Chat with us, powered by LiveChat What are some of the key concepts covered in these sessions?   In what ways, if any, does the material challenge your previously held  beliefs?   3. In what ways can you apply what y | Wridemy

What are some of the key concepts covered in these sessions?   In what ways, if any, does the material challenge your previously held  beliefs?   3. In what ways can you apply what y

1. What are some of the key concepts covered in these sessions?  

2. In what ways, if any, does the material challenge your previously held  beliefs?  

3. In what ways can you apply what you have learned to Early Care and  Education practice? 

Preschool Years-

Social /Emotional

Changes –

Donovan Social/Emotional Changes in the Preschool Child The preschool child for many adults, is dramatically different from the toddler. They seem more like us, and their actions and motivations often make more sense to us. They can converse in ways that are more generally understandable, and in many cases, are much more predictable and consistent.

Erik Erikson's Theory

In Erickson's theory, this is described as Initiative versus Guilt. Initiative, the positive outcome of this stage's conflict, means that they are capable of "undertaking, planning and attacking". In contrast to the exuberance of the toddler, the preschooler can certainly be enthusiastic, but it is more directed and purposeful. Compare the toddler who loves dumping and moving things randomly from one area to another. The preschooler often has a plan in mind, and delights in accomplishments toward a specific end.

Many of these plans have to do with new physical/motor abilities. The self- concept is very "activity-dependent". When this natural ability to initiate activity is thwarted, the child experiences guilt. The children pictured above both demonstrate a high level of engagement and determination in their chosen activity.

Managing Emotions

An important area for the preschool teacher to understand is the growing ability to label, understand and modulate emotions. This is particularly significant in a society that teaches children to label emotions as a way of addressing conflict in the classroom. So much of preschool adult-child conversation has to do with this labeling. Children are admonished to describe how they are feeling, and to imagine how they make others feel. What is critical here, is that the child who can use words to describe something can frequently not base their behaviors on those concepts. This is particularly true in high stress situations when the stress hormone cortisol is flooding the brain and causing more primitive reactions. Less facility with labeling and modulating emotions is also characteristic of children who have a history of abuse or witnessing domestic violence. These children can read anger, but often can not differentiate disappointment, anxiety, envy, and other related emotional states. For this reason, they are frequently perceived as overreacting.

Self Concept

The preschool child has a growing and increasingly differentiated sense of the self.

They see themselves as having particular characteristics, make attributions based on gender, and are able to describe differences and similarities between themselves and others. They have a sense of self-efficacy which means that they see themselves as causal agents in ways that go beyond the simple notion of cause and effect in the physical realm. They also tend to over-apply this notion and believe themselves to be responsible for events beyond their control, such as a parent's divorce.

Anti-Bias Curriculum and the Preschooler's

Understanding of Diversity

Children's ability to understand differences and equity is frequently underestimated. For an interesting article on very early capacity to perceive differences, and make decisions based on those differences read, See Baby Discriminate.

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Early Care and Education programs have been introducing children and staff to formal curriculum that acknowledges this capacity in preschoolers since the landmark 1989 work "Anti-Bias Curriculum". This is still the most frequently cited source on the topic, and has been continuously updated.

However, the goals of anti-bias remain unchanged. Goal One : Each child will demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family pride, and positive group identities. Goal Two: Each child will express comfort and joy in human diversity, accurate language for human differences, and deep, caring human connections. Goal Three: Each child will increasingly recognize unfairness, have language to describe unfairness, and understand that unfairness hurts. Goal Four: Each child will demonstrate empowerment, and the skills to act, with others or alone against prejudice and/or discriminatory actions.

Anti-Bias Curriculum: Tools for Empowering Young Children, Louise Dearman-Sparks, 1989.

The Way


Think – Donovan This week we will look at the preschool child according to the theories of Jean Piaget and Lev Symenovytch Vygotsky. These two theorists' work are often contrasted because of their concept of the role in language in thought. However, from the point of view of the ECE practitioner, they have much in common, and have each made important contributions that are used together in ECE practice. Another way in which these two can be contrasted has to do with theory and the ways in which it is framed by political and historic context.

Piaget, Structures and Classification Up to this point in this course we have emphasized that which humans CAN do at various ages and stages. When we come to preoperational thought, by the very nature of the term, we are looking at what they are not yet able to do – think logically.

The idea that Piaget's stages are invariant, and none are skipped is fairly easy to grasp. (Compare locomotor milestones such as creeping, crawling and cruising. Although there

is a pattern followed by most children, others may skip one or more method.) The more difficult to grasp concept is that moving to the the next stage is not dependent on completion of the previous one. A child who has rich and varied sensorimotor experiences will bring the knowledge and skills of that period to their preoperational stage. However, a child who does not have that advantage still goes on to the mental symbols of speech, gesture and deferred imitation. The reason for this is that the stages are based on structures that differ from one to the next. This is why Piaget referred to his theory as genetic epistemology – the study of biologically based learning.

A good example of a structure underlying logical thought is classification . The concrete operational thinker understands that objects and concepts can be clustered into groups with similar characteristics. These groups can also often be placed within a hierarchy of classes, and all members at the more specific levels also belong to the higher levels. Humans are mammals. Mammals are animals. Animals are living things. The preoperational child does not see this. Here is a visual example. There are three roses and there are two daisies. Are there more roses or are there more daisies? The pre-op child will say roses. Are there more roses or are there more flowers? More is more! The pre-op child still says roses.

This is a good place to mention Piaget's term decalage , which refers to the fact that the various types of logical thinking do not all occur at the same time, or in the same order, but is largely dependent on experience. A child who has lots of experience with modeling materials (clay, playdough, goop) and sees a mass transform from ball to snake and back again, is likely to come to conservation of mass early.The same child may still be unconvinced by the logical resolution to the classification question above.

The Life and Times of Lev Symenovytch Vygotsky

Lev Semyonovitch Vygotsky was born in Minsk Byelorussia in 1896.Because he was Jewish in Czarist Russia, he did not have access to public education. He was tutored, and then attended a Jewish "gymnasium" high school. He expected to go to college to study law, but the laws regarding eligibility changed in the year he was applying. Instead of a merit based system, it became a lottery in government move to reduce the number of Jewish students to 3%. Vygotsky was fortunate to win the lottery. He studied literature and Psychology and went on to work in what was called the Institute of Defectology, designing programs and services in Special Education. He was a young scholar at the beginning of the Russian revolution and gathered a group referred to as the Vygotsky Circle who were committed to his cause of establishing a Marxist reworking of developmental theory, called cultural-historical psychology . The theory was to be a general framework for understanding human behavior from that point of view, and to address the neglected areas of illiteracy, special education, and cultural diversity. His biographer and follower James Wertsch writes that it is difficult to imagine the optimism and intellectual enthusiasm of that period. The group published dozens of works before Vygotsky's death from tuberculosis at the age of 37. His colleagues, notably Leontiev and Luria were continuing the research in psychometric intelligence testing among the Cossack people when the Stalinist government put a stop to their investigations and suppressed the publications. The notion that intelligence could be hereditary was deemed counter-revolutionary.

Colleagues formed the Kharkov School after leaving Mosow

The New World Encyclopedia describes the theory in terms of three general themes that run throughout his writing:

1. Use of a genetic, or developmental, method 2. Higher mental functioning in the individual emerges out of social processes 3. Human social and psychological processes are fundamentally shaped by

cultural mediation

What is noteworthy here is the degree to which this notion of intelligence and concept formation on an interpersonal plane is so clearly aligned with his Marxist political philosophy. The theory is so clearly a function of the political, historical and cultural times.

Piaget was at the same time living in a Europe embroiled in two world wars. How did that impact his beliefs?

Vygotsky's Contributions

Vygotsky's work has had a significant impact on the study and practice of Child Development in the United States. His writings are extremely difficult to read in the original. Below are two examples, and a short video on the most relevant central concepts: scaffolding and the Zone of Proximal Development. Genetic Law of Cultural Development "Any function in the child's cultural development appears twice, on two planes. First it appears on the social plane, and then on the psychological plane. First it appears between people as an inter-psychological category. This is equally true with voluntary attention, logical memory, the formulation of concepts and the development of volition. We may consider this position a law in the full sense of the word, but it goes without saying that the internalization transforms the process itself and changes its structure and functions. Social relations or relations among people underlie all higher functions and relationships." The Zone of Proximal Development

"the distance between the actual developmental level as determined through problem solving and the higher level of potential as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with a more capable peer."

The Preschooler's

Use of Language

– Donovan TYC covers many aspects of this topic well. Here are a few additional resources.

Functions of Language

Language is used in many different ways, and it is important that young children have opportunities to use all kinds of language. As mentioned in the Infant/Toddler section, there is a danger of overusing the regulatory and instrumental, or "business" language in group care. In my CDEV 41U Dual Language Learning

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class, we do an exercise where practitioners attempt to listen to themselves talking in their classrooms, and log their use of the the various functions. It is very difficult – and

very revealing! Many find themselves engaged in more business talk than they expected. It is also common to find that language use differs with girls and with boys; with children who are considered verbally bright; and with English Language Learners.

David K. Dickinson and Catherine Snow have done a great deal of research on language use in classrooms, and in children's families. They compare these experiences, the number of vocabulary words at age three and reading comprehension in third grade. It is very clear that children with rich vocabulary are better readers by third grade. In considering the chart above, it is also clear, that some of the functions lend themselves to building vocabulary and complex language, and others don't. This is not to say that business language is not necessary, especially for health and safety messages. But in observing preschoolers and watching the videos for this section, consider these examples: "Get in line." "Time for clean up." "Use your words.", etc. OR "Let's see what happens when we put this in a tub of water.", "Tell me about your drawing."

Literacy Contexts

Children perceive print in so many different ways. Most of the pre-literacy recommendations today have to do with exposing the children to a print-rich environment and lots of language experiences including rhyming, storytelling, singing, etc. The print-rich environment is one in which there are lots of books to handle, a writing center where children experiment with making print, and teacher supports for writing, such as story dictation. (The child draws something and the teacher copies the child's dictated description.) Other features are labeling items and areas of the classroom; use of children's names on cubbies, seats, etc.; and posters. This approach is so widespread that it is easy to think that it is the one and only correct pathway to literacy. But here are three other examples that are not based on the

alphabetic principle, or the belief that early recognition of letter form/sound/letter is the basis for literacy.

● Waldorf education, based on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner does not introduce the alphabet formally until first grade, or until the child's seventh year. Here

● Links to an external site. ● is a link to a Waldorf parent and educator's explanation of why they believe

that a carefully designed curriculum of spoken language should precede reading instruction. They also prepare for reading by knitting! When Waldorf children are introduced to print, they pick it up quite quickly, and they have excellent college entrance results.

● Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, but preschool curriculum does not include letter recognition. There is lots of music, dance, visual and creative arts, community building, and memorization of long poems. They practice pencil and paper tasks, using control paper (lined with a dotted line between) to develop small motor control. Perhaps most surprising is that there are very few books in the classroom, or in homes. And yet, they catch up to U.S. standards very quickly. This is from my own observations and interviews with families, teachers and librarians over the past ten years.

● Graphic interpretations of print are explored in Shirley Brice Heath's Ways With Words: Language, Life and Work in Communities and Work (1983). She compared three Appalachian communities: children of African American mill workers, white mill workers, and academics. She uses the following three drawing to demonstrate that for these children was not "isolated bits and pieces of lines and circles, but messages with internal structures, purposes and uses … oral communication surrounded the print." See if you can figure out what these three samples are meant to be. The answers are below..

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Explanations of Shirley Brice Heath Writing


The first is a letter. Mel, age 4 lives in a community where family members read letters in an open setting. A letter from afar is an event. He has reproduced the visual format: date, address, salutation, body, closing and signature.

The middle sample is soup can label. Mel had experience being sent to the store alone to buy canned goods. Here he replicates a central image with an ingredients list and bar code.

The sample on the left is four and a half year old Gary's front page of a newspaper, a familiar source of environmental print. He has a headline, lead story, smaller headline below the fold, and the second story.

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These three instances of non-alphabetic "ways with words" are not intended to

undermine the idea of print rich environment, but to suggest that there are alternate routes. Reading to a child is clearly beneficial, but the nightly lap sit is only one means to the love of reading. And parents who tell stories, sing songs, and expect children to be able to recognize the label of their favorite soup are also contributing to their children's literacy.

Dual language

Learning –

Donovan Dual Language Learners

Public school students identified as English Language Learners are those with a primary language other than English and who lack the defined English language skills of listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing necessary to succeed in a school's regular instructional programs. In the past, there have been a variety of labels that have been either inaccurate or disrespectful. "Bi-lingual" does not describe those who arrive in school with no English, and overlooks the fact that many children speak multiple languages other than English. (In SF many children speak Vietnamese and Cantonese before learning English.) Limited English Proficiency (LEP) was used for a time, and unfortunately identifies these children by what they can not do.

We all know that there are many children who meet this description, and many more who do not receive services because they are not identified as ELL. For a county by county view, see this data map of California ELL children in public schools.

Links to an external site.

Links to an external site.

Teaching Language Learners

Despite the fact that we have so many children learning English in our preschools, there is very little in the way of formal instruction for teachers of young children, and many misconceptions about helping those children to be successful in school.

Much of the confusion about dual language is explained by a theory by Jim Cummins that distinguishes between Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALPS). Here

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is a short explanation that will help to understand how some of the most pervasive myths have come to be.

Linda Espinosa is a researcher and public policy analyst who has done a great deal to educate educators about dual language learning. Here

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is her review of the literature .

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For more on this, see the optional material for this week.

For those especially interested in this topic, please consider taking CDEV 41U Dual Language Learning in ECE Programs. It has just been expanded from a one unit to a three unit course, and is now offered in that format.

Off to School –





Differentiating Self Esteem

Children in the stage if Industry versus Inferiority have self-esteem that is becoming increasingly differentiated. Whereas the preschool child can have a global sense of self-worth based on a narrow achievement, the school-age child begins to be able to understand the various types of aptitude and achievement. Research has compared children's understanding of competence in areas such as physical attractiveness, obedience, academics, popularity, athletic skill, etc. They look at how important each of these areas is to the child's overall self-esteem, especially as it relates to gender, class and culture. It is interesting to consider this in the context of Multiple Intelligences. According to Gardner, the intelligence is something valued by the culture, and by extension, by the sub-culture. This is of the utmost importance in trying to determine children's motivation. A child may not be motivated to academic achievement, but more so to social competence and athletic achievement. If that is the case, a different type of reinforcement is needed for good grades to contribute to high self esteem. The term "self esteem" has come to include the concept of low esteem as well. We don't know the circumstances of the little unsuccessful athlete above, but he is certainly not pleased with himself.

Lilian Katz and Dispositions for Learning

Dr. Lilian Katz, past president of the National Association for the Education of Young Children has been advocating for developmentally appropriate approaches to early education for many years. Why All Teachers Should

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