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Principles and Approaches to Early Childhood Education

 Learning brings together cognitive, emotional and environmental influences

 Learning Theories have 2 chief values: 1) providing us w vocab and conceptual framework for exs we
encounter and 2) suggests where to look for solutions to practical problems

Maria Montessori – allowed children to be unassisted – “learning is a natural, self directed process”. Adults
need to only create the environment which should be specific to observation, sufficient prep and indiv
liberty. Kids must pursue all of the indiv intelligences: kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, spatial,
intrapersonal, intuitive, linguistic and logical.

See List page 4 of her basic Montessori Principles

Friedrich Froebel – father of Kindergarten – believed in Play for all kids – “learning through activity” –
teacher is a guide not a lecturer. His “GIFTS” had physical appearance and also a hidden fundamental

See pg 7 for KG definition

PIAGET”S Cognitive Devt in Stages:

1)Sensory Motor
2) Preoperational
3) Concrete Operational
4) Formal Operational

John Dewey – “Education is Life Itself” – kids should be involved in life’s real activities
“Progressive and Experiential education”

Malaguzzi and the “Reggio Emilia” approach – alt educ, teaching kids through strong sense of community –
created for municipal schools – kids should be inquisitive and good communicators – best schools in world in
early 1990s – “constructivist theory” – learning by doing and based on child’s own interests. Teachers do not
provide structured learning but only focus on what the kid enjoys. Parents are encouraged to help kids with
HW and school functions. Few exams. Kids should focus on how to use practically what they have learned.
Atelierista – helps kids express ideas and Pedagogista – harnesses all teachers together. Cooperation –
Collaboration – Co-construction

Waldorf System – Dev by Rudolph Steiner 1919 – an art that educates the whole child – no testing, acad
placement, rather creating lifelong learners.

Project Method- most impo given to student’s POV – learning by doing, inde thinking, confidence, give back
to society. Done outside the classroom.

See page 20 for steps to prepare a project

Thematic Approach – Integrated Curriculum – Piaget and Vygotsky were supporters. Constructivist- that
knowledge is built in a slow, continual flow as child matures and w their observations. Vygotsky said “more
impo to teach child how to think than to impart knowledge”. Process of linking and integrating multiple
elements of a curriculum in an ongoing exploration of many different aspects of learning. Theme, teacher’s
role, grp exploration, integration of theme w learning ctrs and building and maintaining spirit and
enthusiasm. See pg 33 for thematic project approach

VIDEO 1 – Lesson Planning:

Lesson Planning must have:

1) Definite Language Point (focus)
2) Games and activities
3) Lesson shd have a purpose and build on known language (past lessons)
4) Predictions for any potential problems during class time
5) Try to follow same pattern for your lessons

VIDEO 2- Atmosphere and Environment

2) Body Language
3)Songs and Dance
4) Get to know the students/names
5) Eye contact
6) Positive praise
7) Get on their level physically
8) Tone of speech
9) Rate of speech

VIDEO 3 - Classroom Management – Mixed and Large Groups

Large Classrooms
1) Group Activities - (can visit smaller groups easily than individuals)
2) Peer correction of papers
3) Set up “Question Time” (either before/after class or in class) – email WA access???????

Mixed Level Classrooms (combo of weaker/stronger students, esp linguistically)

1) Make lesson plan to target the MIDDLE
2) Pair stronger with weaker students (monitor that stronger student doesn’t do all the work)
3) Lots of positive praise to weaker students
4) Extra worksheets for advanced students (maybe for extra credit points)
5) Extra tasks (for younger learners, give task around room – eg erase board, put things away, etc)


Differences between Adult and Young Learners


Autonomous and self directed Dependent on instructor
Learn best through audio/visual Learn best through five senses
Should be involved actively in learning process
Help them connect past and future
Ability to focus Short attention span for graded activities
Can understand abstract concepts Need concrete concepts
Are attending school voluntarily Are attending school by parent/govt will
Relevancy-oriented(learning should be tied)
Learn slower Learn faster
Don’t reference theories to adults, rather simple
Concepts -reduce stress levels early
Intrinsically motivated Need extrinsic motivation

Common Learning Styles for Each Type of Learner

Concrete – Learners use active means of processing info

Analytical – Learners prefer logical and systematic presentation of info
Communicative – Learners prefer social approach
Authority Oriented – learners prefer teacher’s authority (young comfortable with discipline – adults prefer authority
of content) - ????????

Tips for Teaching Young Learners

1)Organization – 5-10 minutes per activity for young kids
2)Alternate between active and quiet activities
3)Variation – use games that include talking, listening, looking, moving and add in reading and
4)Routine – kids like knowing logistical processes and can be prepared – create a “sign in” or signal
(eg clapping) when kids know that activity is over and they need to return to their desks
5) Be nurturing, say positive about each child daily

Jean Piaget and Series of Cognitive Devt in Kids

0-24 months – Sensory Motor Stage – cause/effect in their envt
2-7 years – Pre Operational Stage – “Symbolic function” – kids learn to understand, use and
manipulate symbols/concepts - drawing, language, mental imagery, numbers, classification and
basic order and time
7-11 years – Concrete Operational Stage – kids begin to use mental operations and acquire the
concept of “conservation” ???????
11- onward – Formal Operational Stage – kids begin to deal with abstract concepts, propositions,
hypotheses, inferences and deductions

Developmental Stages – Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Social

 See benchmarks for all on grids, pgs 12-15
 See categories/names for each age group – pg 15

VIDEO – Cognitive Development Theory

-Child’s mental devt from 0-11

Different Stages of Young Learners by Jean Piaget = Cognitive Theory

4 Stages: Sensory, Pre-Op, Concrete, Formal Op

1) Sensory – divided into 6 stages – see video @ 1.32

a)Simple Reflex – 0-30 days – sucking
b)First Habit – sucking thumb – 0-4 months
c)Secondary Circular Reaction – 4-11mos – accidental touching of things/environmental
exploration – touches rattle by accident
d)Coordination of Secondary Circular Reaction – 8-12 mos – wants to intentionally touch
rattle, eg, with a stick, explore
e)Tertiary Circular Reaction – 12-18 mos – child explores and is curious with many things
f)Internalization of Schemes –

2) Pre-Op Stage – 18 mo- 7 yrs – Use language, memory/imagination, not logical, more ego
3) Concrete Operational Stage – 7-11 yrs – abstract thinking emerges – logic
4) Formal Op Stage – 11yrs onward - even more abstract, advanced thinking with alternate

VIDEO – Atmosphere and Environment for Young Learners

1) Home
2) Social
3) School/Classroom
a. Visual – should not be overwhelming, should be colourful, should replicate outside
world, teacher should act as a bridge bt two, child should feel safe, happy and
b. Auditory – songs, instructions from teacher, songs should be repetitive, relatable, fun
c. Integrated – apparatus replicas from outside world inside classroom – encourages
them to build gross and fine motor skills, cognitive thinking, socialization and
independence (teacher plays v impo role here)
d. Emotional – build confidence, sense of belonging, part of group, teacher,

*An effective environment means that kids should come away independent, confident, socialized


Lesson Planning and Instructional Strategies

Lesson plan – a teacher’s detailed description of the course of instruction for an individual lesson. Planning is more
difficult than delivering bc you must look at the curriculum standards, developing content to match it and teaching
kids uniquely as well.

When planning a lesson:

 Subject title of lesson
 Date
 Class

 Topic
 Context
 Learning objectives
 Resources
 Activities
 Differentiation
 Contribute to core skills (ie numeracy, literacy, etc.)
 Homework
 Confidential info

Developing a Lesson Plan

1. Title of plan
2. Time it will take to complete it
3. List of required materials
4. List of objectives (behavioural – what student can do at completion or knowledge –
what student should know at completion)
5. Warmer (for language classes, to stir them up, energize) or a Settler (to calm them
down to study)
6. Context setting (or Lead in or Bridge In) – focuses students on the lesson’s skills,
concepts – may be by showing pictures/models, asking leading questions or
reviewing previous lessons
7. Instructional component – describes the sequence of evts for the lesson, incl
teacher’s input and guided instructions the students use to try new skills or work
with new ideas
8. Independent practice or recap – allows students to practice on own what have
9. Summary – teachers wraps us and answers any questions
10. Evaluation component – tests for mastery of instructed skills or concepts
11. Analysis component – what teacher uses to reflect upon lesson presentation to
12. Continuity component – reviews and reflects on content from previous lessons
*See page 3/4 for formats for lesson plans

Well Developed Lesson Plans:

 Reflects interests and needs of students
 Incorporates best practices in education
 Broad thematic lesson plan is preferable

Unit plans cover an entire unit, several days/weeks *Modern constructivist teaching may not
require specific lesson plans but is more fluid

Setting an Objective

1. Create focus
2. Select one question or idea they want students to explore or answer
3. Create individual and group activities
4. ID skills must be incorporated
5. Ensure LP adheres to best practices (research what teaching methods result in
high success rate for students – how is this measured????)
6. Must ensure teaching goals are at par with student’s abilities

Selecting LP Material:
 LP must correlate with the text book the class uses
 Various ways to distribute class assignments:
o Whole class –
o Small group –
o Workshop –
o Independent Work –
o Peer Learning –
o Contractual work – student must agree to complete a certain amt of work by
teacher’s deadline
 See pg 9 – LP Pre Primary and pg 20 for Primary

Instructional Strategies
Classroom – Montessori – brings outdoors in; allows older kids to teach younger kids
Practical Life Exercises – helps child get control of movement, adapt to society, and to gain
independence. Should “teach teaching, not correction” (Montessori). Prepares kids for life and
orderly thinking.

4 Categories of Practical Life Experiences

1) Preliminary applications – kids learn basic mvmts of all societies (eg folding, moving,
carrying, pouring, etc)
2) Applied applications – care and maintenance that helps everyday life (eg sweeping
sidewalk, washing hands, dusting a table etc)
3) Grace and courtesy – people to people interactions
4) Control of movement – learns about own mvmts and how to refine them (eg walking on a
*Strong concentration and attn to detail are traits of Montessori kids and usually lead to civic

Introduction to Sensorial Work

Kids learn to classify things around them, then organize their environments, then can adapt to it.

Sensorial Exercise Groups:

1) Visual
2) Tactile – concentrated in fingertips, right hand usually (Montessori) – programming????
3) Baric – child learns to feel the difference in weight of objects through closed eyes or
4) Thermic – temp related
5) Auditory -
6) Olfactory
7) Gustatory
8) Stereo gnostic – also 6th sense or muscular memory – child feels things and can ID

The Designed Material

Opposite of Practical Life, these items have never before been seen or held by the child. But it’s
not a new experience….instead, the child learns to draw inferences from what he/she knows,
judging quality of material etc. Abstract ideas become concrete materials.

All of the material isolates the one idea to be focused on by the child.
All of the materials have a control of error, which allow for the child to correct himself.

All of the material is aesthetically pleasing, complete, limited (making kids learn patience), and all
(colors, eg) are not given.

All learning first comes through the senses. Isolate something that is being taught and the child can
more easily focus on it. Exact phrasing important (ie sphere vs ball, oval vs egg). Sensory overlaps
into math.

Three Period Lesson

Teaching technique used to give formal vocab lessons.
1st period: Intro of names to be learned
2nd period: Practice associating the names with the objects. Movement helps the child learn
(“show me red”)
3rd period: Confirmation that the names have been learned

Intro to Math
“Manipulatives” – eg chips, buttons, lids – are used to help kids count and match quantity with
written numeral.

Arithmetic – space, shape, numbers and their relships/attributes -

Primary school math:

 Numeration
 Decimal system
 Computation
 Arithmetic tables – science of computing using positive whole numbers (+-mult div)
 Whole numbers
 Fractions
 Positive numbers
 Geometry (uses Montessori Primary Materials)

Sensorial Work is exactness…prepares child for sequence, progression and spatial representation.

In order for a child to begin Math at Age 4, the following are in place:
1. Child has established internal order
2. Child has established precise movement
3. Child has established work habit
4. Child is able to follow and complete a work cycle
5. Child can concentrate
6. Child has learned how to follow a process

Arithmetic exercises: some are sequential, some are parallel. First understand numbers and
then decimals. Pg 38

LANGUAGE: Components of Montessori Language program

Mode of communication or expression – not a subject.
Components of language:
1) sound – vibrations called ethereal waves, recvd by the ether in the ear
2) AGREED meaning
3) talking
4) listening
5) reading

2 parts of Oral Learning

1) Enrichment of vocabulary
2) Language training

Children are introduced to sound through Sandpaper Letters. Then Writing – an “explosive
phenomenon” – how to kids who move directly to laptops miss out on writing??????

Environmental Studies
Move, touch, manipulate

Masks, emotional

Mime, gymnastics, stretching, theatre should be introduced gradually

Teaching Music in KG
Prepare curriculum
Start with rhythm, note values and symbols and counting
Complete w counting and clapping
Add in melodies; teach folk or children’s songs; have them repeat after teacher


Visual aids, mimicry, voice, gestures

Role Play – pg 58
1) Shopkeeper/customer
2) Playing House
3) 3 Little Monkeys

PBL (Project Based Learning) – children explore real world problems by collaborating with others
in small groups – 21st C skills : teamwork, communication and technology. Incorporates 4 skills of
reading, writing, speaking and listening.

EG, outline of an Environmental PBL:

1) Prep – think how students will benefit “linguistically” from project, eg collecting and ID’g
leaves. Make a list of structure, vocab and functions
2) Put together a Green Box – collection of maps, compasses, jars, guides, clipboards
3) Intro the project, letting ideas emerge from kids…”how could we learn English outside the
4) Language practice – relevant to what they will be learning about
5) Field Work – teach respect for the environment and set timelines and safety zones
6) Reporting – diagrams, maps, graphs, etc
7) Personalization – similarities/diffs, what they enjoyed/not about the project
8) Extension – set the project into a larger context, macro

Steps for a Project:

1) Purpose
2) Planning
3) Execution
4) Evaluation

Project should include:

1) Observe
2) Project
3) Hypothesis
4) Experiment
5) Conclusion

*Leaf collection project sample elementary school page 70

CAL – Computer Assisted Learning –

 Children feel positive when learning
 Kids feels independent

 Can control tech
 Higher level of motivation
 Increased enthusiastic collaboration and quick learning

Main categories of CAL:

1) Drill
2) Simulation
3) Tutorial
4) Game

CAL based teaching is effective thru info on page 73.

Some good CAL options:

 Animations
 Video tutorials
 Digital stories
 Digital posters (for younger kids)
 Online whiteboards – records info – helpful for substitutes
 Podcasting – audio recordings for later
 Blogs
 Video – You Tube Edu

CALL – Computer Assisted Language Learning

ICT – Information and Communications Technology
TELL – Technology Enhanced Language Learning

Use Google to search for Webquests, mini projects created using IT in classroom

VIDEO – Adults vs Young Learners - Differences

 Can get their attention
 They are focused
 Know what they want
 Liked to be involved in learning process
 Can be critical about learning method
 Have backgrounds and experiences
 Practical learners
 Different needs, priorities
 Should be treated as equals due to experiences

Young Learners
 Difficulty getting attention
 Have to help them focus, demo activity
 Attention span is 30 seconds
 Do not know what they want nor how to achieve it
 Trust their teachers
 Like to have fun when learning, teachers must set rules
 Need to be motivated
 Prefer teacher hierarchy and boundaries

Adults and YL Similarities:

Can teach adults and young learners together in VARK:


*Both grps need safe learning environments where diversity is respected

VIDEO – Categories of Young Learners (1) Age and 2) Learning abilities

Age 3-5
 Atmosphere very impo – should be warm, happy
 Routine impo
 Have a TA

Age 6-8
 More developed – speak about things they know
 Interest change (less interested in singing, dancing)

Age 9-12
 Like volunteering less
 Physically larger
 Interest mature
 Establish rules Day 1! Tell them what you expect from them – must raise hand, ask to go to
bathrm, etc.

Learning Abilities:
-Often class has those with disabilities and those who are gifted…let gifted children help out
others. When demoing activities, ask gifted kids to come up first and help demo
PHASE 4 – Classroom Management

Win-Win Discipline Plan – students and teachers work together to create plan. Kids learn self-
confidence, self control, self motivation, etc.

Creating a Learning Env for Preschool – pg 2

Why are mixed ages at Montessori successful? Pg 30

Have secondary exercises for those who finish early

3 Types of Kids who act out:

1. Purposeful child – knows that acting out will get attention
2. Stressed child – could be stressed at home and doesn’t know how to channel
3. Spur of the moment child – generally a good kid who may occasionally be influenced by bad
behaviour kids or have had too much sugar

Lockstep vs Ability grouping