ECRP. Vol 1 No 2. What Should Children Learn? Making Choices and Taking Chances.

The purpose of this paper is to consider the concept of children’s potential as it is interpreted and supported by an early childhood curriculum. This discussion represents a first step in responding to the question—What should preschool children learn?—recently posed to me by the Committee on Early Childhood Pedagogy, a group of scholars convened by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council to address issues of educational goals and content in the preschool age period.

This is well worth any early childhood educator’s time! Read it before school begins in the fall.  Research based.  How can this support your work with children and families?


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Children playing in a push car. An instance wh...

Children playing in a push car. An instance where “vroom” may be used during play in early language development (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Most children learn how to listen, speak, read, and write from birth through grade three. They typically begin to use

literacy as a learning tool in the middle to the end of third grade.”  There is a concern when children come from

homes where conversation is not encouraged.  What can parents and teachers do?  Do you agree with the Post University

Blog?  How do the prior topics from Inspired Educationalist relate to the 6 activities in the Post Blog?

Blog – Post University: 6 activities to improve children’s language development.

Learning from Early Childhood Education – Two Pedagogy Nerds Contemplate What Higher Ed Might be Overlooking « Techniques in Learning & Teaching.

Incredible blog- think about how early childhood practices can influence practices in universities!

Research from The University of Nebraska-Lincoln ( The Nature of Teacher Talk during Small Group Activities, Julie Rainer Dangel and Tonia Renee Durden)  shows that children who spend their time in conversation rich environments become better thinkers, readers, and writers than their peers.  How can we use this research to create better practices?  Note the term “conversation rich”.  How does that differ from the environment in our schools? How do we help parents to see the connection between conversation and cognitive development?

The language of the educators indicates the values held in a school.  Each Preschool, Childcare Center, and Home school has its own culture of language used in caring and working with young children.  Tuning in to these sounds (auditory climate) of a school gives a glimpse into the often unseen world which children encounter.  Do some research.  Set up a recorder, use a Flip Camera, or hit record on the computer for 5 minutes.  Try recording the auditory climate during different times of the day.  Hold discussions with co workers.  What does it tell you about the values of your school?  What does it tell you about your practice?


I recently read an article in Scientific American Mind, May/June 2012 about language development in young children.  Did you know that to tune their speech, young toddlers rely on different feedback than adults?  As adults, we subconsciously listen to our own voice to tune pitch, volume, and pronunciation. Young children just learning to talk do not.  Research has found that they do not begin to listen to their own voice until they are much older, instead relying on the adult to give them feedback.  The real take home message from this research is that “social interaction is important for the development of speech.” (Ewen MacDonald 2011)  You can read the article below.

 

 

I wanted to share a good article with you about research being done on the act of making things- some call it tinkering, some call it design and implementation. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

 

A group of Harvard researchers is teaming up with schools in Oakland, Calif. to explore how kids learn through making. Through an initiative called Project Zero, they’re investigating the theory that kids learn best when they’re actively engaged in designing and creating projects to explore concepts. It’s closely aligned with the idea of design thinking and the Maker Movement that’s quickly taking shape in progressive education circles.

Though it’s still in very early stages — just launched at the beginning of this school year — researchers and educators at the school want to know how kids learn by tinkering – fooling around with something until one understands how it works. They want to know what happens cognitively – how thislearning process helps form habits of mind, builds character and how it affects the individual.

To do that, they are working with both private and public schools in Oakland, headed by the Harvard researchers and 15 participating teachers who meet in study groups every six weeks to share ideas and to form a community.

“It’s not a lesson plan; it’s not a curriculum; it’s a way to look at the world.”

 

Harvard Wants to Know: How Does the Act of Making Shape Kids’ Brains? | MindShift.