Monday, 24 September 2018

Techniques for Early Childhood Stimulation

Many people believe there is nothing significant that happens during early childhood, which makes a difference later in life. This is not true as many studies have findings, which suggest otherwise.

Professionals define early childhood as the stage between years one to five – from toddlers to pre-school children. Early childhood development happens very fast and it is recognized widely as important in constructing the base for future education and learning: it addresses the optimal development of cognitive, social, and motor skills required for managing the demands of kindergarten and pre-school education.

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Numerous practical techniques can help in early childhood stimulation, promoting development of intellectual and physical skills in children. Practically all methods of intellectual or sensory maturation make use of some kind of stimulation, based upon the perception our five senses.

A very effective technique involves stimulating visual senses in different ways. Hearing or audio stimulation is also an extremely powerful method, utilized during early childhood that can help attain significant results.

The five senses

Among all the theories that are predominant when it comes to intellectual learning and development, the one pertaining to multiple intelligences has extensive application. Teachers who wish to promote or accelerate sensory and mental development can depend on using play and games. For instance, the use of touch for giving children experience with a range of temperatures or textures is a safe and simple way of stimulating the sensory experiences of a child.

Techniques for audio stimulation

Professionals who teach young children can utilize noisemakers for activating the audio senses. Recordings of sounds of nature or environment are effective for stimulation when played. Another technique used frequently for neural stimulation involves playing specific music selections.

This is done when the little one is busy with other things, or even during naptime. Select classics of Brahms, Beethoven, and Mozart in particular are often used for this purpose. Music helps relaxation, and at the same time, it activates several areas within the child’s brain.

Surprisingly, smooth vocals are outstanding auditory stimulants for children in numerous situations.

Sensory stimulation

All the aforementioned techniques can easily be used for effective early childhood development through stimulation in pre-school children. Exposure to such stimulation helps the child’s brain to develop properly and much faster in comparison to children who have had no stimulation. This form of early childhood stimulation can offer the child an advantage over kids of the same level or age.

Early-developed kids ultimately perform better academically in school, and network well with siblings, peers, and parents. They are happier too, and more adjusted as per studies. Teachers at the primary and pre-school levels have observed as well greater levels of educational and social integration among those who have had certain kind of stimulation of early childhood development.

Teachers should be sharp and resourceful enough to promote the best development during the formative years of early childhood. They need to choose wisely suitable activities, as mentioned above, to ensure that children’s minds are always exposed to stimulation through age-appropriate challenges.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

5 Educational Careers: Take your Pick

If there is any career you can count on as fulfilling, it is taking up a job in the education field. Although every industry is vulnerable to financial blues, education has been a stable one for career longevity, stability, and growth. However, are there options available within this industry? Numerous options are available of course that can fit different personalities. Five such possibilities are listed below.

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Early childhood education teacher

If you are good at handling very young kids, the career of an early childhood education (ECE) teacher is the right option for you.

There are so many parents who start early with their children's education; that means there are amazing opportunities for ECE teachers. In fact, there is an expected growth of 19% this year in this particular career. The job implies not only a steady income, but also an opportunity to assist in developing and shaping the education of young kids.

School counselor

If you love helping people, the job of a school counselor is a good career option for you.

Most teachers are busy always with children in the classroom, or grading papers, or developing lesson plans. A school counselor is someone students can turn to if they have problems with peers, in school, or at their home. School counselors play an active role in developing the right programming, evaluating students’ progress, and guiding students when the right things are not happening in school or at home.

School administrator

You are best suited to become a school administrator, if you prefer a leadership role.

There is a lot more to schools than simply preparing ABC's and report cards. A special team of people called school administrators runs the entire show – from hiring teachers to development of educational policies to ensuring security and safety of school. If you have a passion for promoting school education by handling administrative jobs, this is the right career for you.

Special education teacher

If you are inclined towards helping children with special needs, you can become a special education teacher.

Medical breakthroughs and advancements have enabled educators and doctors to diagnose learning disabilities a lot earlier now than during the past. This ensures that students have the help they require from the very early stages. It drives progressively the requirement for teachers dealing in special education. Special education teachers help students who have developmental, mental, emotional and physical challenges with normal learning and doing well in school.

Vocational teacher

If your area of interest is professional skills, you can become a vocational education teacher.

Vocational teachers handle a range of different subjects relating to professional skills – from marketing and business to health and personal finance. They give students the tools and the skills they require for jobs or to start their new business, run health services, seek positions in the corporate sector, etc.

Preparing for a career in education is not such a difficult proposition for anyone. Whether you require an Associate's degree or wish to build a resume by taking up a Master's degree, you can easily pursue online everything you want. A major plus factor is the control over and flexibility of your customized schedule that ensures a degree you want.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Building a Career with a Degree in Early Childhood Education

The higher your education, the greater will be your career opportunities. There are several reasons why you should acquire a postgraduate degree in early childhood education. Above all, it helps you understand the intricacies of how young children learn to learn in comparison to other age groups.  The major benefits of a Master’s degree are listed below.

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Greater educational level

It is obvious that a Master's program is higher than a bachelor's. The more crucial aspect is the comprehensiveness of the curriculum of the program; it focuses sharply and deeply on family engagement, child psychology, and other vital related areas.

Working for a Master's degree in early childhood education will expose you to more effective teaching methodologies. You will thus be able to deal with career-specific situations at every stage.

Better career prospects

Most supervisory jobs require a Master’s degree. Such a degree in early childhood education opens many doors to enhance your educational career prospects much further. You may even get opportunities in areas that are outside the field of education, including social work.

Another career choice is government work, such as being part of making educational policies, and the like. Bachelor’s degrees and associate’s degrees are a great step forward and are certainly an excellent starting point. However, Master's is a ‘must’ if you want to scale higher in your career.

Larger variety of options

A degree in early childhood education not only expands your career opportunities, but also makes a big difference in what you do with these prospects. For many educators, it may mean branching out to other areas, such as home schooling children, special education or working within the administration.

Moreover, in a highly competitive scenario, having a master’s degree can offer you a larger variety of options, in comparison to those of your colleagues who do not have one.

Higher range of salary

As per the data available, those who have a bachelor’s or an associate’s degree can earn approximately USD 23,000 to 40,000 annually. In contrast, those with a Master's degree can expect to earn an annual salary of more than USD 60,000.

Since early childhood education is a specialty, it offers several incentives as well. You may not get incentives if you are working for a private school. However, the public education sector has a salary ladder, which states specifically that a graduate degree can enhance your annual salary.

Wider transmission of knowledge

One of the most frequently cited advantages of getting a Master's in early childhood education is the breadth and depth of the knowledge of education that goes with the degree. An educator with a Master’s has a very fulfilling opportunity of transmission to the pupils of the benefits of this in-depth knowledge of education in numerous areas. The strategies, techniques and classroom activities based on the insights of the program will mean a lot to the young kids in shaping their lives.

Many reputed online colleges do offer degrees in early childhood education. It would be best to get in touch with such a college for further details you may need.

Friday, 22 June 2018

The Difference a Teacher can make in Early Childhood Education

Research studies have shown that children draw immense benefit from quality early childhood education; also, their immediate loved ones in particular, and the society at large benefit a lot. Early childhood education can help the little ones in learning vital skills that will make them happy, strong, and successful throughout their life.

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What a child learns through ECE

ECE helps a child in the following:
  1. Making new friends and forming bonds
  2. Playing and exploring
  3. Asking questions and having a say
  4. Learning to relate to other children
  5. Thinking and solving problems
  6. Taking turns, sharing and negotiating
  7. Being sympathetic towards others
  8. Learning how to manage disagreements
  9. Learning about numbers, words, and how things can work
  10. Having conversations
  11. Understanding the complexities of the world
  12. Dancing, painting, creating music, playing roles, and dressing up in order to develop imagination and creativity
  13. Understanding concepts of maths through number play, puzzles, and counting games
  14. Learning science concepts through preparing simple food, caring for animals and plants
Children exposed to quality ECE are more likely to remain curious, confident and creative and develop a positive attitude towards people and the world around them; this will assist them in doing better when they reach school and later when they become adults.

A teacher’s crucial role in early childhood education

Preschool kids belong to an age group that is highly excited about everything around. They are exposed to a world of new experiences hitherto unknown and pristine. They have imaginative playtime, dance, music and lots of socialization with teachers and kids. They have many more opportunities to develop their potentials in different spheres. A conscientious teacher who gives quality time to preschool kids becomes soon a role model and an object of veneration.

Learning takes place at all times and places: the affectionate bond of children with everyone can fire the teacher to lay for them a strong and inquisitive learning foundation. Inspirational early childhood education teachers and educators assist the children tirelessly to relax and feel comfortable in a group and

1) undergo any experience with spontaneity and openness

2) develop the spirit of learning through adventure and discovery

3) establish priorities

4) make connections across place and time

5) develop various types of relationships

6) understand various points of view.

ECE teachers interact regularly with parents about their children’s abilities, interests and progresses made, and get them involved in making the right decisions about their children.

Here are a few more things ECE professionals can do to get the parents involved: 

  1. Share news about the things that happened in the class.
  2. Send parents letters of appreciation of children’s achievements.
  3. Give children tasks to be completed at home with the help of parents.
  4. Share photographs of children’s special people on display boards to make them feel more involved.
Teacher activities such as the ones listed above go a long way in shaping the future of kids. They remain etched permanently in their memory and keep them going strong; that is what is so special about preschool education.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Effects of Trauma and Stress on Early Childhood Education

Stress and trauma can affect the normal functioning of the human brain. That can have a major adverse impact on learning, thereby creating behavioral issues, and even triggering a phase of violence. Poverty, insecurity, and instability at home or in the community around are a few of the factors that cause brain-damaging stress for children.

It may lead ultimately to a great deal of violence. Making those kids understand the impact of trauma can help them in realizing their emotional needs and faring well in their schooling. The outcomes of childhood trauma can be a lot deeper, especially in early childhood education.

Those small kids who have suffered from emotional trauma can have gaps in their intellectual abilities. They may find it hard to focus on simple tasks. Apart from this, they may lose proper memory function. They may be given to fits of anger or terror. Trauma can have lasting consequences on their developing brain.

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Anxiety state: fight or flight response

Kids who suffer trauma for long may live constantly in a ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ mode. Their stress hormones keep flowing all the time. In other words, these young children may get triggered by minor things such as a loud noise, or difficulty in understanding a simple project or a group assignment.

They may relive an intense emotion linked to a truly terrifying event. Findings show that any kind of trauma can affect both the chemistry and structure of a kid’s brain. Anxiety and fear over a period can affect a child’s brain development, often leaving a deep cut.

Learning and memory function

Because of extremities of the fight or flight response of kids, the memory and learning centers of their brain are turned down. When the main task of their brain is to manage fear and anger and produce a feeling of security, how can there be normal development of their brain?

Thus, kids can become often disengaged, forgetful, or have a hard time concentrating on the tasks given. With time, such adverse effects may leave a permanent scar on their brain. They will find it more and more difficult to learn as they need to ‘fight’ constantly for ‘survival’. Real life traumatic events at home or in the community around do harm particularly a kid’s ability to learn in the short and long terms.

Traumatic events can keep the brain in an extremely intensified ever-alert-and-aware state. They activate the limbic system and attack the brain with cortisol, a stress hormone. Excessive cortisol can be toxic to the brain and it damages mainly the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Such brain areas relate directly to executive function and memory.

Counselors and teachers in the field of early childhood education should help the traumatized kids grapple with th­­eir traumatic experience. The kids should forget it altogether and come out of it as early as possible to understand better needs of their schooling. They must feel sufficiently confident and motivated to strive, learn, and thrive.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Basic Steps in Designing a Preschool Curriculum

Designing an excellent preschool curriculum is extremely important for an early childhood education professional. It would create an environment that puts children in the right path ensuring a positive academic attitude and overall development. Moreover, it helps teachers love their job even more!

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Create a written framework

A written framework must list all the vital elements of the preschool education in relation to the early learning standards of the state. Updating the framework every year incorporates latest research and techniques into the curriculum.

While developing the structure, write down what you wish to achieve with the children. Define clearly all the early learning goals for the entire preschool program and take in relevant research findings, pertaining to childhood development.

The framework must work as a solid guideline and specify well-defined simple to complicated teaching methods, learner skills to be developed, intentional play, teacher attitude, and elements that promote essential social skills. The structure must also include evaluation procedures to measure learner progress. 

Define the teacher role

A very significant part of developing a written framework is defining the teacher role. It is the teacher who is responsible for: following age-appropriate teaching strategies; achieving engaging classroom interaction; inspiring learning on the part of the kids.

Parental, societal and governmental inputs and expectations go a long way in syllabus design, preparation of teaching/learning materials, formulation of teaching-learning strategies and techniques and evaluation procedures. Teachers have a definitive role to play in all these segments of the curriculum.

Identifying learner activities

Different kinds of learner activities have different objectives. Playing games aims at participation in fun activities – sharing, laughing, enjoying and relaxing. Small and whole group activities can promote social, emotional and psychological development. Art activities inspire kids in developing creativity and individuality. A right mix of all these activities facilitates all round development.

Creating appropriate learning environment

Kids are highly impressionable and easily affected by things and people around them. The preschoolers must therefore have a well thought out and secure learning atmosphere. Caring and responsive adults should recognize, respect and nurture their curiosity, creativity and individuality, and allow them to explore and learn on their own.

Room scheduling and structure, both outdoor and indoor activities, materials and supplies considered age-appropriate, interesting displays, alternative seating etc. are all factors that enrich learning environment.

A few more tips

Once the base of the curriculum framework is complete, professionals can work towards planning individual lesson plans. Present preschool education trends aim for an all-inclusive approach in respect of the following key areas.

  1. Literacy
  2. Language development, especially sounds and simple vocabulary of the language
  3. Basic numeracy
  4. Social studies
  5. Science
  6. Art
  7. Physical development
  8. Social development
  9. Culture development
The aim of designing a strong preschool curriculum is to foster genuine love for learning in kids. In order to accomplish this, the kids must be able to feel at home all the time. All the teaching-learning objectives must always be achieved through stimulating fun way activities.

When the curriculum designers are clear about this general goal, the kids are sure to find the journey of learning quite enticing and highly enjoyable!

Friday, 23 March 2018

Personality Types and Learning Styles

Educators have observed a strong relationship between learning styles and personality types of learners. The basic insight is that the personality type of the learner determines the learning process.

Carl Jung, the Swiss pychiatrist and psychoanalyst, originally proposed the foundational theory of psychological types. Drawing largely from Jung’s theory, Isabel Briggs Myers (daughter) and Catherine Briggs (mother) developed subsequently the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

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The application of the MBTI as an instrument has led to several insightful studies in the field of education. The findings of these studies authenticate that personality does affect the style not only of learning but also of teaching.

Jung’s oppositions

We believe that the behavior of every person seems to be idiosyncratic, vastly different from that of every other. Jung’s theory proposes that the converse is true: a clear order and pattern underlie such seemingly arbitrary variations in behavior.

People can indeed be categorized into a certain number of psychological types based on three sets of their preferences of bipolar behavioral oppositions. They are the following:

1 Extroversion (E) v. Introversion (I)

You may choose to concentrate on the outer world around you, or you may zoom in on your own inner world. If your preference is the former, you are an extrovert; if it is the latter, you are an introvert.

2 Sensing (S) v. Intuition (N)

Your preference may be to receive the basic information as it is, or you may examine the information received and look for an insight. The former is sensing and the latter, intuition.

3 Thinking (T) v. Feeling (F)

In matters of decisions, your preference may be to focus first on the underlying logic and coherence, or to study first the people and specific circumstances given. This opposition is labeled Thinking or Feeling.

4 Judging (J) v. Perceiving (P)

Jung proposed further that one of the functions above is dominant – maybe a function of judging or of perception. Briggs-Myers considered this relationship a fourth opposition that influences personality type.

Arriving at personality types

It is possible to arrive at sixteen different personality types by permuting the preferences in the four sets of oppositions given above. Each of the sixteen personality types can be identified with an acronym of four letters that correspond to the combination of preferences.

For example, Introversion + Intuition + Feeling + Judging give rise to the personality type INFJ; ESTP indicates the type Exroversion + Sensing + Thinking + Perceiving, and so on.

Personality types and learning styles

The application of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator in the field of education has enabled a much better understanding of why there are diverse teaching and learning styles.

The findings of several original research studies with the help of the MBTI instrument on college and school students have led to much better teacher-learner communication, and much enhanced quality learning.

Online educators have greater awareness of the individual learning styles and demands of online learners. They do cater to the specific needs of the students.

Students on their part do not have to be concerned about the differences they find among themselves, as far as their individual learning styles and the outcomes at a point are concerned.

With a heartening understanding of the personality type, a learner can have greater motivation, follow helpful learning strategies and achieve satisfying performance levels.

In the past decade, e-learning opportunities have grown exponentially, particularly in the field of early childhood education, thanks to the concept of personality types.