Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My philosophy on Early Childhood Education

It has been so fun getting back into school this past semester. It felt really good to stimulate and stretch my brain. I learned so much this semester from not only my class but from a seminar I attended. In February I got the pleasure of seeing Lisa Murphy aka The Ooey Gooey Lady She changed my life and views about early childhood ed forever! I sat entranced and listened to her for the half day workshop. What she said and talked about made so much sense to me. Basically it boils down to this- PLAY IS THE FOUNDATION OF HIGHER EDUCATION~ That's right. If we look at education as a "house", play is the foundation. Simple huh? I thought so. You see kids are not getting enough play time these days. Back in the 70's and 80's when I was growing up, this occurred naturally. Kids were out in the neighborhoods playing , making messes, taking risks ( I can remember doing things on my jungle gym that would have scared my mother to death), playing games of kickball, getting in arguments and making up WITHOUT any adult intervention, exploring in areas we shouldn't have been ( my neighbors house while it was being built was the coolest play area), being creative and exercising our brains by using our imaginations. There is so much we learned by doing all these things. Sadly, today's kids are not given the same opportunities. Parents are to guarded and paranoid about their children getting hurt to let them run around the neighborhood ( with good justification- there are a lot of creeps out there these days). We are also to worried about getting them ready for college in PRESCHOOL! How absurd is that? How absurd is it that there are programs out there that teach your BABY to read? Why do babies need to read????? How unfortunate is it that kids in Preschool are sitting and doing worksheets?? Kids learn by playing not by memorizing . Yes kids have great memories and are good at memorizing things but are they really LEARNING anything. Does it really matter if they are memorizing things about Africa by singing songs if Africa has no relevance to them? It is just an abstract concept unless they EXPERIENCE it.I feel it is my job as a parent / teacher to give the children I am with as many REAL experiences as possible. Children need to experience it in order to place hooks on it and attach vocabulary to it. If you are teaching kids in Arizona about snow and they have never seen or experienced snow YOU ARE WASTING YOUR TIME! I have been and am even now more diligent about giving Aidan as many life experiences as possible. I feel this is how he is going to learn best.

These days adults are rushing children to grow up. We are rushing them to learn their alphabet, shapes, numbers, etc.... I am guilty of this. Although I dont use "drill and kill" with flashcards, through play Aidan does know his alphabet, numbers, shapes, etc... Kids are getting stressed out and burned out as early as the 5th grade. I feel it is because they have been reading since they were 3 and we are taking away their recess in order to get in more "academic time"! They aren't given the time to play, explore, get dirty, make messes,create and build the foundation of their "academic house" when they were in preschool therefore their houses are crumbling. When kids are at home, many of them are playing video games or watching tv so they aren't able to build their foundation at home either.

Children are naturally curious creatures. I feel it is my job as a mom/teacher to feed their curiosity. If a child is taking a particular interest in something ( like trains for example) I feel it is my job to give them as many experiences and teach them as much as I can about trains. This is known as "child centered" education. I also feel it is my job to provide lots of different things in order to peak their curiosity. Some things they will want to learn about and some they will not. Some they may not be interested in now by might be next week.

There is more and I could go on and on but feel like I have rambled enough. This is something I am very passionate about and I really thank Lisa Murphy for opening my eyes.

1 comment:

Rhonda said...

Very well said. Children need to be children. Aidan is a very lucky little boy to have you as his Mama.
Rhonda (Amelia's MaMia)