Epiphany - Dr. Wanda Roundtree Henderson
Business as Usual or Perhaps Not?
Posted May 3rd 2015

"What it means to be literate in today's society is rife with change. So as educators, our very engagement of young children in learning experiences should no longer be regarded as simply cognitive activities but as very complex engagements and interchanges with huge social, cultural, linguistic, political and psychological implications (Roundtree, 2015)."

Young children's point of entry on the learning continuum begins long before they enter preschool. As a matter of fact, there is evidence that "…babies are learning some things about the outside world while still in utero" (DeCasper & Spence, 1986, p.188). Recognizing this very crucial fact, early childhood educators must uphold the belief that the process for ensuring that young children will ultimately become college and/or career ready must begin during their early years of development. Our collective concerns around the extent of young children's preparedness once they exit preschool are perpetuated by the stark reality that some of our youngsters from low socioeconomic strata demonstrate disparities in the cognitive, oral language, literacy and numeracy domains compared to their same age-mates from more affluent backgrounds the moment they begin their trajectory in formal schooling. In schools across this nation, the recent focus on the effective implementation of the Common Core State Standards has ushered in an increased emphasis on the need to examine the evidence of young children's learning in these essential domains and to carefully consider the determinants of children's ultimate success as life-long learners. And of course, this recent focus has huge implications for preschool curricula as well as for teacher-child and parent-child engagement practices. As educators of young children, we must ascribe to the need to increase our pedagogical efficacy and outcomes for children and their families by any means necessary. Thus, we must be diligent in our efforts and flexible in our thinking about what constitutes "best practices." Our collective efforts around this moral imperative must remain "front and center" so that our children may fare well and garner all of the necessary skills to successfully compete in the 21st century.

How might we as educators ensure children's successful readiness and preparedness for formal schooling experiences and ultimate life-long success? Do we conduct business as usual and maintain the status quo? How do we implement effective change in our pedagogy and approaches when engaging with young children and still uphold developmentally appropriate practices?

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Reply from Sophie posted on May 29th 2015
As teachers, it is important that children receive the right tools for them to succeed. it is important that ensure readiness and prepare them for schooling and life long success.
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Reply from Shivani Patel posted on May 21st 2015
Young children need developmentally appropriate experiences and teaching to support learning. If a child is taught something that they are not able to understand at that age than it is probably not the right material to be teaching the child. I think a lot of times teachers don't look at the individual needs of a specific child. They just provide needs overall to a group of children. I think that giving each child individual attention will make the child feel cared for. I think for ECE teachers they need to provide support that is more than academics. There are many factors that can impact a child's development at school such as social and emotional. Teachers need to promote these aspects of development in order for children to be able to interact with other children. And for them to be able to express their feelings to others. I think it is important for students to practice and be able to apply what they learn in class to real life experiences and situations. For example, students can learn about animals in class and then they can go on a field trip to the zoo so they can see the animals they learned about. It is important for students to conceptualize what is taught in class and apply it outside of the classroom.
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Reply from ShaNice Patterson posted on May 19th 2015
I think its important for educators to ensure the overall success of children by allowing them learn that failure does not reflect who you are as a person. It just makes you stronger. In our society people look at failure as a bad things and will stop because something has become to hard for them. Its important to teach children that everything is a stepping stone to greater things. As educators we need to make sure that expectations are clear in our classroom and that the environment is engaging. We also need to understand that raising and teaching a child takes the parent and the teacher!
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Reply from Demetra Rozakis posted on May 19th 2015
It is important that children have successful readiness and preparedness for formal schooling experiences and ultimate life-long success. As educators, it is our goal to make sure children have everything they need to accomplish that goal. Throughout time education and the way it is taught will change. I think teachers do the best they can and there is always room for improvement in everything. Educators implement effective change in our pedagogy and approaches when engaging with young children and still uphold developmentally practices by being involved and working together. They must also reach out to others outside of the classroom.
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Reply from Patricia Gonzalez posted on May 17th 2015
It is clear that information and ways to teach are going to change after time. And although, through time education is going to change but through tactics of introducing the new information, rather then redefining education. I believe that the origin of learning and education will continue to be embedded, which is curiosity, when history changes through the roles of A teacher. A way teachers can continue the spark of education and learning is by having a positive attitude and excitement for learning. The teachers excitement and love for learning is what can assure children's readiness. Teachers need to be involved for students doors to be open. Students cant open doors if they dont know there is doors to be open. Therefore, no matter how much information is added to our textbooks, teachers involvement is what thrives education.
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Reply from Victoria Thomas posted on May 15th 2015
In order to prepare children I feel as though that they should be more exposed to the business world through activities in class and out. Also think that if we really are focus on preparing our children we should not "conduct business as usual." We should go above and beyond by teaching them basic principles like the importance of establishing long lasting relationships and being involved in after school clubs that can be life skills based. Later on in life being able to established relationships easily can be transferred into customer service skills which is very valuable in the business world. As for the life skills based clubs that be practice for the business world as well because the children will get used to keeping to a schedule.
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Reply from Jordan Milhous posted on May 15th 2015
Educators have all the tools they need in order for their children to be successful. I believe we should not put so much pressure on our children (K-2) but pressure comes from everywhere. I do not believe we should baby our younger children but they should be able to be socially active with other kids and should learn new things from the their environment. We should always maintain the status quo but educators should be able to teach that status in different ways so the children can be inspired and want to come to school. They should have the motivation to WANT to learn something new. Children should also be more involved in their community and the community should be involved in our children's education. It able's the children to become socially active in the community and they could learn so much from that. Stuff like that cannot be taught in the classroom. They have to go out in a safe environment experience real life scenarios, outside of the classroom.
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Reply from Amanda Huynh posted on May 15th 2015
It is important for children to establish a strong foundation to ensure successful readiness and preparation for formal schooling. Although it is suggested that children start learning before school-age, I believe it is important not to impose on children’s age-appropriate development. Before preschool or kindergarten (4 or 5 years old), I believe children are too young to be obliged to academic curriculum. During preschool and kindergarten, children should be allowed to develop social skills and learn classroom routines. Rather than changing the pedagogy and approaches in engaging younger children, educators may instead look into implementing effective changes in K-12 pedagogy. From what I recall through my educational history, the K-12 curriculum fails to effectively engage students in learning and involvement. Implementing changes that effectively promote learning and college readiness will help in life-long successes.
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Reply from Lindsey Pitts (Quail) posted on May 13th 2015
Children’s early interactions before even entering a classroom are going to affect the learning experiences and exchanges they receive once they start school. I think it is the job of the educator to advocate for children from diverse backgrounds and help inform families and communities about children’s educational practices before children enter the classroom. Most parents want the best for the kids and are willing to do what it takes to get it, yet not all parents are aware of developmentally appropriate practices in early development. To implement effective change parents need to be educated and children need to have equal access to early schooling to maintain the status quo. This will not only help children, but communities as well. To do this there needs to be community and teacher buy in to help support children and their families.
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Reply from Jagdish posted on May 9th 2015
Education should be regarded as a part of the socio-emotional and cultural environment that a child resides in. Often times educators and education policies engage in practices that simply focus on inputting information into the minds of children, rather than taking a whole child approach to teaching. Moreover, developmentally appropriate practices are forgotten when teachers engage in practices that are driven by standards. Each individual child has unique needs and capacities that need to be acknowledged in our education system. In order to ensure successful readiness and appropriates our education system needs to take a community approach to educating young children. Parents need to be educated about their children’s needs and teachers in the ECE level especially need to learn how to help parents facilitate their child’s learning. I believe the status quo needs to be changed. Education should not be concentrated on academics but also social, emotional, and cultural domains as well. In order to do this our teachers need to be trained in social, emotional, and cultural development to be able to foster a classroom that can cater to a vast majority of needs.
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Reply from Marisela Rivera posted on May 7th 2015
In my opinion, what is developmentally appropriate for one child may not be for another, despite being the same age. One thing that can change in terms of our pedagogy is to be willing to modify curriculum in preschool for children at different levels, but still be inclusive. Although many people are pushing for academics in preschool, I personally believe that preschool should be more social and a place where children learn structure, routine, and general concepts that will facilitate their learning in kindergarten. While mastering colors, shapes, and letters may be acceptable in preschool curriculum, learning addition, subtraction, and sounds of letters may not be. Headstart began with a social emotional component attached to it, but as preschool teachers are being demanded to focus on more academics, this component has been lost. The whole child needs to be taken into consideration; not only cognitive development. As educators, we can start with the parents. Parents are a child’s first teacher, and educating them on practices/activities they can do at home could greatly promote their child’s development across all domains and support what they are learning in preschool. For example, one thing that can be learned at preschool-age is self-regulation, which has the potential to provide chances for success for children and adults. If parents are taught strategies to appropriately teach their child, they can encourage their development across all domains.
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Reply from Maritza G posted on May 7th 2015
As educators, our goal is to not only teach children but immerse them in their own learning. We do this by being more than just an educator who follows the rules. We must go above and beyond teaching to effectively reach these children. Implementing real life lessons that are developmentally appropriate in current lesson planning can help children apply knowledge to real life settings. Utilizing different teaching strategies would help children use different ways to approach problems in school and in real life until they find the one that fits. Along with this, being culturally sensitive in educational practices and other practices would be ideal to ensure a child is not being left out or make him/her feel like he/she is alone. Along with all of this, as educators and professionals, there should be effort made to allow parents to be actively involved in their child's learning at school and at home. There should be flexibility and alternative for those parents who cannot be active participants at school. As educators, we are in charge of taking the whole child and help each part of their development.
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Reply from Elizabeth Cruz posted on May 7th 2015
As educators it is essential that we encourage all aspects of learning, especially literacy as it plays an essential role in the foundation of a child’s education. As educators the best way for us to help students be prepared for formal schooling is to enable parents to have resources to help their children learn the skills they will use through out their formal schooling. By giving the parents adequate resources we can be sure children know basic that will make kindergarten easier, such as their letters, colors, shapes, how to write their name. All basic skills that as parents we may not realize how essential they are yet when children begin kindergarten knowing these items it makes it much easier on a teacher. We can also offer workshops through our school to inform the parents how essential their role is in their child’s education.
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Reply from Seng posted on May 7th 2015
Reading and education are two most important aspects of knowledge that children should obtained in life. Children should have a place to help them read or encourage them to read. A great example would be to enrolled children into a literacy program that helps supports their reading. For instance, this program would have teachers that work with children how to learn to ABCs and then continue on to teach them learn how to read. This program could go on for months or on a yearly basic, and the child can starts at the reading level that helps them move onto using bigger words. Also, the program can offer rewards for completion of a reading level, and so this could also motivates children to read. Not only this is helpful, but there should be a program that invest in family literacy. This program would invite parents to come with their children and read with them, or the child can read to their parents who don't speak English. Since reading is an important part of our daily lives, it is essentially important to provide reading literacy to children so that they can learn to read and write.
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Reply from Angelina Marasigan posted on May 6th 2015
We as educators could better ensure children's successful readiness and preparedness for formal schooling experiences by collaborating with parents and families and involving them in the educational life of their children. I believe that we not only have the responsibility of educating the children, but to also educate the families. If children are being taught one thing but the parents and family members are teaching them something different, then it confuses the child and reject learning all together. I do not think that we should just just ignore the less fortunate and less literate children and conduct business as usual. I think they deserve lots of attention and support. In class we discussed "teaching to the middle" and I believe that this idea would be beset to implement change while still upholding developmentally appropriate practices. We would still be challenging the children at the high end of the achievement gap and provide support to those at the low end. I also think that another way to challenge the high end students would be to encourage peer teaching, for those children to positively guide, teach, and tutor those at the low end. This helps create a more positive atmosphere, the students teaching learn more because they have to teach it, and the students receiving the help are spoken to by more kid friendly vocabulary and engage socially while learning, which could boost their confidence.
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Reply from Arianna Oneto posted on May 6th 2015
Children need to have the tools to be successful in life. This encompasses academic skills as well as socioemotional skills. Many educators become narrowly focused on the end results and lose sight of the processes and engagements that each child encounters throughout the process of learning. To mold the minds of children and help them acquire the tool set for life, early childhood educators need to ensure that the entire child is considered in development; physical, cognitive, emotional, and social. When all aspects of the child are considered and nurtured, it is then that children develop an independent self that is motivated to continue learning throughout life. A child that has faced developmentally appropriate challenges, interacted with peers of all sorts, and learned how to regulate his or her emotions will be better equipped to face the situations and obstacles that formal schooling will present as well as those faced throughout life.
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Reply from Emily Elliott posted on May 6th 2015
As educators it is extremely important that we ensure successful readiness and prepare children for formal schooling as well as life long success. In order to do this we might work collaboratively with colleagues on the new common core curriculum and ways to implement it not only that but ensuring resources and technology as well as safe learning environments with the staff and faculty. As far as conducting business as "usual" and maintaining the status quo, educators do what they can under the circumstances they are given, however more can be done and improvements in the educational system are needed. In order to implement effective change while simultaneously upholding developmentally appropriate practices educators must work together, communicate and create relationships with family members, and reach out to businesses and universities for help and support.
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