"Play is as fundamental human disposition as loving and working. . . . It is important for us to communicate to families, administrators, and legislators that children's play is a biological imperative, essential to healthy early childhood growth and development. For young children play is not, as it is for adults, an optional activity." D. Elkind 2005
I believe in the importance of play, parent involvement, emergent curriculum, and having a beautiful environment for children. These few aspects foster competence and confidence in children that will stay with them throughout their entire life enabling them to achieve great success and experience much joy.
Play provides opportunities for children to reduce stress, experience delight, foster friendships, develop social skills and a sense of self. It also promotes optimal brain development at the most vital time for children’s cognitive development; when they are little sponges. Working together with parents to link home and school is of utmost importance in meeting the needs of a child as an individual. Parent involvement ensures security and education for all involved. After all parents’ are the child’s first teachers, and may be one of the most important role models in their life.
An emergent curriculum is one that builds upon the interests of children. Topics for study are captured from the talk of children, through community or family events, as well as the known interests of children (puddles, shadow, dinosaurs, etc.). This requires attentive listening! Team planning is an essential component of the emergent curriculum too. Group work, both large and small, is necessary to advance cognitive development. Children should be encouraged to talk, critique, compare, negotiate, hypothesize, and problem-solve with one another. Great attention should be given to the look and feel of the classroom. Environment is considered the "third teacher" in the Regio Emilia philosophy and I definitely agree. Space for small and large group projects, comfy intimate spaces for cozy reading, a dramatic play area, arts and crafts, discovery units, and class pets should be carefully organized! The outdoors should be just as detailed and cared for. Filling the classroom with warm colors and the children’s work (art and literature) at their eye level is a great way to make them feel important, secure and welcome in their classroom.
This is my frame work of the basic components that I believe have the heaviest influence and makes the biggest difference in the lives of children.