5 Curriculum

Dr. Susan Eliason and Gwen Alexander

Chapter 4 focuses on learning environments.   As you read think about collecting and analyzing the evidence about the learning environment from the six settings. What observable curriculum materials and activities support a high-quality learning environment?

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize, document, analyze, and evaluate national best practices in early childhood education, in a variety of delivery models, by observing in programs serving diverse children from birth through kindergarten including children with special needs and dual language learners.
  • Observe and critique pedagogical approaches in early childhood settings.

To achieve the first objective, read the criteria on Pages 9-28 of NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Criteria & Guidance for Assessment  for Standard 2 Curriculum.  As you read the articles you will see how they illustrate the practice of the criteria.

Consider how the program tailors the curriculum to meet the children’s learning styles, needs, capacities, interests, and backgrounds.

When you are reading the articles and watching the videos ponder ways you might observe or interview questions you may ask to determine if or how the educator:

  • Reorganizes the environment to promote children exploring new concepts and topics, sustaining their activities, and extending their learning
  • Supports children’s learning by modifying the schedule and intentionally arranging the equipment (You may observe evidence to use in writing the Adapting for Differences narrative.)
  • Uses knowledge of children’s social relationships, interests, ideas, and skills to tailor learning opportunities
  • Provides developmentally appropriate curriculum (planned activities, daily schedules, routines, and materials) in all content and developmental areas (social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive)
  • Designs activities to support reasoning, solving problems, getting along with others, using language, and developing other skills.
  • Plans for opportunities for children to learn and develop through exploration and play

You will rate the program or classroom on how effectively they implement a curriculum that is consistent with its goals for children and promotes learning and development in all areas.  As you watch the videos you will see that quality programs differ because of their goals and philosophy.

Begin by reading 5 articles:  

  1. Brown-DuPaul, J. (2012, Summer) Using documentation panels to communicate with families, Childhood Education 209 – 213.

Illustrates the criteria discussed to meet the criteria of 2. A.08, 2.B.07, 2.F.05, 2.F.06, 2.F.09, 2.F.10, 2.F.13, 2.L.01-03, and 2.L.08.  The information also supports criteria for positive relationships with families, the physical environment, and effective teaching. Using documentation panels to communicate with families can be helpful.  I wonder if you will see documentation panels at the observation sites.

  1. Meece, D. & Soderman, A.K. (2010, September) Positive Verbal Environments: Setting the Stage for Young Children’s Social Development, Young Children, 81-86.

Supports the relationship between positive relationships and the learning environment.  The article illustrates effective teaching.

  1. Van Stone, B. (2013, September/October). Creating a Positive Classroom Environment. Teach Magazine. 11, 23.

A short article with clear observable actions to watch for in your observations.

  1. NAEYC (2009) Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8. Position statement. Washington, DC: Author.

As you read about Standard 2 in the NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Criteria & Guidance for Assessment, you may have noticed the phrase “developmentally appropriate” in several places.  What is developmentally appropriate practice?  Likely you discussed the concept in other courses but reread the position statement and think about what you will look for the criteria for a learning environment below.   The way teachers design learning experiences, how they engage children and respond to them, how they adapt their teaching and interactions to children’s background, the feedback they give—these matters greatly in children’s learning. And none can be fully determined in advance and laid out in a curriculum product or set of lesson plans that every teacher is to follow without deviation (NAEYC, 2009, p.8).

  • Hand washing instructions count if they are developmentally appropriate and posted where children can see them. (p.16)
  • Evidence may include such things as dramatic play props or authentic materials (clocks, watches, stop watches, timers), developmentally appropriate class schedules posted, curriculum webs, or lesson plans. (p. 20)
  • The use of passive media such as television, film, videotapes, and audiotapes is limited to developmentally appropriate programming. (p. 22)
  • Materials must be presented in a developmentally appropriate manner to give credit. Evidence of safety rules includes things such as procedures to follow in fire, hurricane, or earthquake drills that may be followed in the classroom and/or at home, and safety procedures relevant to the community (such as preparing for a hurricane in a coastal community). (p.25)
  1. Snyder, C. (2014) When Is a Two a Three? Highscope Extension, 28, (4), 1-17.

Describes and explains observable criteria for toddler classrooms.  Intentional teachers make decisions about the learning environment using their knowledge about child development and learning in general, about the individual children in their classrooms, and about the sequences in which concepts and skills are learned.

To learn more about age appropriate expectations in a variety of programs watch

  1. Kindergarten 9-minute clip from the DVD, Early Childhood Settings and Approaches (2006) by Charles Bleiker.  [Available on Blackboard through BSU library streaming service.]
  2. High scope 9-minute clip from the DVD, Early Childhood Settings and Approaches (2006) by Charles Bleiker. [Available on Blackboard through BSU library streaming service.]
  3. Infant and Toddler setting 7-minute clip from the DVD, Early Childhood Settings and Approaches (2006) by Charles Bleiker. [Available on Blackboard through BSU library streaming service.]

For more examples of positive learning environments watch the clips from EEC webinar– Outdoor learning environment: Watch these segments

  • Creating Exciting Outdoor Environments: 15:30 – 23:15
  • Imaginative Areas that Extend Play and Learning: 30:25 – 56:30

During our discussion, please share curriculum materials and activities that support a high-quality learning environment to meet the children’s learning styles, needs, capacities, interests, and backgrounds.

Student Quotes

I would love for school districts to rethink Kindergarten.

Will school system’s catch on to the fact that they may be pushing too hard on children? And if the outcome is negative, how can they correct it, if they realize it?

CC0 Public Domain

 

I know that many elementary schools have shortened recess and art and music are only every other week. But we all know that some kids learn best when art and music are involved. Do you think that eventually preschool will be impacted as well, and what can we do to make sure preschool does not become” like kindergarten used to be” in the future?

Education should not be based on age.

 

Challenge 1 – Option A:  Contemporary Issues Discussion

What?

Look for recent events or developments in the real world that are related to our readings and assignments about learning environments.  Analyze the current affair to identify the connections to course materials in discussion postings, blog entries, or in small group class discussions.

So What?

This technique deepens your understanding of course related ideas and concepts and guides you to apply course ideas to your work with children and families.  I hope to stimulate your curiosity and that you see the relevance of the materials we are reading.   You will reflect upon your learning to deepen your understanding. The discussion forum will serve as evidence of your learning and how you connect course concepts to your life and the world around us.

Now What?

Create a response to the discussion forum with the following elements:

  1. The citation of the news or journal article source written in APA format
  2. Summary of the article including the who, what, where, when, why and how
  3. Relationship of course principles, ideas, and concepts that the article reflects. Refer to specific readings or videos from the course.
  4. Reflection where you relate the current issue to your life.
  5. Given what you learned about positive relationships in the course, what might you advise the people described in the article to do now that would help them to move forward most productively?

Adapted from Barkley, E. F. (2010).  SET 29:  Contemporary issues journal.  In Student engagement techniques:  A handbook for college faculty (pp.276-279).  San Francisco, CA:  Jossey-Bass.

Contemporary Issues Discussion Forum Grading Rubric

Adapted from Assessing Outcomes and Improving Achievement: Tips and tools for Using Rubrics, edited by Terrel L. Rhodes. Copyright 2010 by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.”

Level Emerging Understanding Acceptable Target
Point Value 0-2 3 4 5
Critically evaluates information and the source ethically & legally The source is primarily focused on a personal opinion. The relevance to the course concept is questionable.

The information was published over a year ago.

Student correctly uses 0-1 of the following strategies:

1.      APA citations

2.     APA references

3.     Appropriate choice of paraphrasing, summary, or quoting.

Distinguishes between common knowledge and ideas requiring attribution.

Selects an appropriate source.  The information is relevant and current. There is minimal analysis of the source of the information or content of the information.

 

Student correctly uses 2 of the following strategies:

1.      APA citations

2.     APA references

3.     Appropriate choice of paraphrasing, summary, or quoting.

4.     Distinguishes between common knowledge and ideas requiring attribution.

Selects an appropriate source.  The information is relevant and current. There is some analysis of the source of the information or content of the information.

 

Student correctly uses 3 of the following strategies:

1.      APA citations

2.     APA references

3.     Appropriate choice of paraphrasing, summary, or quoting.

4.     Distinguishes between common knowledge and ideas requiring attribution.

Selects an appropriate source that is important to the concept.  The information is relevant, current (within the past year) and the student critically and completely analyzed the expertise of the author and bias or point of view of the information.

Student correctly uses APA citations and references.  The student makes appropriate choice of paraphrasing, summary, or quoting.

The student distinguishes between common knowledge and ideas requiring attribution.

Connects to ECPK 480 content Has difficulty determining key concepts. The type of information selected does not relate to concepts. The reader has to guesses as to the relationship of course principles, ideas, and concepts.  The student determines a few course concepts. The relationship of course principles, ideas, and concepts that the news article reflects is clear.  The student determines most key course concepts. The relationship of course principles, ideas, and concepts that the news article reflects is clear and logical.  The student effectively determines key course concepts.
Initial participation and effective communication Did not participate in the Discussion forum until Wednesday or later in the week.

Did not use examples to illustrate ideas or include an open-ended question with response.

The writing was often choppy, with frequent errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, or other writing mechanics, such as imprecise or inappropriate language and vocabulary.

Responded to forum by Tuesday at 11:59PM.

Used an example to illustrate ideas.

Asked an open-ended question with response.

The writing included problems with organization and meaning.

The writing was generally clear and professional in tone.

There were several spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar.

Responded to forum by Tuesday at 11:59PM.

Used an example to illustrate ideas.

Asked an open-ended question with response.

The writing was organized and generally clear and professional in tone.  There were minimal spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar errors.

Responded to forum by Monday at 11:59PM.

Used multiple examples to illustrate ideas.

Asked an open-ended question with response.

Polished writing, almost free of errors, with consistent professional tone and clarity of language.

Uses information to engage in conversation with colleagues The reply includes information that is fragmented or used inappropriately such as misquoted, taken out of context, or incorrectly paraphrased.

Replied to 1 peer (a TOTAL of 1 posting this week)

Did not replied to peers.

Replied by communicating information from sources; to at least 2 peers (a TOTAL of 3 postings for the week).

The student forgot to include an open-ended question with each reply.

Replied by logically communicating information from sources; to at least 3 peers (a TOTAL of 4 postings for the week).

The student forgot to include an open-ended question with each reply

Replied in depth by communicating, organizing, and synthesizing information from sources; to at least 3 peers (a TOTAL of 4 postings for the week).

To help stimulate further thinking and conversation, the student ends each of the replies with an open-ended question.

 

 Challenge 1 – Option B: Reading Reflection Form

After reading and watching; to prepare for discussing learning environments either online or in person, I invite you to complete the reading reflection form:

Use the table below as you complete the readings and/or watch the videos as a note taking method.  Using your notes as recorded on the table, write out 3 paragraphs to summarize your ideas. Make sure to use multiple examples to illustrate ideas and to ask an open-ended question to invite others to engage in your discussion.

Connections Extensions Curiosities
Relate ideas from the reading to learning in other courses or life experience. How did ideas from the reading extend your thinking? What are you curious about?  What do you want to explore further?   Why?
 

 

 

Challenge 2:  Narrative 3:  THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT 

Compare your observations to the NAEYC Standards from your third observation site for this narrative.  The chart may be helpful in preparing your draft.

Narrative Section NAEYC Standard(s)
Individual Needs and Interests (part of overall design of learning environment) NAEYC (2009) Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8. Position statement.
Effective Classroom Schedules and Routines 2.A, 2.B
Offerings in the Content Domains:
·      Physical 2.C.
·      Oral Language and Early Literacy 2.D, 2.E
·      Math and Science 2.F, 2. G
·      The Arts 2.J
·      Social Studies 2.L
·      Health and Safety 2.K

Outline

  1. Overall Design of the Learning Environment.  RATING: _____.
    1. Provide a detailed and varied description that give a comprehensive view of the program’s observable curriculum materials and activities. Make sure to consistently present evidence and then interpret it.
    2. CONCLUSIONS where you restate and defend the rating. To achieve a target score, make sure the conclusions reached carefully consider impact of design decisions on quality, are fully supported by the evidence provided, and clearly linked to NAEYC standards of quality.  Your conclusions should show a clear sense of which evidence has a significant impact on quality and which has less weight.  To achieve a target score, remember to go beyond what is included in the program, discuss what is not there, why it should be, and what it would look like if it were there.  Remember that the evidence and its interpretation need to fully support the ratings given.
  1. Effective Classroom Schedules and Routines
    1. Provide a detailed and varied description that give a comprehensive view of the program’s observable curriculum materials and activities. Make sure to consistently present evidence and then interpret it.
    2. CONCLUSIONS (see #1b above)
  1. Offerings in the Content Domains
    1. Physical Competency. RATING: _____.

Provide a detailed and varied description that give a comprehensive view of the program’s observable curriculum materials and activities.  Make sure to consistently present evidence and then interpret it.

CONCLUSIONS (see #1b above)

  • Oral Language and Early Literacy Concepts and Competency. RATING: _____.

Provide a detailed and varied description that give a comprehensive view of the program’s observable curriculum materials and activities.  Make sure to consistently present evidence and then interpret it.

CONCLUSIONS (see #1b above)

  • Math and Science Concepts and Competency. RATING: _____.

Provide a detailed and varied description that give a comprehensive view of the program’s observable curriculum materials and activities.  Make sure to consistently present evidence and then interpret it.

CONCLUSIONS (see #1b above)

  • Self-Expression Through the Arts. RATING: _____.

Provide a detailed and varied description that give a comprehensive view of the program’s observable curriculum materials and activities.  Make sure to consistently present evidence and then interpret it.

CONCLUSIONS (see #1b above)

  • Social Studies Concepts. RATING: _____.

Provide a detailed and varied description that give a comprehensive view of the program’s observable curriculum materials and activities.  Make sure to consistently present evidence and then interpret it.

CONCLUSIONS (see #1b above)

  • Health and Safety Concepts. RATING: _____.

Provide a detailed and varied description that give a comprehensive view of the program’s observable curriculum materials and activities.  Make sure to consistently present evidence and then interpret it.

CONCLUSIONS (see #1b above)

image

 

NARRATIVE 3 EXAMPLE – Learning Environment

  1. Overall Design of the Learning Environment: Rating: 7

The overall design of the learning environment that the lead teacher and preschool teacher of the head start classroom were able to reorganize it in order to help the children explore new concepts that will be presented to them on a daily basis and that will also extend their learning. The learning centers in the classroom consist of the math center, quiet/book area, water table, art area, dramatic play and the circle time rug. (3.E.01) The two teachers in the head start preschool classroom were able to scaffold the children’s learning by modifying the schedule with a picture schedule so the children will be able to see what activities they will be doing during the day, they intentionally brought out different math manipulatives at different tables for the children to work with, and lastly if a child called their name they both made sure they were available to help the child that was in need. (3.E.02 a-c) When I first walked into the classroom I was able to see that there was a poster hung up on the wall that had a Fall song on it and also a poster that had parts of the tree on it since the teachers knew the children were interested in the season that is currently occurring. (3.E.03) The materials that the children were using during centers for math were developmentally appropriate for their age group. The following are the materials the children were using: mini Geosolids, attribute blocks, baby bear counters, and wooden counting blocks (3.E.04). The materials that I was able to notice in the classroom includes diversity of the gender of children, their age, language and abilities. Each item that was labeled in the classroom was both in English and Spanish since the classroom was bilingual with a handful of students they have. The lead teacher of the classroom was able to tailor learning opportunities by asking each individual preschooler to stand up and jump to the lily pad that had a specific number on it. (3.E.08 a-d) Both teachers of the classroom were able to seek out children’s ideas by observing them while they were doing the math centers, talking with them and listening to them about what they are doing at the given time. (3.E.09 a-c)

Conclusions: I gave the rating of 7 for the overall design of the learning environment because I was really impressed with what I was able to observe for this section and that each section was marked off with a yes. The teachers in the classroom responding positively to the children’s needs and interests. The lead teacher and other preschool teacher in the classroom were able to modify the classroom schedule for the children with a picture schedule so they would be able to visually see what they would be doing. There were a handful of children in the classroom that spoke English as their second language so the picture schedule was a good choice for the teachers to put up on the wall at the children’s eye level. The teachers consistently used the children’s interested in the content that they put out for the children to work on during work time and so forth. All of the learning materials that were put out were able to enhance the children’s learning in the classroom.

  1. Effective Classroom Schedules and Routines: Rating: 6

I was able to look at the daily schedule of the head start program that they had taped to the wall and it includes providing time for transitions from one activity to another, includes both indoor activities and outdoor playtime, and also allows time for a child who may need to step to the side of the group and rest on a bean bag chair. The transitions from one activity to another consisted of the lead teacher shutting the lights off in the classroom, the children instantly stopped what they were doing and listened to the teacher when she told them it was time to clean up to get ready for the next activity of the day. The children were brought to the outdoor play area for a half an hour when I was there (2.A.07 a-c). The materials that I was able to notice in the classroom includes diversity of the gender of children, their age, language and abilities. The children are given time to be able to explore the different centers in the classroom. I was able to observe the children exploring the different math centers that were set up for them (2.A.08 a-k). I was able to observe activities that foster social, emotional, physical, and language development. For social development I was able to observe that the teachers gave space for the children to be able to play with one another. There was an emotions chart at the children’s eye level that can incorporate them to tell their teachers how they are feeling during a certain point in the day. For physical development the children were brought outside to play on the play structure and in the sandbox for a half an hour. Lastly, for language development I was able to observe the teachers communicating in both English and Spanish with the children in the classroom (2.A.10 a-f). The schedule for the children allow them to have time for play, creative play area, large group (circle time), small group (projects), and child initiated play (2.A.11 a-f). The teachers in the classroom has the curriculum set up for the children to be engaged in play whether it be block building or dramatic play that is associated with the topics the children are currently learning about (2.A.12). The teachers in the classroom are always paying constant attention to the children and are responsive to them when they are asked a question by a child. They also facilitate the children to learn to interact with one another in the classroom (2.B.01 a-c). The children in the classroom have opportunities to recognize and name themselves and others in the class during circle time by the teacher leading circle asking how each child is feeling (2.B.02 a-b). One little boy who is new to the program was having a difficult time sitting and listening during circle time so the other teacher in the classroom took him to a different area to help calm him down (2.B.03). The children in the classroom are able to develop friendships during indoor and outdoor activities (2.B.05). I was able to observe the children in the classroom interact positively with one another when they were having lunch. The children passed around the bowl to make sure each child at the table got food (2.B.06). The teachers in the classroom have a set time for both indoor and outdoor activities for the children that include working in centers and for outside play going to play on the play structure. The teachers use both small group time and large group time with the children while indoors (3.D.01 a-b). While the children were in the math centers I was able to observe the children at the table that was next to me and they were using shape manipulatives and were beginning to name some of the shapes (3.D.03). The teachers in the classroom have a flexible daily schedule that is incorporated into their schedule which is posted on the wall and is consisted of pictures of each part of the day and what they will be doing (3.D.09 a-b). Lastly I was able to observe that the teachers give the children opportunities to engage with one another. I was able to observe this when they were in their math centers and one of the children asked another child to pass a shape they were looking for (3.D.11).

Conclusions: I overall gave the rating of six because I was able to observe different parts of the day by being able to look at the schedule they had posted on the wall to see what the children would be doing. It also deserved this rating because both teachers in the classroom gave ample time for children to play both indoors and outdoors besides the centers they had planned for them to do on the day I observed. The teachers were always attentive and responded immediately to a child who asked them a question whether it was in circle time or when they were working in centers and they needed help. The teachers were able to support the different aspects amongst the social, emotional, physical and language development in the classroom and while outside. The classroom schedule is clear for children to understand since it is picture based so they will be able to visually see what is going on during a specific part of the day.

Offerings in the Content Domains:

  1. Physical Competency: Rating: 5

The children have varied opportunities that are provided for them through equipment in large motor experiences. I was able to observe a group activity that was math based that consisted of the children having to count and jump on the correct numbered lily pad. This group activity consisted of turn taking by each individual child so the teacher would be able to write down to see how well they know and recognize the numbers 1-5 (2.C.04 a-f). Conclusions: Overall I gave the rating of five for physical competency because I was able to observe the children to engage in a large motor experience. There is room for improvement in this section also since I didn’t see much of the teachers providing different opportunities for the children to help them with their fine-motor development skills in the classroom.

  1. Oral Language and Early Literacy: Rating: 6

The children in the classroom are provided opportunities to experience both oral and written communication in the language their family uses/understands. The teachers communicate with the Spanish speaking children in Spanish and the children will respond back in Spanish to the teacher. The bilingual children in the classroom have the opportunity to learn English as well by still using the language they know well (2.D.02). The children in the classroom have varied opportunities to develop competence in verbal and non-verbal communications by communicating whether they have to use the bathroom, get a tissue, etc. They are also able to respond to the teacher after they were asked a question. The children who ask a question in Spanish will get a response from the teacher in Spanish and the same for the English speaking children in the classroom (2.D.03 a-c). The children have varied experiences to develop their vocabulary through conversations with one another or a teacher in the classroom. For example, the lead teacher asked one of the children what the object she had on the circle rug and the child was able to give the correct answer of the lily pad they were using for the math game (2.D.04 a-d). The children also had opportunities to become familiar with print. The lead teacher read a book during circle time to the children about Fall (2.E.04 a). The children in the classroom have multiple and varied opportunities to write with writing materials and activities in the art, dramatic play, and other learning centers in the classroom (2.E.05 a). For example, in the dramatic play area the children are given paper and pencils to pretend to take each other’s orders while they play restaurant during free play. Conclusions: I overall gave the rating of the language development a six because I was able to see the teachers stress the use of verbal language in the classroom. I was able to see children communicate with a teacher to tell them what they need using verbal communication skills and by the teacher using the Spanish word for the bathroom for one little boy who was having trouble saying the word. The children were also able to communicate with the teacher during circle time about noticing how the leaves are falling off of the trees after they were read the book about Fall. The children are also given the opportunity to practice their writing skills in the different learning centers in the classroom.

  1. Math and Science Concepts: Rating: 5

I was able to observe the children during their math center time and was able to see they were given a varied amount of materials to be able to categorize by one or two attributes by using geometric shapes. The children mainly used them to sort them by size, shape, and the color of each geometric shape they were using (2.F.03). During circle time the lead teacher led the group in a conversation by integrating mathematical terms before they were going to do the activity with the lily pads (2.F.04). The children were able to be provided with the geometrical shapes so they would be able to name and recognize what each one looks like. For example, the lead teacher held a cone in her hand and asked the child what two different shapes they saw and they responded with a circle and a cone (2.F.06). Lastly, I was able to observe the children given the opportunity to build an understanding of time in the content of their lives in the classroom based on when they would be finished with the math center and when they would be getting ready to have lunch (2.F.07) The only science related opportunity I saw the children have was when they were talking about the seasons and how it is Fall now after the teacher read them a book about Autumn (2.G.02 b). Conclusions: I overall gave the math section a rating of six because I was impressed with the amount of math manipulatives they had for the children in the classroom and the different activities they had set up on the day I did my observation. The teachers let the children have the opportunity to use geometric shapes so they would be able to begin to recognize and name certain 2D shapes. The two teachers in the classroom were both able to have a large group math activity by having each child jump on the different numbered lily pads to see if they were able to recognize a given number. Lastly, for the science section I was able to observe the lead teacher read a book about Autumn to the children then had a conversation with them about the seasons and what each season feels like temperature wise.

  1. Self-expression through the arts: Rating: 4

When the children were sitting at the rug for circle time the lead teacher sang their morning calendar song in English then in Spanish for the children to be able to sing along without feeling left out (2.J.01 b). One of the children wanted to paint when they had free play time and were able to go to any center in the classroom. This child chose to go to the art area to paint. Once she was finished painting the lead teacher provided the child with a new learning concept that her painting looked smooth (2.J.04). I was also able to observe the children being provided open ended opportunities in the dramatic play area to express themselves creatively through drama. The children who were in the dramatic play area were pretending they were in a restaurant and serving people food to eat (2.J.06 b). Conclusions: I overall gave the rating of four for the art section because I was able to observe the lead teacher make conversation about one of the child’s painting and how it was smooth. I was also able to observe children being creative in the dramatic play area when they were pretending to cook for customers. When I observed in the Head Start classroom I only observed the lead teacher sing the morning song with the children in the morning. I wish I was able to see more singing where the children would sing along with the teacher to a familiar educational song. I also wish I was able to observe the children having the chance to dance to music using their large motor skills.

  1. Social Studies concepts: Rating: 5

When I first walked into the classroom I was able to notice a jar with sticks of each child in the classroom and each stick had their name written on it. This allows the children to have learning opportunities that foster positive identity and an emerging sense of themselves and others in the classroom (2.L.01 a-b). During group time, the children were offered the opportunity to become a part of the classroom community so that they feel a sense of belonging. The lead teacher called on each child and they had to say they were here. The lead teacher also had a helper ‘chart and asked a child who was patiently waiting to see if they wanted to help. At the art center, after each child finished painting the picture they were painting the assistant teacher wrote the child’s name on the paper and told the child that the paper belongs to them since they created the artwork; and  when it is displayed in the classroom everyone who looks at it will know who made it (2.L.02). I was also able to observe that the children were provided the opportunity to explore social roles in the family/workplace while they were playing in the dramatic play area. They were playing restaurant (2.L.04). During clean up time from the math activities one of the children was having a difficult time helping to clean up. The second teacher in the classroom talked to the child about responsibility and how it will be helpful for him to help his friends clean up to be able to move on to the next activity/part of the day (2.L.06 c). Conclusions: I overall gave a rating of five for the social studies concepts section. I was able to observe the teacher talk to one of the children about responsibility and how it would be helpful if he helped his friends to clean up what they were using at the center they were at. The teachers made sure that the children felt like they belonged in the classroom by writing the child’s name on their artwork. The teacher also had a helper’s chart during circle time so the children would be able to learn turn taking skills. I wish I was able to observe the teacher providing children with varied opportunities and materials to build their understanding of diversity within different cultures, family structure and ability.

  1. Health and Safety concepts: Rating:7

When I was observing in the head start program I was able to see the children be served breakfast and lunch. The children were provided cheerio’s and milk for breakfast which has good nutrition in it. Before the children had both breakfast and lunch they had the opportunity to be able to wash their hands before eating. The children were able to feed themselves by using a spoon with the cereal and they were able to pick up the cup with milk to drink it. For lunch they were given chicken sandwiches with peaches and carrots. After the children had lunch they all had to brush their teeth before they got their belongings to end the day (2.K.01). The children are provided the opportunity to help them learn about preparing and valuing healthy foods. Four children were asked to help set up the tables with a plate, a fork for each child and a cup for each child (2.K.02 c&e). The children are provided materials about classroom safety and the rules they need to follow. The children have to walk in the classroom, ask to go to the bathroom and to raise their hand when they have a question. Conclusions: I overall gave the rating of a seven for this section because the program strongly encourages children to eat healthy and to be healthy. By the children helping preparing for a meal they will be able to learn do help set the table at home. Also, by the healthy foods they are given at the head start program they can tell their parents what they had to eat and tell them what they had was healthy. All of the children in the classroom were able to feed themselves and all used the spoons with the cereal and the forks to eat the carrots and peaches at lunch. Lastly, I thought it was extremely important that the classroom teacher has the classroom rules listed at the children’s eye level and they remind them of the rules on a daily basis so their classroom will be safe.

 

Example 2: THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT (Emerging Understanding – Many revisions needed)

This draft required many revisions to make it acceptable.  My comments are written in bold.

 

Overall design of the learning environment (rating 5 -7) Pick one number

This was a great classroom. The children all appeared to be engaged and interacted with their teachers. How do you know?  What did you observe? There are 20 diverse children in this room and can be challenging to meet the individual needs of each of them and their families. True, how did the statement support your rating and what evidence to you have to convince me?  But, this room had plenty of free choices and engaging centers. Such as?  What do you mean by plenty?  How do you know the centers were engaging?  To improve, write about specific details and that support the rating you give. Inadequate first section

Effective classroom schedules and routines (Rating 7)

The classroom transitioned to free play, outside, lunch, teeth brushing with ease. The children seem to already know what they were supposed to do next. Not fully descriptive of how these things were done effectively.  I should be able to visualize what was happening in the classroom through your writing.

Offerings in the content domains: In general, none of the sections below are sufficiently described or interpreted. If you think a category is lacking, discuss what you would like to have seen and why it would be important to quality.

Physical (rating 5)

Music in the classroom

Hopscotch rug

Outside play area

(fine motor) paint brushes, writing table, play dough and Legos were all being used

Oral language and early literacy (rating 5)

The teacher read the kissing hand and had materials at the writing table for the kids to make their own kissing hand. Some questions were asked to the children during the story

Math and science (rating missing)

I did not observe science at this time. There were number puzzles and a teacher made cloths pin game available along with blocks and Legos.

The Arts (rating 5-7) pick one number

There were 2 spots continuously being used at the easel. There was coloring materials at the writing table. The music (although a bit loud) children were sculpting with the play dough

Social studies (not observed)  Inappropriate – what should you see

Not observed

Health and Safety (rating 7)

This is an area of strength for Head Start. There is a nurse on site to help maintain the children’s well-being but also make sure they are up to date with their physicals and immunizations. Also she orchestrates the pediatric dentist to have the children seen on site. The safety of the children not only the responsibility of the teachers but the site director as well making sure bus monitors are trained. Making sure the building meets the state license requirement. Head start tries to hire only certified assistant so both teaching teams can be left

 

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Early Childhood Mentored Field Observations by Dr. Susan Eliason and Gwen Alexander is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book

Feedback/Errata

Comments are closed.