TEACHING & LEARNING with YOUNG CHILDREN MORE EFFECTIVELY
This is a distance learning course, concentrating on uses of the Internet for teaching, learning and professional development. It also is intended to give you enough web sites and leads-in to more web sites to be a continuously useful resource for your learning and doing.
This is a PASS/FAIL course. Therefore, SELECT and BASE YOUR WORK on those areas that best match your current interests. You can return any time to areas that match future concerns and changing interests--one of the many advantages of on-line learning
Assessment is based on work you produce in series of essays/listings for each Essential Question or topic you "connect with," and with an annotated list of sites supporting your views and reflecting your web work. Note the Rubric for Course Portfolio Assessment.
For instance, you might write “The site XXXX [http://www.xxx.com] gave me a different perspective on how to help students learn _____. It also cleared up for me something I was confused about, and that is what educators mean by __________.” Certainly you would want to elaborate more.
This work may be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or snail-mailed to me at Chad C. Osborne 923 W. Mission St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101. If you email the work, you may wish to put it in a Zip file, which compresses text and makes it easier to send over the 'Net.
Essential Question 1: Based on links from the sites below, develop a mission statement for a preschool or kindergarten program.
Characteristics of Kindergarten Children -- "Kindergarten children, no matter what their cultural and experiential background, have characteristics in common with other children of their age and characteristics that are particularly their own."
Play Is the Business of Kids -- "Young children do not learn in the same manner as older children do. Young children learn by actual contact with real objects, events, and people. (That's why field trips, outdoor play, and other exciting activities are so important.)"
101 Activities to Do With Your Toddler -- "...activities, songs, fingerplays, and more for children aged 1-3 years. These constructive activities help encourage motor development and eye-hand coordination, and they will promote mental and social growth. As if that weren't enough, they are also a lot of fun!! Most of these activities can be done at home with little or no expense." A great site to share with parents.
Essential Question 3: Based on links from the sites below, try to develop a realistic perspective on the difficulties and opportunities in child care. Suummarize this in a "letter to a young colleague" about the perils and possibilities of work in this field.
All In A Day's Work -- "... it is critical to be aware that your daily experiences on the job do have an effect on you and your family."
Infant Day Care: The Critical Issues -- "In March 1970, 24% of mothers with children under 2 years old were in the labor force. By March 1984, the figure was 46.8%...The crisis in day care is such that the choice of care is often determined by cost and availability, rather than quality.
What's New in Title I? -- "Major changes in a massive federal program provide fresh opportunities for school improvement."
Essential Question 4: Based on links from the sites below, where in the balance of an early childhood program would you put literacy learning, and what approaches and activities do you want to use with the children you are working with?.
Issues in Literacy Development -- "...the best available research and professional expertise to help teachers provide high-quality literacy instruction for students from kindergarten through Grade 8."
Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children -- On-line portions a book, extremely valuable in themselves; reinforces a balanced approach. From the Report: "Reading is essential to success in our society. The ability to read is highly valued and important for social and economic advancement. Of course, most children learn to read fairly well. In this report, we are most concerned with the large numbers of children in America whose educational careers are imperiled because they do not read well enough to ensure understanding and to meet the demands of an increasingly competitive economy. Current difficulties in reading largely originate from rising demands for literacy, not from declining absolute levels of literacy. In a technological society, the demands for higher literacy are ever increasing, creating more grievous consequences for those who fall short." " All members agreed that reading should be defined as a process of getting meaning from print, using knowledge about the written alphabet and about the sound structure of oral language for purposes of achieving understanding. All thus also agreed that early reading instruction should include direct teaching of information about sound-symbol relationships to children who do not know about them and that it must also maintain a focus on the communicative purposes and personal value of reading."
Kindergarten Classroom -- Thematic reading and math readiness activities for kindergarten science and social studies units. Technology connected lessons for each unit plus links to age appropriate sites.
Fact Sheet on the Importance of Reading to Infants and Young Children -- "Most parents know that it is nice to read to children every day, but are unaware of the newest discoveries in neuroscience showing that reading aloud actually stimulates the growth of a baby's brain. The AAP has put together a short list of citations to help adults understand that reading aloud to children is as important as fastening their seat belts and providing good nutrition."
Essential Question 5: Based on links from the sites below, where in the balance of an early childhood program would you put project approaches, and what projects do you find you want to try with the children you are working with?.
The Project Approach in Early Childhood -- Versatile site. "Both research and developments in education have recently led to instructional innovations designed to make the classroom into a learning environment which is more responsive to the varying learning needs and interests of individual children. For example, there is increasing curriculum integration: continuity between the children's learning in the different subjects. There is more opportunity to relate home and school learning. There is concern for memorable learning as well as memorized learning. Children are expected to work cooperatively on complex and open-ended tasks as well as follow instructions in step by step learning. The project approach provides one way to introduce a wider range of learning opportunities into the classroom."
Reggio Emilia: Its Visions and its Challenges For Educators in the United States -- "How can we ask teachers to collaborate with parents who are too busy to come to school meetings, to implement long-term projects in the face of growing curriculum demands, to acknowledge and respond to children's many symbolic languages in the face of pressures to emphasize formal academic skills, and to participate in ongoing professional development through the documentation and constant reexamination of their work with children when their contract says the workday ends at 3:15?"
Essential Question 6: Based on links from the sites below, how would you connect with and involve parents and families in early education? Consider both what teachers and schools can do as well as educating parents and families
Doing Science with Your Children -- "Experience and research show that young children are excited about science when they are given the chance to 'do' science. To give your children a firm foundation in science they should be encouraged to think about and interact with the world around them. Concrete experiences that require the use of children's senses, such as planting and watching a seed germinate, provide a strong framework for abstract thinking later in life."
I Want It My Way! -- "It is in the very early years that children develop their coping skills for how they handle conflict: fighting back, running away from the conflict, or problem-solving a win-win solution."
Using the Internet As a Teaching Tool -- "Pairing young children with buddies from another grade level may make the internet more accessible. The following sites are rich in information about using the internet as a teaching tool. Caution: young children should not spend inordinate amounts of time in front of a computer monitor when more meaningful learning occurs with real materials and peers."
Essential Question 8: Based on links from the sites below, in what ways might you assess your young students so as to foster learning and growth?
Young Children's Social Development: A Checklist -- "...the single best childhood predictor of adult adaptation is NOT IQ, NOT school grades, and NOT classroom behavior but, rather the adequacy with which the child gets along with other children."
WestEd Assessment -- Of the 10 Regional Educational Laboratories, WestEd has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education to provide national leadership in the area of assessment.
Performance Assessment in Early Childhood Education: The Work Sampling System -- "Group-administered tests focus on the acquisition of simple facts, low-level skills, superficial memorization, and isolated evidence of achievement. The tests hold great power, and that power can be abused. Of greatest concern is that they rob teachers of their sense of judgment about how to help children develop to their optimal potential."
Critical Issue: Assessing Young Children's Progress Appropriately -- "OVERVIEW: In recent years, teachers and administrators have recognized the problems unique to assessing young children. These problems arise from a combination of the developmental characteristics of 3- to 8-year-olds and the kind of curriculum that is appropriate in early childhood programs."