The paper explores the necessary components of an appropriate curriculum for children and the way it impacts their learning. It also explains the essential skills children develop through play. Moreover, the paper discusses an approach to creating effective lesson plans and the current state on the issue of standards for professional preparation in childhood education. Data from reviewed literature indicate that curriculums should include concepts like literacy and academic options. Play is important to children since they gain a variety of skills including verbal and social due to it. Effective lesson plans should include objectives, preview, introduction, main activity, and evaluation sections. Regarding professional preparation, the existing literature shows that such measures as, for example, the use of evidence-based practices in education have become mandatory.
The American society has started to appreciate the importance of childhood education, which leads to such measures as curriculums implementation to standardize the education system. The paper discusses the necessary components of an appropriate curriculum for children and the way it impacts their learning. It also highlights the important skills children learn through play. Moreover, the paper presents an approach to the developing of an effective lesson plan using the example of a lesson plan on patterns. Finally, it discusses the current state of the issue of standards for professional preparation in childhood education system.
Components of an Appropriate Curriculum
There are certain necessary components of childhood education that should always be included in an appropriate curriculum for this type of education. Curriculum refers to the lessons and academic courses taught during particular course or program (Kostelnik, Soderman, and Whiren 4). When developing an appropriate curriculum, a teacher should include the components of literacy and educational option. It is essential since academics are the primary reason for children’s education. Therefore, the component should support childrens emerging skills in reading and writing through developmentally appropriate approach (Catron and Allen 15). Teachers should also include character education component in the curriculum. Character education is important since it allows the educators to help children to develop positive personal traits and set the foundation for high moral values emerging.
A teacher should also include child-initiated activities component in a curriculum. Activities are considered an important part of childrens education since they allow them to learn independently through exploration but with a teachers guidance (Catron and Allen 16). The curriculum should have objectives for the planned outcomes of the activities. Teachers should also contain a suitable assessment part in the curriculum (Kostelnik, Soderman, and Whiren 5). Evaluation is important since it aids a teacher in making necessary curriculum improvements in order to meet individual needs of every child. The curriculum impacts on what children learn since it ensures that the learning process has both academic options and child-initiated activities, which the teacher and children lead. It, therefore, stabilizes tuition and recreation in the childrens learning. Curriculum also affects the way children learn by balancing the time for them to increase literacy level and learn through play.
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Skills Children Learn Through Play
Children get to learn a variety of skills when they engage in play. Through it, children learn language and promote literacy skills (Morrison 221). When children participate in nursery rhymes, they study how to memorize vocabularies essential for language learning. Children also strengthen mathematical skills through play (Morrison 221). Playing with blocks helps children to learn mathematical concepts such as symmetry, shape, and geometry. Through play, they improve social skills. When children are playing, they are able to hold conversations with the others and also learn about how to share (Morrison 222). Using games, kids also learn life skills. By playing with their peers, they get to know about the importance of cooperating with other people including those who are racially and culturally different from them (Morrison, 221). In addition, engaging in dramatic plays with adult themes such as going to work helps children to prepare for their future roles.
Approach to Developing Effective Lesson Plans
There are several steps that I follow in my approach to developing effective lesson plans. The first one is the setting of objectives. According to Snow (62), objectives are important to a lesson plan since they determine what kinds of activities need to be presented. The objectives I set outline the most important concepts that I want the children to be able to grasp. They also include what they should take from the lesson. After setting objectives, the next step is establishing of the preview of the lesson. It is through previewing I can decide when to offer the activities. The diversity of a class means that some of the children may be knowledgeable about the lesson while other students may be not. I, therefore, gauge when to offer the activities involved in the lesson by setting questions to ask the class about these activities. Basing on the response, if a majority of children know about them, it would be easier for me to delve straight into the activities. However, if most of them lack a clue about them, I would introduce the activities at the beginning of the lesson before embarking to offer them to the students.
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The next step is taking decision on how to introduce the activities to the children. An effective lesson plan includes creative introduction of them in a way that stimulate childrens interest (Snow 64). It can be achieved through using several approaches, for example, telling children a story about the concept to be studied through the activities involved or using visual aids. After the introduction of the activities, I ensure that the students concentrate on utilizing them in different ways to achieve the intended objectives. The last step is developing a plan to evaluate the activities used during the lesson. I conduct the evaluation after observing the level of students engagement with the activities. I can evaluate the effectiveness of the activities using several ways. For instance, I can ask students views on the impact the activities have had on their understanding of the lesson. Moreover, I can give the students individual assignments to utilize the activities to make patterns. After reviewing their answers, I make the decision on whether the activities were useful in enabling the students to understand the lesson or I should replace them with the other ones.
Example of a Lesson Plan on Patterns
Students to learn meaning of patterns
Students to learn how to extend patterns
Students to learn how to create their own patterns
Plastic Blocks, use of hands to clap and snap
Preview (5 minutes)
Ask the students whether they know how to use claps and snaps to create patterns.
Ask the students whether they know how to use plastic blocks to create several patterns.
In case they do not know how to use the activities to make patterns, introduce the activities first.
Introduction (5 minutes)
Narrate an experience about importance and capability of using claps, snaps, and plastic blocks in creating different kinds of patterns.
Main Body/Activity (30 minutes)
Create patterns with the whole class using claps and snapping of the hands. Start pattern-making process and request the children to finish it.
Ask volunteering students to start to clap and snap to make patterns and ask the rest of the class to finish them.
Divide children into groups of four and distribute plastic blocks to them. Each group to take turns observing the others patterns and predicting the next one.
Let students work on the activities individually to test their understanding of the lesson.
Evaluation (5 minutes)
Ask students views on the impact the snaps, claps, and plastic blocks have had on their understanding of the lesson. Give the students individual assignments to utilize the activities to make patterns.
Make a decision based on students response whether the activities were effective in students learning about patterns
The above lesson plan is effective since it uses activities to allow teacher to impact on knowledge of the children. It also helps the children to learn by themselves through creating patterns in groups using snaps, claps, and plastic blocks. The evaluation part of the lesson assists teacher in identifying lesson activities that work and drop those that do not.
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Standards for Professional Preparation in Early Childhood Education
The quality of education of children education programs is linked to the training and schooling of the professionals. Analyzing the topic of professionalism in early childhood education, current measures in this sector aim to solve the issue of standards of the professionals preparation. Currently, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has developed certain standards of professionalism to be used by specialists like teachers in childhood education. For example, institutions overseeing professional development system are to offer the teachers professional preparation, which includes training specific to child development (NAEYC 17). It is also a requirement that childhood education professionals must update their knowledge and skills through a coherent and systematic program of learning experiences.
Teachers are also required to use evidence-based practices in children teaching process. The practices should be based on specific outcomes that define what the teacher should do for young children as a result of his/her training (NAEYC 17). The educators are also required to work with supervisors in order to develop professional development plans that support early childhood career network system. Such measures have improved professionalism by ensuring that teachers and other education system professionals are qualified to work in early childhood education sphere.
The importance of childhood education has led to the development of curriculums appropriate for children. These curriculums need to have important components like literacy and academic options. Play is also essential for children since they develop vital skills such as verbal and social ones through it. An effective lesson plan, which guarantees childrens understanding of a lesson, should include objectives, preview, introduction, main body, and evaluation steps. On the issue of standards for preparation of professionals in early childhood education system, current measures such as the use of evidence-based practice are being embraced to provide the whole system with high-quality teaching specialists.