Why is curriculum necessary for children?
What does curriculum have in it for children and teachers?
The answers to these brewing questions have been attempted below:
It has been well established that early childhood is a crucial time for children’s cognitive development. Less understood is that very young children are already excited to develop these skills and understanding in language and literacy, mathematics, and science. Indeed, pre-kindergarten (pre-K) learning experiences in these domains can help to build the skills, knowledge and attitudes that prepare young children for future academic success.
Environmental conditions during early years substantially affects the growth of children‘s neural pathways. Providing the right stimulation at the right time is the key to the networking of brain cells, which shapes the way individuals behave, think and learn for the rest of their lives. Hence, providing adequate opportunities for stimulating experiences favorably affect various learning abilities. Based on this understanding, preschool curriculum aims at providing a cohesive approach to facilitate the unfolding of each child‘s innate potentials in all the domains of development. Through creative play, well thought out games, and developmentally appropriate activities, children can be equipped to enhance their working memory, focus their attention and acquire self-control. These skills of executive functions and self-regulation provide children with the foundations, which help them, actualize their potential as confident and efficient learners in the later years.
WHAT IS PRE-SCHOOL EDUCATION?
Preschool education is defined as any setting imparting education to children from 3 to 6 years. It is referred by nomenclatures such as nursery, preparatory, pre-primary, lower kindergarten (LKG), upper kindergarten (UKG) etc.
Objectives of Preschool Education
- Enhance the holistic development of a child’s personality and inclusion of healthy attitudes, life skills and good values.
- Lay the foundation for a healthy, productive, and satisfying life in the future by enabling the children to develop her/his maximum potential through
· Physical well-being, health and motor development
· Personal, social and emotional development
· Creative and aesthetic development
· Language, communication and literary development
· Cognitive development-environmental awareness, development of scientific temper, developing mathematical thinking and reasoning skills.
3.Prepare child for smooth transitions from home to school and from preschool to primary school
Guiding Principles for Preschool Curriculum
In the current scenario the curriculum designed should be holistic, developmentally appropriate, indigenous and most importantly play and activity based. Thus, the curriculum is drawn from the following guiding principles:
- Learning is continuous and cumulative, as it is a life- long learning process.
- Neuro-scientific evidence shows that pathways set in the very early years of a child‘s life program impact the ways in which children learn.
- Each child is different and grows, learns and develops at her/his own pace, therefore the developmentally appropriate practices (DAP) should be appropriate to age, stage and context to promote children‘s optimal learning and development. The curriculum suggests the use of multiple teaching strategies to address the needs of children at the respective developmental stages of children.
- Play and activity are the primary medium of learning. The play activities should be a balance between different kinds of play like free and guided, active and passive, indoor and outdoor, and structured and unstructured play.
- Responsive and supportive interactions with adults are essential to children’s learning.
- Students learn by constructing knowledge through challenges, repetition and benefit from instruction by teachers and peers.
- Interactive teaching enhances learning experiences. Interaction (child-child-, child-teacher and child-material) is the most significant aspect of quality preschool education.
- Responsiveness to the context and diversity of status and experiences support learning.
- Family involvement contributes to learning.
Pre-school curriculum should be goal oriented which cater to all domains of development. The early learning outcomes to be achieved by the children, the pedagogical processes to be used by the teachers and the key skills and concepts to be focused are suggested for the effective execution of the curriculum.
The curriculum goals are:
- Young learners maintain good health and well-being.
- All toddlers are involved learners and connect with their immediate environment.
- Children become effective communicators and life – long learners.
To accomplish these set goals the skills are given to the teachers, targeting holistic development of the children. Teachers are expected to ensure each concept or skill is addressed in a variety of ways during transaction of the curriculum.