The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) defines “early childhood” as occurring before the age of eight, and it is during this period that a child goes through the most rapid phase of growth and development. Early Childhood Education is fundamental to the development of a child and can significantly shape the later years of an individual's life.
Not all children will reach milestones at the same time, but during these years those delays (if any) can be detected and early intervention can be done. During these years children typically begin; to walk and talk, learn how to self regulate, imitate others, learn how to hold a bottle, learn to hold a spoon/fork, learn how to toilet train, learn how to share and make friends. Along the way some children are even able to read and write, count past 20 or higher, build elaborate block structures, and can independently carry out their own science experiments. Also, during the early childhood years many children are discovered to be gifted in the arts too. I believe it is very important that children in the early years of life spend as much time as humanly possible in environments that honor them as unique, vulnerable but capable people.
Our environments should be planned around the child during the early years to promote optimal growth for the child during these times. They should have an environment ; where they are free to explore using all 5 senses, and feel safe while exploring it on their level, allows for risk taking without fear of being punished and celebrates mistakes, one that fosters self confidence, non judgmental, and the ability for them to be authentic. I really do believe that if a child does not transition well from one plane of development to another it could immensely change the trajectory of that child's life, especially without emotional, physical support from an adult(s) during the early years. This may cause the child to lack in executive functioning skills that are needed for them to complete their adult life goals, or could even cause chronic illnesses. Early Childhood Education provides a way for all children to have positive experiences and outcomes, which every child should be granted.
When children are giving the proper environment along with playful learning experiences such as; painting, process art, crafts, listening to music, pretend play, setting up a lemonade stand, building with blocks, playing outdoors, or spending all afternoon playing with play doh they are given their ability to be creative, and natural problem solvers. When an early childcare educator shows interest in what they are interested in the child will be able to reveal themselves. The teacher can now document and plan developmentally appropriate lessons to deliver individualized learning goals for the child that are child led.
I believe that young children learn best during the early years when three things are combined. The first being when they have been able to form relationships that they can trust and are stable. Secondly, they learn through imitating the life of positive adults (parents, relatives, adult visitors to the homes, teachers, schools, childcare, community), and thirdly in social settings with their peers.
As a Family Childcare Educator my role is to foster a family centered program, and to promote social emotional intelligence and academic learning for all of my students. I make sure everyone feels like they belong in my classroom. One way I do this is during our meal of the day everyone helps prepare it, set the table, we talk ( I listen more so), and then we clean up. This time is special as all everyday lessons take place during this time and lessons in math, etiquette, language just emerge. My students and I plan tasks together, and plan projects. I often set out provocations to seek interest in our hands on interest centers. I listen and develop activities by what parents share with me that their child is showing interest at home. I document my students so that they can be assessed properly for giftedness, delays, or social emotional support. I stay committed to putting the child's best interest first, and will always acknowledge that my students are actually my teacher.
Outside of the classroom I take on the role as a resource person so that I can assist families in being able to find and obtain the resources they need whether it is for a family outing, clothes, or hardship. I know I can not help my students without helping their family. I am committed to continuing professional development so that I can always apply the best teaching practices. Lastly, I will advocate for early education so that my students, and their students can have the world I so vision to be in, which is high quality early childhood education programs that are accessible, and affordable for all.
- Family Childcare Educator