Subject: early childhood education: theory and practice
Associate Degree in Education (Early Childhood Education)
Introduction to Philosophical and Historical Foundations of Early
This course aims to help student teachers acquire the knowledge and skills to become sensitive and competent classroom practitioners, capable of creating appropriate and effective learning environments for young children. Student teachers will acquire knowledge and understanding of the early foundations of early childhood education and contemporary trends in early childhood curriculum practice. Key theories and perspectives of teaching and learning with particular emphasis on childhood studies, constructivist and developmentally appropriate approaches and strategies for teaching at the early childhood level will be carefully studied. Student teachers will be expected to reflect on the theories and their own beliefs and experiences of teaching and learning, with a view to developing a personal philosophy that is consistent with appropriate and best practices in early childhood education in Eastern Caribbean and global contexts.
Early Childhood Education in the Eastern Caribbean has been influenced by a variety of philosophical orientations. An understanding of these beginnings can help inform current practices. This course therefore aims to encourage student teachers to become reflective practitioners as they continually seek to identify and apply principles which can positively impact their teaching.
1. Gain a knowledge of the historical foundations and the theoretical and philosophical
principles of early childhood education that have influenced contemporary concepts
of developmentally appropriate practice
2. Understand the importance of early childhood education intervention programmes in
3. Develop an awareness of different early childhood programme models and current issues
4. Value the history, structure and development trends of the Eastern Caribbean early
5. Know the history of childhood and the social and cultural principals influencing how
childhood and children are viewed and how these variables influence the education of young children.
COURSE MODULES/UNITS: (detailed outlines attached)
Unit 1: Philosophical Foundations of Early Childhood Education (15 hours)
1. The concept and value of Early Childhood Education. 2. Philosophical influences and theoretical perspectives on Early Childhood Education. 3. Early Childhood Programme Approaches
Unit 2: Early Childhood Education in Eastern Caribbean
1. Development of ECE in the Eastern Caribbean. 2. Pioneers in Early Childhood Education in the Eastern Caribbean 3. Organizational structure of the Early Childhood system in Eastern 4. Current early childhood issues in Eastern Caribbean and the wider Caribbean.
Unit 3: Perspectives on Social and Cultural Influences in the Education of Young Children
1. Culturally Responsive Approaches to ECE 2. Teaching in an Increasingly Global and Multicultural Environment 3. The Role and Practices of Teachers in a Culturally Diverse ECE Environment
SCHEME OF ASSESSMENT:
50% of Course Grade (1 written paper + class activities /assignments) Examination:
50 % of Course Grade
Essa, Eva (2011). Introduction to Early Childhood Education, Annotated Student’s Edition (6th
2010 NAEYC Standards for Initial & Advanced Early Childhood Professional Preparation
Sian Williams & Leon Charles (2008): The experience of developing early childhood learning
goals and outcomes in the Caribbean and the implications for curriculum development and implementation, International Journal of Early Years Education
, 16:1, 17-29
Charles, L.D. and Williams, S. (2006) Early childhood education and care in the Caribbean
NAEYC (2009). Developmentally Appropriate Practices in Early Childhood Education
Tutors and student-teachers can locate and share other readings relevant to the course.
COURSE MODULES/UNITS DETAILS:
Philosophical Foundations of Early Childhood Education (ECE)
At the end of the unit student teachers should be able to: 1. Define the concept “early childhood” and justify the importance of Early Childhood
2. Demonstrate awareness and understanding of the historical roots and
theoretical/philosophical influences on Early Childhood Education
3. Share personal experiences of early childhood and compare personal beliefs with those of the
theorists/philosophers who influenced Early Childhood Education practices
4. Identify and discuss some implications of the different theories for teaching, learning,
5. Explain how views on Early Childhood Education have changed over the centuries 6. Describe different models of Early Childhood Education that have influenced practices in the
The Concept and Value of Early Childhood Education.
a. Definition of concepts: Early Childhood and Early Childhood Education.
b. Importance of Early Childhood Education to human and national development.
Brainstorm personal understandings of the concepts: Early Childhood Education.
Review and share related readings on the value/importance of Early Childhood
Reflect on and share personal memories of teachers who have had lasting influences
on your early personal development; analyze reasons for this.
Philosophical Influences and Theoretical Perspectives on Early Childhood
a. Definitions and concepts
i. What is a theory? A philosophy? A theoretical orientation/perspective.
ii. Influential People in the History of ECE
iii. Influential Theorists of Child Development
B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934)
Students prepare assigned relevant readings for class discussions Tutor-led lecture/discussions
Students brainstorm and share personal interpretations of the terms; compare with
Group presentations/panel discussions on the influential theorists and founding
Share/discuss personal early childhood experiences and write a reflective piece that
makes connections between your personal views and any of the theories on Early Childhood Education/ Development
Prepare a report on a selected theorist/philosopher/educator, outlining his/her
contribution and its impact on current early childhood classroom practices
Discuss the meaning of an “Eclectic Orientation” and provide examples Compare the views of these influential educators
Early Childhood Programme Approaches
High Scope/Reggio Emilia (Project Approach- cognitively oriented) - Vygotsky /
Bereiter-Engelmann (Behavioural - direct approach) - Skinner
Montessori programme (Not considered a theorist, but wide ranging ideas/techniques)
- Servol (Trinidad) - Eclectic Model (Jamaica).
Research internet web-sites for information on the different EC programme models.
View available video-tapes and print materials on the different models and discuss
their relevance/appropriateness in the Eastern Caribbean context.
During visits for the observation sessions, look for evidence of specific approaches;
discuss the appropriateness and/or effectiveness of the observed approaches in the particular setting.
Early Childhood Education in Eastern Caribbean
At the end of the unit student teachers should be able to: 1. Trace the significant milestone in the development of Early Childhood Education in the
Eastern Caribbean from the historical beginnings to the present
2. Identify important trends and issues in Early Childhood programming in the Eastern and
3. Outline the organizational structure of Early Childhood Development Units in the Eastern
4. Discuss the contribution of pioneers of Early Childhood Education in the Eastern Caribbean.
Development of ECE in the Eastern Caribbean.
Students work in small groups to research information on early contributors to early
childhood education development in the Eastern Caribbean
Prepare a poster presentation to highlight the contribution of local educators to early
childhood education development in the Eastern Caribbean
Develop and make presentation on a time line chart of significant milestones in the
development of the early childhood system in Eastern Caribbean
Pioneers in Early Childhood Education in the Eastern Caribbean
Invite resource persons to talk about Early Childhood as it developed in the Eastern
Conduct interviews with Early Childhood teachers who have been working in the
Organizational Structure of the Early Childhood System in the Eastern Caribbean
Gather information from relevant documents and interviews with Early Childhood
Officers, regarding current important developments in the early childhood system; present findings in class group discussions.
Look at CARICOM standards and compare them to what currently exist in Eastern
Discuss the differences between policies, frameworks, and standards
Current Early Childhood Issues in Eastern Caribbean and the Wider Caribbean.
a. Issues emerging from local research
b. Important contributions of institutions to the development of early childhood in the
Read at least one research/report on early childhood development and develop/discuss
a list of the significant findings from the research. Create a “Did You Know?” chart that highlights these findings.
Invite resource persons to talk about the early childhood issues emerging from local
Review and have class discussions on the Eastern Caribbean E.C Standards Policy
and Regulatory Framework relevant to early childhood development: “What are the implications of these documents?”
Perspectives on Social and Cultural Influences in the Education of Young
At the end of this unit student teachers should be able to 1. Demonstrate an awareness of the theoretical perspectives that undergird culturally responsive
and constructivist approaches to teaching in the ECE setting
2. Identify and discuss how learning environments can foster children’s active participation and
shape their social interactions by embracing their cultural backgrounds
3. Demonstrate through writing and discussion, appreciation for cultures that differ in important
respects from the student teacher’s own culture
4. Encourage the exploration of global, diversity and multicultural issues to enhance teaching
5. Analyze and critique the implications for teaching and learning within diverse and culturally
6. Understand how diversity in individual children’s growth patterns, strengths, interests, and
experiences can be utilized to design the appropriate curriculum and learning environment for each group of children.
7. Utilize culturally responsive pedagogical principles in the creation of strategies for class
environment, management, and instructional practices
Culturally Responsive Approaches To ECE
Review and share articles on culturally responsive pedagogy, multiculturalism, and
constructivist theoretical perspectives and approaches to teaching and learning in the ECE setting
Participate in small group discussions and activities focusing on how to create and
design culturally responsive and multicultural classroom settings for ECE contexts in the Eastern Caribbean
Observe ECE classrooms and look for examples of multiculturalism, diversity, and
other issues that will help inform your practice of culturally responsive pedagogy
Discuss your beliefs and understandings of creating multicultural/diverse learning
Analyze the influence which children’s developmental levels of cognition and
socialization have upon their awareness of human differences.
Teaching in an Increasingly Global and Multicultural Environment
Explore values and norm that reflect acceptance of cultural diversity in the ECE
Identify multicultural curricular goals and levels of implementation.
The Role and Practices of Teachers in a Culturally Diverse ECE Environment
Discuss and reflect on the role of the teacher in a culturally diverse ECE classroom Explore how to integrate a multicultural approach in curricular preparation and
30% for written paper and 20% for class exercises and/or activities.
1. Observe an ECE classroom. Describe the diversity among the students in the class (e.g.
cultural, ethnic, language, socio-economic).
2. Discuss the extent to which the teacher’s classroom practices exemplified any particular
philosophical / theoretical perspectives studied in the course.
3. Based on your understanding
of the philosophical, historical and theoretical perspectives on
teaching and learning in the ECE classroom, as well as on your own beliefs and perspectives, identify TWO (2) steps that can be taken to improve the quality of education offered in classrooms similar to the one observed to cater to the diversity observed.
Your paper should be NO MORE THAN
2000 words long.
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