For instance, the children can think critically, socialize and achieve overall quality in learning (Moss & Moss, 2008). These links are critical in linking learning areas in providing essentials skills that provide a background for education. The spontaneous structure is helpful as it reflects on children’s cognitive, emotional, and social outcomes. The involvement of the teacher on one-on-one encourages the children to feel comfortable hence, exploring their sills (Hamlin & Wisneski, 2012).  As such, play education targets the overall development of the child which will assure them a good foundation. The child’s event is a target for a specific age. For instance, in the video, the children seem to be between the ages of 3 and 5.  As such, the play helps them to develop in language, communication, attitudes and cognitively.

Reference

Arthur, L., Beecher, B., Death, E., Dockett, S., & Farmer, S. (2018). Programming and planning 

in early childhood settings (7th ed.). South Melbourne: Cengage pp.229-275.

Cook, S. (2010). Healthy and sustainable environments for Children and Communities, in J. 

Davis, Young children and the environment. Retrieved from http://www.scu.eblib.com.au.ezproxy.scu.edu.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=564447 Chapter 8 pp.242-273

Early Childhood Australia, (2012). EYLF-PLP Newsletter No 29:Health safety and well-being 

Retrieved from earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/nqsplp/e-newsletters

Hamlin, M. & Wisneski, D. (2012). Supporting the Scientific Thinking and Inquiry of Toddlers 

and Preschoolers through Play. Young children, May, 82-88. 

McLachlan, C., Fleer, M., & Edwards, S. (2018). Early childhood curriculum (3rd ed.) Port 

Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.pp.1-32

McLachlan, C., Fleer, M., & Edwards, S. (2013). Early childhood curriculum (2nd ed.) Port 

Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.pp.1-29

Moss, P. & Moss, G., (2008). What Future for the Relationship between Early Childhood Education and Care and Compulsory Schooling. Research in Comparative and International Education, 3(3), 224-234. Retrieved from http://eprints.ioe.ac.uk/5613/

Palaiologou, I. (2016). Teachers’ dispositions towards the role of digital devices in play-based 

pedagogy in early childhood education. Early Years, 36(3), 305-321. doi: 10.1080/09575146.2016.1174816

Neumann, M. (2015). Young children and screen time: Creating a mindful approach to digital 

technology. Australian Educational Computing, 30(2).

Oliemat, E., Ihmeideh, F., & Alkhawaldeh, M. (2018). The use of touch-screen tablets in early childhood: Children’s knowledge, skills, and attitudes towards tablet technology. Children and 

Youth Services Review, 88, 591-597

Warren, E., De Vries, E., & Cole, A.  (2009). Closing the gap: Myths and truths behind 

subitisation. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 34(4), 46-53 Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.scu.edu.au/ps/i.do?ty=as&v=2.1&u=scu_au&it=search&s=RELEVANCE&p=EAIM&qt=SN~1836-9391~~VO~34~~SP~46~~IU~4&lm=DA~120090000&sw=w

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