Teaching Philosophy in Early Childhood Development

Nature/Nurture Concept and Debate

The five domains of early childhood development constitute the early development instrument perspective (Curtin, Browne, Staines, & Perry, 2016), from which an important aspect of teaching philosophy can be explored. It is recognized today that all five domains should be addressed in an integrated manner, so the mentioned aspect is combining efforts aimed at development in each of the five domains. Part of the curriculum should be activities that involve different aspects of young children’s development.

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For example, the children will be encouraged to play intellectual games with each other that will involve certain physical activities; this way, their motor functions and cognitive abilities will be improved along with social skills, emotional qualities, and language proficiency.

The combination of the five domains of early childhood development in classroom activities is important because it ensures that the children’s learning process is multifaceted, and important aspects of development are not overlooked (Naudeau, Kataoka, Valerio, Neuman, & Elder, 2012). The implication on an educator’s practice is that educators need to constantly consider the combination of different dimensions of development in the process of designing curricula and teaching plans.

Goals and Objectives

The goal of an educator should be encouraging critical thinking in learners, promoting their mastery of educational materials, ensuring their competency in what they learn, and setting standards of evaluating the successfulness of learning outcomes (Naudeau et al., 2012). Further, it should be recognized that the process of learning should be meaningful, i.e. a special meaning should be shaped in learners about their learning experiences.

A set of objectives is to be adopted to ensure that all these areas are addressed as part of the curriculum design process. However, the process of teaching and learning should be meaningful not only to the learners but also to the educators. As an educator, I highly appreciate the opportunity to influence young minds and shape an attitude in them that will allow them to acquire any kind of knowledge in the future. For this, I think collaborating with my colleagues is important because they may possess valuable experience. Although theoretical knowledge about education is important, it is also helpful to receive practical advice from colleagues on how to deal with particular classroom situations.

Setting goals and objectives is important because, without it, it is impossible to design a curriculum. The teaching philosophy of an educator should be the basis of planning the instructional process (Orlich, Harder, Callahan, Trevisan, & Brown, 2012). A major implication on my practice and classroom is that I am obliged to confirm the relevance of my teaching plans and to justify them by referring to reliable current theories of goal-setting in education.

Professional Standards

Early childhood educators should commit to professional standards in order to ensure that the learning outcomes are optimal (Orlich et al., 2012). Curriculum planning should be based on evidence and research findings, including such aspects as learning objectives, teaching strategies, and evaluation. This way, educators can ensure that their activities are based on confirmed and reliable results of education-related studies.

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An example of such a strategy is a research-based teaching method (Orlich et al., 2012). However, in the process of implementing a certain strategy, an educator should pay attention to ethics, professional standards, and relevant laws and policies. To ensure this, ethical considerations should be included in a curriculum; an agreement should exist between the educator and the learner (or the learners’ parents or adult caregivers) on how ethical decision-making will be ensured.

The ethical principles will include justice, autonomy, respect for learners, honesty, and avoidance of bias. Professional standards will be followed through ensuring that a curriculum complies with recognized standards based on a defined group of beneficiaries (Naudeau et al., 2012). Laws and policies should be enforced by the administration of educational facilities; however, educators themselves should be familiarized with them, too, and should practice them in the process of designing a curriculum.

Professional standards in planning curricula and choosing specific strategies and methods are important because they ensure that educators rely on practices of confirmed effectiveness instead of providing education to learners in a form that can be ineffective or harmful. Ethics plays a significant role because it ensures that no negative effects for young learners are caused. In my classroom practice, standards and policies should be taken into consideration because, without them, the curricula I design are irrelevant, and I will not be allowed to teach young children unless I comply with those standards and policies.

Advocacy

An early childhood educator should act as an advocate on behalf of children, i.e. recognize and represent their needs (Essa, 2012). To achieve this, it is helpful to effectively include all the learners in the learning process. Educators should not neglect any learners or their needs, and abuse is unacceptable. Also, family engagement in the process of education delivery should be encouraged. If educators advocate the needs of their learners in their communication with instructional facilities and families, it will improve the learning environment and help the educators become more proficient in their profession.

Advocacy is important because an educator is not only the provider of educational materials but also a bridge between learners and their learning environments and between learners and their families in the context of education. In my practice, I will commit to communicating with young children with the purpose of learning more about what they need and what they think the instructional process should be like. Further, I will try to deliver their vision to the facility and to parents or adult caregivers.

Assessment Methods

In assessing learning outcomes for Pre-K children and K to Grade 3 children, different approaches can be employed. Informal assessment will consist in the educator’s perception of how well a learner mastered the educational materials. Formal assessment will involve testing and scales aimed at recording the learners’ understanding of the materials. However, it is important that the assessment is not only summative (i.e. based on scales) but also formative and diagnostic (i.e. challenges should be identified, and feedback should be provided on how the learning process can be improved) (Orlich et al., 2012).

New skills should be taught through referring to familiar skills and current knowledge. The instructional process is to be constantly monitored, and adjustments can be made upon receiving feedback from learners. The evaluation of the effectiveness of teaching will be based on the achievement of learning outcomes assessed with informal, formal, summative, formative, and diagnostic tools.

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Assessment of student understanding is crucial because it is a means for educators to find out if their teaching strategies are effective. In my practice, I will combine different types of assessment to ensure that I am capable of assessing how successful my students are in the learning process. I will adopt the all-students-can-learn attitude, i.e. I will not only evaluate the progress of all the learners based on the scales I have but also look for any improvements caused by the learning process in every student.

Technology

Technology can be used in the learning process, and it can improve learning outcomes (Blackwell, Lauricella, & Wartella, 2014). For example, interactive technologies can be used by educators to facilitate the learning process, engage students, or communicate with parents or adult caregivers. Students may be more willing to learn if the employed technologies appeal to them. The use of technology is important because children nowadays are often used to using devices and media for information retrieval and exchange. In my practice, I will use multimedia, such as audiovisual materials, to gain the interest of learners.

Environment

A positive learning environment can be created for Pre-K and K to Grade 3 children through friendliness and openness. Differentiated instruction should be based on learners’ feedback on what they already know and what methods of instruction they find the most appropriate (Orlich et al., 2012). To avoid conflicts, educators should pay attention to the learners’ cultural backgrounds, avoid bias, and engage parents in the learning process (parents may be able to explain cultural differences in a more reliable manner than an educator). Finally, the physical environment should be adjusted to optimal learning activities and should make young children feel comfortable.

Environment is important because children are especially susceptible to environmental influences (Curtin et al., 2016). In my practice, I will establish open and trustful relationships with learners so that they feel comfortable to share any concern or complications about the learning process, including the physical setting of the classroom.

Conclusion

With the considerations described above, I am sure I will be able to improve my teaching philosophy and gain insight into how instructional processes can be improved. Reflecting on the issues of teaching philosophy, domains of early childhood education, goals and objectives, professional standards, advocacy, methods, technology, and environment is a helpful experience in approaching the curriculum design process. In my practice, I will use all the findings summarized above and ensure that my curriculum is evidence-based and ultimately beneficial for learners.

References

Blackwell, C. K., Lauricella, A. R., & Wartella, E. (2014). Factors influencing digital technology use in early childhood education. Computers & Education, 77(1), 82-90.

Curtin, M., Browne, J., Staines, A., & Perry, I. J. (2016). The early development instrument: An evaluation of its five domains using Rasch analysis. BMC pediatrics, 16(10), 1-14.

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Essa, E. L. (2012). Introduction to early childhood education (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Naudeau, S., Kataoka, N., Valerio, A., Neuman, M. J., & Elder, L. K. (2012). Investing in young children: An early childhood development guide for policy dialogue and project preparation. Washington, DC: World Bank.

Orlich, D. C., Harder, R. J., Callahan, R. C., Trevisan, M. S., & Brown, A. H. (2012). Teaching strategies: A guide to effective instruction (10th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

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