Early Childhood Education refers to an education branch which is concerned with how children of up to eight years are taught whether formally or informally. Toddler education, on the other hand, deals with those children who are three years and below. Apparently, the education of children is a concept that is globally appreciated and forms an integral part of our lives. Quintessentially, during the early years, pedagogy was contrived as a choice between either learning directed by teachers, play-based learning, or child-centered learning. Child-centered learning is more focused on the interests of the child. Notably, the majority of the teachers dealing with children in their early years tend to focus on the interest of the child; however, as they grow, they are forced to learn what they need to know for them to be vital within the society.
Early childhood education usually focuses on the child and the family. The learning experiences given to children at this stage positively impact them in terms of their growth and development. Ideally, various learning techniques have been adopted in the curriculum to boost the understanding of children. Teaching and learning can either be based on biblical principles, constructivism, developmental characteristics, or linked to the learning process of the brain. This paper gives an in-depth explanation of those techniques and their relation to early childhood education. Currently, there are a lot of discussions and debates concerning knowing and knowledge as essential aspects of early childhood teaching and learning.
The world is made up of various systems of values; thus, teaching children principles which are based on Christianity is essential. The foundation that one gets as a kid is what determines their strength in different aspects of life as they grow. Therefore, integrating biblical principles in early childhood education helps the children to understand how they came into existence. The majority of children are typically curious and would always want to know their identity. By teaching them that they all came from God, they will be in a position to appreciate their identity, and they will understand how creation took place. Moreover, they will know their purpose in the world at a young age. Molding children in a preschool build their faith in God, and their focus will be on doing good deeds.
Indeed, biblical principles enable children to appreciate Christian values. Respect is best instilled in a person when they are young compared to when they are all grown. Chiefly, teaching the children fundamental Christian values will shape them into responsible adults because their foundation will be strong. Likewise, early childhood teachers come up with curriculum plans that are based on the Bible to ensure that the learning and thinking of the child are upgraded. The curriculum entails home-school interactions, learning experiences that are designed, engagement in community ministries, and exploration. The instruction strategies used by early educators are based on the biblical principles and concepts which help in the development of an environment that encourages faith in God. By the same token, it is the wish of every parent to see their children growing up with a solid faith in the word of God because they will always be assured of their ability to separate the evil from good.
Biblical principles are integrated into early childhood education to strengthen the learning program. Children need to be prepared spiritually, emotionally, cognitively, and physically to have faith in the basic concepts of the Bible. The purpose of early Christian education is to use guidance as a mode of teaching. Furthermore, the teachers in this phase handle children with love while at the same time making use of pleasant surroundings, preventative approaches, and intervention strategies to make the kids successful. The guidance given to children gives them an assurance that they are safe and loved. This is because the educators understand the need for teaching the children skills that facilitate self-regulation and caring for others. Children need to grow up with knowing the family skills for them to appreciate relationships.
Markedly, the understanding of how a child grows and learns is based on both the biblical principles and research. Similarly, instilling appropriate practices during the developmental stage of a child enables them to appreciate challenges and learn how to set goals. This is because such practices consider the interest, ability, temperament, diversity, and the personality of the child. Besides, playing is significant to children because it boosts their self-expression, regulates their behaviors, helps them learn how to handle relationships, and gives them an experience of the world created by God. During pedagogy, teachers incorporate various learning designs that are in line with God's plan for how a child should learn since the teacher issues instructions, and the child is expected to abide by them.
Constructivism is learning theory and a scientific study that explains how individuals learn. According to this theory, it is the experiences of people that construct their knowledge and understanding of the world. Typically, when one comes across something new, they tend to reflect on their past experiences to decide whether the new experience is relevant or irrelevant. Thus, the reason why it is called constructivism is that the knowledge is constructed by an individual based on observation and mental activity. Equally important, accommodation and assimilation are the main concepts that enable an individual to construct new knowledge. This is because assimilation enables a person to reconcile the old and new experiences while accommodation reframes the new experiences into an existent mental capacity. In a constructivist method of learning, a teacher is a facilitator who helps the students to understand certain concepts.
The developmental work of Piaget is part of the constructivism theory. According to her, human development entails four main phases, which are the sensorimotor phase, the preoperational phase, the concrete operational, and the formal operational stage. She stated that the process of human intellectual development stems from adaptation and organization. Just like the theory of constructivism, adaptation is an assimilation and accommodation process through which the relevant events happening externally are assimilated into the current understanding while the mind accommodates those that are irrelevant to the existing knowledge. Piaget's assumption of learning is a transformative process, and not a cumulative process is what makes her work to be considered as part of the constructivism, and that is why she is a constructivist.
Vygotsky was a Russian psychologist who came up with a theory related to social constructivism. According to Vygotsky, the ability of a child to internalize social activities arises from interacting with other children who are more competent. In as much the social speech can be internalized when one is an adult, Vygotsky claimed that an intrinsic collaborative character is always preserved. In his research, Vygotsky keenly checked on the differences in the reasoning of a child when working with competent partners and when independent. According to his findings, the learning environment needs to entail interactions that are guided to enable the children to have a reflection on irregularities and use communication to transform their conceptions. His idea of a situated approach to learning is a social constructivism idea, and that is why he is referred to as a constructivist.
The theories of Piaget and Vygotsky contrast due to the differences in their ideologies. Piaget focused on cognitive constructivism while Vygotsky concentrated on social constructivism. According to Vygotsky, the cultural artifacts play a primary role in constructivism such that he claimed cognitive development varies across cultures and time. In contrast, Piaget does not give consideration to the artifacts; she believes that cognitive development is similar around the globe. The main difference between the two constructivists is that Piaget viewed self-discovery as a crucial element of constructivism, while Vygotsky believed that constructivism comes up when one is taught by an individual who is more knowledgeable and competent.
Early childhood educators appreciate the theory of constructivism and claim that children learn by constructing knowledge from outside compared to directly internalizing it from the environment. Constructivism gives an explanation of how best the children can be taught and also how they learn.
Childhood development refers to the pattern of physical, thought, language, and emotional transformations that happen to a child from the moment they are born until they become adults. This process entails the progress of a child from being dependent on their parents to a point where they can depend on themselves. Genetic factors, environmental factors, and events that happen in the early life of a child can influence the general process of development. Child development entails cognition, physical skills, sensory awareness, speech, and language, as well as social interaction and emotional regulation. The development of a child has to be monitored and observed to ensure that their developmental milestones are appropriately met. Also, by checking the development process of a child enables the parent to check whether the child is on track and early identification of unusual conditions that might affect the growth of the child.
Children transform very fast as they grow. Thus, the development of a child has various stages that occur as the physical, cognitive, and emotional aspects change. Some of the phases of child development include newborn, infant, toddler, preschool, school-age, and adolescents. Newborns are usually in the first stage of development, while in their first month of life, they develop responses to the stimulus around them. At this point, they are capable of recognizing specific scents, move their heads, see objects, and even cry or smile.
This stage is crucial because signs of disability, such as genetic disorder, spina bifida, and fetal alcohol syndrome, can easily be identified. The second stage of development is infancy. The infants gain new abilities while in their first year; however, during the first six months, they can be in a position to control the movement of their heads and sit without being supported. In the ninth month, they tend to crawl and stand. In the event that the infant develops slowly, they may be having disabilities in their development or even Down syndrome.
The moment a child turns one to three years, they are in the toddler stage. In this phase, they can easily walk around, draw, climb stairs, jump, and adhere to minor instructions. At age five, the children are already in the preschool stage. Here, they are able to skip, throw balls, perform simple exercises, and dress. While in this phase, cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities can be noticed. School-age is between six and twelve years old; in this phase, the children are responsible, confident, and independent. Also, they tend to form relationships with their peers of a similar gender. At this point, the inability of a child to remain focused can be identified. Adolescence is between the age of twelve and eighteen. At this phase, children are usually at the sexual maturity and experience other physical and emotional changes until when they establish their identity as adults.
Early childhood education entails the facilitation of a learning environment to bring out the best in children. In contrast, child development is focused more on the health and well-being of a child. Educators usually relate those two aspects because the ability of a child to learn is dependent on their development process. The ability of a child to learn can be affected by psychological health, genetic factors, environmental factors. According to research, when children are given a solid foundation in their early life stages, they tend to be more successful in school.
The brain controls most of the functions done by an individual, including thinking and retaining memories. During the early years, a child grows motor skills, language, memory, and reasoning. When they start learning, the content is reinforced into the neural networks to form units that are useful and can be used later on in life. It is at this point that the child gains an ability to generalize ideas, take perspectives, and also interact with others. Indeed, during the middle school years of a child, the activities of the brain are usually in the posterior area where there is an intersection of the visual and auditory functions. It is at this point that the information which the child has studied or learned is stored. While in middle school up to adulthood, the frontal lobes tend to mature. The frontal lobes allow an individual to perform an evaluation of their past experiences and then adapt their traits to them. It is at the frontal lobes that empathy and social understanding stays.
From age twelve to twenty, the frontal white matter tracts begin to develop. This area facilitates appropriate social traits, higher cognitive functions, and other formal operations. The more one gains experience, the more this part develops. Adolescents should be taught with a lot of emphases given to metacognition and inferential thinking; this is because some of their brains develop matching the educational expectations while, to some, it doesn't. Consequently, when the bran fails to match with the educational aspirations, the adolescent is likely not to understand the instructions given, and they might as well have difficulties in understanding complex ideas.
In as much as such learning problems may be associated with immaturity, they may also be a sign of attentional disabilities. However, as the connecting tracts in the frontal lobes get more developed, the traits of the adolescents tend to change. Children with learning difficulties typically have different brains. Similarly, the left hemisphere and temporal regions of the brain activate good reading; any tampering in this region affects the ability of a child to read excellently.
The brain experiences various biological changes when one is in the adolescence stage. The preparation of the brain to venture into adulthood is significantly reliant on the learning environment that it is exposed to during adolescence. It is the events that occur during this phase that shape the brain in terms of response to situations in adulthood. Middle and high school students, on the other hand, need to develop learning competencies, including critical thinking and problem solving, to be in a position to apply them later in life. This implies that educators should offer learning opportunities that allow the cognitive capabilities of children to increase. Since the brain develops at every stage of a child's development, it is vital that they are given the right support for them to be fully prepared for the next phase of their learning and growth.
To sum it up, children are the next generation, and therefore, they need to be given an opportunity to learn right from the early phases of their lives. Even though there are a lot of issues and controversies concerning early childhood education, it is a vital step in education. This paper focused on the various aspects that might affect learning, and one crucial thing is the brain. The development of the brain significantly impacts how children understand what they learn at school. Thus, early educators need to be keen when handling kids to ensure that their brain at this moment is capable of grasping simple ideas. Although there are other factors such as environmental factors, genetics, and diseases that may make a child a slow learner, it is the duty of the teacher to identify techniques that will enable such children to understand whatever they are being taught.
The early stages of life form the basis of how strong and confident an individual becomes in their adulthood. The process of child development ought to be keenly monitored by parents, guardians, and doctors. The process of child development also plays a vital role in the ability of a child to grasp the content in class. Additionally, early childhood development needs to be based on constructivism theory. By focusing on constructivism, the teachers will be in a position to understand the effective ways of teaching children and guide them through to give them the best learning experiences.
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