What is an Early Childhood Education Professional? Are we just considered to be babysitters?

The field of early childhood education professionals is extremely robust, from educators, directors, advocates to researchers and policy makers.  Our job as a community of professionals is to ensure each child has access and availability to all tools required to develop their social, mental, physical and intellectual development; all essentials skills needed to become productive citizens.

According to Berger (2012), a leading expert in childhood and adolescent development, there are three stages of human development: physical development and growth, mental and emotional development.  Most individuals consider early childhood to encompass the years of birth to five, however, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) defines early childhood years from birth to age eight.   This very organization establishes ideologies, policies and standards based on evidence based research to ensure each child develops and learns based on age appropriate practices (NAEYC, 2016).  It is these years’ ages zero through eight, which children go through a rapid development of learning and using motor skills, communication, thought processing, and learning about themselves, their ethnic backgrounds and their communities.

Let’s look at one specific skill set, communication which requires reading, writing, non-verbal and verbal commands.   We all understand the importance of being able to read and write.  Did you know that more than one-third of our nation’s fourth graders cannot read at the basic level (National Institute for Literacy, 2008)?  With the assistance of researchers, parents and educators we can identify plausible causes for this defect and come up with viable solutions to erase literacy issues among our youth.  The better prepared they are for middle and high school, the better prepared we send them into the world for career or college opportunities.

So the answer to the question, are we babysitters, is that it is plausible we are two percent of the time.  The other ninety eight percent is tasked in ensuring our children have a safe, peaceful environment in which to learn, play and grow.

 

References

Berger, K.S. (2012). The developing person through childhood (6 Ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC, 2016).  About NAEYC.  Retrieved from http://naeyc.org/content/about-naeyc

National Institute for Literacy (2008).  Developing early literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel. A scientific synthesis of early literacy development and implication for intervention.  Retrieved from http://familieslearning.org/NELP/pdf/NELP%20Report.pdf

2 thoughts on “What is an Early Childhood Education Professional? Are we just considered to be babysitters?

  1. Hi Lisa:
    Great post. We need to make sure our students are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow so we can remain competitive on the global stage.
    Hilda

  2. Hi Melissa:
    Read and enjoyed your post. You brought up curriculum in your post, and I just wanted to share that I have a master’s degree in curriculum, assessment and instruction.
    Young children can seem like sponges sometimes. They learn quickly and are often filled with curiosity about the world around them. Schools and daycare centers that work with the youngest of children have a unique opportunity to guide students and families toward a lifetime filled with a love for learning. Curriculum is an important part of this process. Curriculum is everything that students learn. It can be implicit or explicit, planned for or spontaneous.
    I also wanted to touch on technology, since I believe that technology integration into the curriculum is one of the best ways for students of all learning preferences can learn, plus it makes learning fun, motivating, and students are able to retain the information for future reference.
    Many experts believe that computers are developmentally appropriate for children over three years old (Haugland, 1999; NAEYC, 1996). Children this age are developmentally within Piaget’s preoperational stage. This means they are concrete learners who are very interested in using newly acquired symbolic representation—speaking, writing, drawing, and numbers—in a variety of new, creative ways. Furthermore, children this age are extremely active and mobile. They often have difficulty sitting still; they need constant change in learning modalities; and they need physical experiences involving dance, physical play, climbing, and sports. Preoperational children are also continuing their mastery of language and exploring various facets of social behavior (Wardle, nd).
    The secret to integrating technology in the early childhood classroom is to view technology as just another tool and another kind of material to teach specific skills and concepts. It must not be a goal in and of itself. Use of technology in the classroom is intended to expand, enrich, implement, individualize, differentiate, and extend the overall curriculum.

    Haugland, SW. (1999). What role should technology play in young children’s learning? Young Children, 54 (9), 26-30.

    Wardle, F. (nd). The role of technology in early childhood programs. Early Childhood News.

    Thanks for sharing, and I hope you enjoy your evening
    Hilda

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s