WSQ Professional Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education (Childcare)
RTRC200 Principles and Practices in Early Childhood and Education
2nd to 14th May 2018
Lecturer: Mr Daniel NunisCohort: AF37
Student’s Name: Yasmin Bte Habib NoohStudent’s NRIC: S9431479H
TOC o “1-3” h z u Introduction PAGEREF _Toc514096044 h 1Identification of First iTeach Principle PAGEREF _Toc514096045 h 2Reflections and Examples of the First Principle Identified PAGEREF _Toc514096046 h 4Identification of Second iTeach Principle PAGEREF _Toc514096047 h 6Reflections and Examples of the Second Principle Identified PAGEREF _Toc514096048 h 8Identification of Third iTeach Principle PAGEREF _Toc514096049 h 9Reflections and Examples of the Third Principle Identified PAGEREF _Toc514096050 h 11Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc514096051 h 13References PAGEREF _Toc514096052 h 15Appendix PAGEREF _Toc514096053 h 17
IntroductionThe contemporary curriculum guide designed in 2003 by the Ministry of Education (MOE) accentuates on Reflective Practice for educators. The framework highlights the approach of teaching and learning principles to establish pertinence in the aptitudes of young children aged four to six. It is aimed to enrich the children with a robust foundation to ensure the latter with a continuous learning journey. This supports the children in honing their inquisitive nature and boosting of confidence.
The framework comprises of six principles that is encapsulated into an acronym recognized as “iTeach”. It guides the children to acquire knowledge, competence and dispositions over six learning areas Aesthetics and Creative Expression, Discovery of the World, Language and Literacy, Motor Skills Development, Numeracy and Social and Emotional Development (MOE, 2013). In addition, there are six learning dispositions the children are equipped with. They are Perseverance, Reflectiveness, Appreciation, Inventiveness, Sense of Wonder and Curiosity and Engagement.
The iTeach principles establish an integrated approach that is advocated by the teachers utilizing purposeful play and extensive interactions to empower children to build up knowledge and shift towards holistic progression.
Identification of First iTeach PrincipleThe first key Principle that is reflected in Case Study 6 is: Integrated Approach to Learning.
This Principle adopts an integrated approach in learning where teachers plan the learning experiences of the children in purposeful context. They work with themes, stories or projects to enhance the children’s interests and understanding of the relevant topics they can explore (as cited by Kostelnik, Gregory, Soderman ; Whiren, 2012, p.213). Children engage in exploratory behaviour as they scrutinize the environment and work on their five senses. This motion builds up questions such as “How does this work?” and “What can I do with it?”. The visual and auditory exploration allows them to manipulate things carefully. As such, teachers’ role in ensuring the learning of the children include broadening the knowledge on what they already know and what they can further learn.
In setting up learning centres or planning learning activities, teachers should be aware of the support the children can garner in making connections as an integral part of their learning. Themes are an advantageous method to frame the learning of the child. This is when the child is exposed to the interest of a certain topic they wish to explore (Nurturing Early Learners. 2017).
An integrated approach is when the teacher facilitates the children’s ability to gather, explore and present their findings. This approach allows them to be engaged in a purposeful and relevant learning experience. This in turn will yield a deeper understanding of the specific topic through the activities planned by the teacher. Children are active learners when they can process and communicate their learning to others as they acquire new knowledge in the learning experience.
Vygotsky found that through the zone of proximal development, teachers can adopt the approach of scaffolding where they render their facilitation to children who have difficulties in completing certain tasks independently (as cited by Tan, Parsons, Hinson ; Brown, 2011).
Reflections and Examples of the First Principle IdentifiedThe first Principle identified in the Case Study has substantial reflections and examples to instances where Integrated Approach to Learning is taking place.
Firstly, Elisha was experienced in identifying the children’s interest. She developed a theme on colours and planned out various activities to extend children’s learning and competency in that area. She built on the children’s aesthetics and creative skills when she brought crayons and paper for the children to draw their own rainbow. She allowed the children to explore and learn the different colours that the rainbow consist of. Elisha took note of the particular colours the children showed interest in, such as indigo and violet. Over the next few weeks she planned several activities designed to allow the children to acquire knowledge on colours.
Elisha did not limit the activities indoor. Instead, she brought the children to the garden again to discover, talk about and name the colours. Subsequently, they did various painting and play-dough activities. In addition to extending their learning in colours, the children also developed fine motor skills as they work with the play-dough. Elisha was proficient in her pedagogical knowledge when she exposed the children to nature. Kellert (2005), noted that nature play is vital in enhancing children’s creativity, problem solving and cognitive abilities (as cited by Natural Learning Initiative, 2012). Elisha ascertains that it would strengthen their various development domains intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually and physically.
Thereafter, in the play supermarket, the children sorted vegetables and fruits. Numeracy skills were evident in the activity of sorting. This will further equip the children with extensive knowledge in colours and matching. The proficiency of language is also present when they can listen and identify various fruits and vegetables. Another activity that the children had in plan was to make costumes for Cinderella’s ball. By this activity the children would have been able to recognize colours and can choose their preferences to make the costumes.
Elisha also guided their learning by allowing the children to discover colours that can be generated by the process of mixing. She assisted the experiments of making the colour green from the mixture of blue and yellow. She widened their curiosity level when they were surprised and claimed they made magic. This activity will oscillate in their memory and allow the children to remember the different colours they can utilize to produce another colour.
Lastly, when Elisha introduced them to factual books illustrating patterns on animals’ coats and shared stories that included references to patterns, she was able to deepen their knowledge and emphasize that patterns not only exist in clothing. However, they are also found on the animal’s coats. This will stimulate their thinking in understanding that there are many different choices in where a certain topic or theme can be touched upon. It will develop their imagination where they will ponder where else can patterns be found (as cited by Hohmann & Weikart, 1995, p.39).
This will get the children intrigued and thence they might propose a new theme to explore on, when interest is made known. As such, learning is on-going and allows the teachers to be able to touch on themes that help build on the children’s knowledge.
Identification of Second iTeach PrincipleThe second key Principle that is reflected in Case Study 6 is: Teachers are Facilitators of Learning.
The principle exhibits the constant need of teachers scaffolding children’s learning needs based on their responsiveness on how the children learn, their interest and abilities. Teachers are required to be continuously observant and regulating the child’s learning and development. There are various factors to be considered when planning and executing children’s learning needs. Essentially, preparing the environment. Children learn through play, thus, it is vital to allow a provision of materials for meaningful play time that stimulates their thinking abilities. It is the role of a teacher to facilitate that every child has equal opportunities presented to experience learning through their divided needs and level of autonomy. Observational skills, attentive listening and allowing room for positive interaction during the children’s play time is required. Teachers can probe open-ended questions to provide children with the language advancement and vocabulary expanse.
Teachers as facilitators must be attentive in discovering “teachable moments” where the children are learning something new (Nurturing Early Learners. 2017). Provide suggestive methods that children can work on to deduce different ways on exploring a certain activity. The child will be able to present their own ideas in being receptive to suggestions given and, in this approach, the latter is able to garner their own time and space in venturing the materials. Thus, being motivated to learn in their own pace.
Focusing on the process rather than on the product helps extend the children’s play. Teachers should always build on children’s interests. Providing a change in new and varying materials in the learning centres can help children to build on their existing skills and make room for emerging skills to be developed. Pretend play is one of the most apparent forms where children enjoy most. Children can build on an extensive usage of language and vocabulary through their communication skills as they establish pretend play.
Reflections and Examples of the Second Principle IdentifiedThe second Principle identified in the Case Study supports the instance where the ‘Teachers are Facilitators of Learning’. This is when instead of conveying knowledge, Elisha the teacher assisted the children in facilitating time for the child to gain significant possibilities to observe and discover creative concepts in colours. Elisha made learning differentiated to cater to the needs of the children. She offered possibilities for children to connect with natural environment when they became intrinsically motivated as they took a walk in the garden and discussed on colours.
In addition, Elisha introduced interactive play through learning where they had opportunities for hands on experience to do sorting of vegetables and fruits in the play supermarket. This will help the children to think and analyze when they step into a real supermarket. The experiences they garner in their play will allow them to associate with the different fruits and vegetables and where they are placed in the supermarket. With various activities introducing colours when they worked with play-dough and painting, the children will be instilled with a creative mind when they are venturing into different colours. To further accentuate on the notion of allowing the children to associate with colours, Elisha guided an experimental activity where the children mixed colours and showed great pride when they were successful in getting the desired outcome. For instance, mixing of blue and yellow to form the colour of green and a mixture of red and yellow to form the colour orange.
Elisha demonstrated excellent understanding of being receptive to the needs of the children as she observed and recognized their interest in colours. She looked at ways she can work around the environment to further contribute to their learning. The following month, Elisha segregated different coloured areas to feature a character. This includes Blue Bird and Red the Fire Engine, with other objects in the matching colours.
Identification of Third iTeach PrincipleThe third key Principle that is reflected in Case Study 6 is: Authentic Learning through Quality Interactions.
Children learn best when there are ample opportunities presented to interact with materials, the physical environment and essentially people with regards to reality and relevance to them (as cited by Hohmann ; Weikart, 1995, p.29). Teachers can allow children to enhance knowledge when they engage in a plethora of quality interactions. This encompasses providing children with adequate time to ascertain their feelings and engaging in sustained conversations. There should be an array of open-ended questions, on-going communications between their peers and teachers where they are able to give deductions on how they can solve any complications during play. Teachers can facilitate cooperative learning strategies in maximizing the children’s interactions with others as they observe and provide constructive feedback when (as cited by Hohmann & Weikart, 1995, p.20).
Authentic learning is when learning is unstructured and designed in purposeful play where the children can assimilate real-world issues and applications. Teachers can ensure that the learning experiences reflect the intricacies and ambiguities of the physical world. It should instill authenticity in every activity the children embark on to establish problem-solving skills and build confidence as the children identify their individual suited learning capabilities (as cited by Hohmann & Weikart, 1995, p.34).
Substantially, authentic learning through quality interactions equips the children with skills-set in venturing into the real-world context where they are assured their learning is of relevance and has a substantial impact to their future and the world they live in. This key principle in the six iTeach principles is significantly beneficial as in our daily lives we face complex situations where we are required to be flexible, adapt to situations and find ways to resolve the issues. We are taught to do so as we are cultivated with the relevant knowledge that we are equipped with by tapping onto our experiences to anticipate on to the next steps (ACEL, 2016). Similarly, children can utilize this life skills they are competent in distinguishing between the real life and learning. Authenticity generally promotes retrospective experiences when children gain significant relevance and adopt anticipative engagement thus instilling meaningful learning.
Reflections and Examples of the Third Principle IdentifiedThe third Principle identified in the Case Study that can be deduced is when Elisha displayed competence in determining the various activities she can utilize to incorporate into the children’s learning. Elisha is ingrained to design the learning environment to further maximize the learning needs of the children as she can ensure the tasks she embarked on was able to integrate into the individual needs of each child and developmentally appropriate (as cited by Hohmann ; Weikart, 1995, p.37). She worked in the children’s interest and assessed their ability to match, name and select individual colours.
Elisha designed a dramatic play in the environment where the children were intrinsically delighted to be involved in a socks shop. In this authentic play through quality interaction, Elisha has deepened each child’s new social skills or practiced ones. Elisha was certain that through play, it will lead to further expanding the child’s development and calls forth various opportunities for emerging competencies to be explored or practiced. As a facilitator, Elisha engaged in the play with the children, providing the latter with the shift in asking or answering questions during play. She pretended to be the customer while she gave two children each day equal opportunities to play the role of a shopkeeper attending to customer’s queries. The learning that is taking place here is authentic where the children will begin to have the imagination of how they can make their own purchases when they step into shops. The children are shifting from exploration to imaginative play during this single role play. Language competence and social skills on how they engage with others can be recognized.
Elisha observed each child role played the role of a shop keeper and how they engaged in play realistically as they try to actively cater to the needs of the other children playing the role of customers. The children began to request for socks with particular patterns and combination of colours. This is when Elisha realized the need to introduce more materials as the children have been playing with the same kind of patterned socks. Elisha realized that the children attained the ability to ponder and request for other designs to probably entice their customers since they take turns to play the role of shop keeper and customers. The children can recognize the emotions as they engage in the play. When the children brought their own socks from home, Elisha noticed that this is when the children familiarized with the objects they were dramatizing with. Elisha understood the children are aware of the convention and are consistent in playing with it.
The children’s learning is ongoing as they can communicate to their parents or family members on their activities at school. Therefore, as word of mouth spread, parents and grandparents visited the shop to make purchases when they fetched and dropped off the children. The social interaction they fostered is integral as part of their social and emotional development.
The children need to learn relatedness that is vital to possessing optimal social development. Therefore, when the children authentically can relate to their peers, people and associate in the social context during play, their needs are being fulfilled to open another dimension of learning through play with quality interaction. Most importantly, in establishing a rapport with the children at play, it would allow them to feel valued and appreciated as they are aware of the support their teachers are able to render (as cited by Hohmann & Weikart, 1995, p.35-36).
ConclusionIn conclusion, as teachers, we play an imminent role as a facilitator to establish an atmosphere where learning can occur naturally and is conducive. There should be a provision of materials and facilities that guide the children. The six iTeach Principles allow teachers to adopt the approach and act as advocates to allow learning experiences to be fun and enriching.
When the teacher imitates the children’s actions and make variations to the activity, there is escalation to the quality of play and their performance. Elisha demonstrated the role of being a facilitator by being directly involved with the children. This way, some children who have not learned how to pretend play will adopt the approach Elisha undertake as she takes on the role of the customer first. Therefore, the child incorporates the role into the play.
Klein, Wirth, ; Linas (2004), believe that teachers’ focus should be on the process of play whereby learning can be extended and elaborated (as cited by Kostelnik et.al., 2012, p.213). They should observe the level of interest the children portray and is willing to participate in. Teachers can ensure consistency in ensuring the materials are always rotating so the children can generate much better learning (as cited by Kostelnik et.al., 2012, p.215). Elisha is competent in understanding the children’s interest as she suggested a theme to the class in setting up colour areas when they displayed enthusiasm in the activities relating to rainbow. In time to come, Elisha may also add a new prop such as apparels and introduce transactions with notes. There can be an activity where the children can design a “$2” note, so the children have authentic learning forthcoming when they utilize the notes they design to induce into the dramatic play. The children’s parents can also contribute to the dramatic corner to provide continuous learning by bringing used clothes to recycle in the classroom. This is one way where the effective communication and partnership between the teacher and parent may be fostered in the glimpse of supporting the child’s learning through authentic learning and quality interactions (Nurturing Early Learners. 2017).
When children are engaged in social play they are building on their curious nature and will manipulate ways to explore play in a pleasurable way. According to Hirsh-Pasek ; Golinkoff (2003), “children are in charge; children are calling the shots, setting up their own problems, (and) controlling their own learning” (as cited by Dana, Kathy ; Joyce, 2013, p.7).
ReferencesACEL. (2016). Authentic learning: what, why and how?. Retrieved on 12 May 2018, from http://www.acel.org.au/acel/ACEL_docs/Publications/e-Teaching/2016/e-Teaching_2016_10.pdf
Hohmann M., and Weikart D. P., (1995). Educating Young Children: Active Learning Practices for Preschool and Child Care Programs. High/Scope Educational Research Foundation. p.13-41. Retrieved on 12 May 2018, from http://trinitypreschoolsc.org/wp-content/uploads/Active_Learning_The_Way_Children_Construct_Knowledge-1.pdf
Klein T. P., Wirth D., Linas K., (2018). Play: Children’s context for development. p.28-34. Retrieved on 12 May 2018, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/234762304_Play_Children’s_Context_for_Development
Kostelnik M. J., Gregory K. M., Soderman A. K., Whiren A. P., (2012). Guiding Children’s Social Development and Learning. Wadsworth, United States of America: Cengage Learning
Miller D. L., Tichota K., White J., (2013). Young children’s authentic play in a nature explore classroom supports foundational learning. p.4-61. Retrieved on 12 May 2018, from https://dimensionsfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/youngchildrenauthenticplay.pdf
Ministry of Education. (2013). A curriculum for Kindergartens in Singapore. Nurturing Early Learners. p.5-97. Retrieved on 12 May 2018, from https://www.moe.gov.sg/docs/default-source/document/education/preschool/files/nel-edu-guide-overview.pdf
Natural Learning Initiative. (2012). Benefits of connecting children with nature. North Carolina State University. Retrieved on 12 May 2018, from https://naturalearning.org/sites/default/files/Benefits%20of%20Connecting%20Children%20with%20Nature_InfoSheet.pdf
Nurturing Early Learners. (2017). Authentic Learning Through Quality Interactions. Retrieved on 12 May 2018, from https://www.nel.sg/teaching-and-learning/iteach-principles/authentic-learning-through-quality interactions
Nurturing Early Learners. (2017). Integrated Approach to Learning. Retrieved on 12 May 2018, from https://www.nel.sg/teaching-and-learning/iteach-principles/integrated-approach-to-learning
Nurturing Early Learners. (2017). Teachers as Facilitators of Learning. Retrieved on 12 May 2018, from https://www.nel.sg/teaching-and-learning/iteach-principles/teachers-as-facilitators-of-learning
Tan O. S., Parsons R. D., Hinson S. L., Brown D. S., (2011). Educational Psychology. A Practitioner- Researcher Approach. Singapore: Cengage Learning Asia Pte Ltd
AppendixCase Study Six (6)
Elisha, the teacher, noted the children’s excitement and interest on the day they saw a rainbow in the garden. She immediately brought crayons and paper for the children. The children each drew their own rainbow as they observed it in the sky. She noted their interest in some of the names of the colours, especially indigo and violet. Over the next few weeks Elisha planned a number of experiences designed to help the children learn more about colours.
With Elisha’s assistance the children talked about and named colours as they walked in the garden, did various painting and play-dough activities, sorted vegetables and fruit in the play supermarket, and made costumes for Cinderella’s ball. They also experimented on mixing colours and declared that they had done ‘magic’ when they generated, under Elisha’s guidance, green from a mixture of blue and yellow, and orange from a mixture of red and yellow. As the month progressed Elisha set up colour areas in the room. Each area featured a character such as Blue Bird and Red the Fire Engine, as well as objects in the matching colours. During the following weeks she used a variety of tasks to assess the children’s ability to match, name and select individual colours. One of these involved a socks shop which the children enjoyed. Each day she asked two children to play the shopkeeper role. The customers (including Elisha) would ask for particular colours of socks. Elisha observed how each shopkeeper attended to the customers’ orders.
As the days progressed, she noticed that some children began to request for socks with particular patterns and combinations of colours, and not contented with the range on offer in the shop, they brought socks from home to the playgroup! A busy shop selling multi-coloured socks and socks with exotic designs was soon trading in the classroom. News spreads, and the children’s parents and grandparents visited the shop to make purchases as they dropped off and collected the children. Building on this, Elisha shared stories with the children that include references to patterns, and she introduced them to factual books which illustrate patterns on animals’ coats.