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Studying Children’s Learning

by An Interview with Darlene Nantarath by Margie Carter
May/June 2012
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/studying-childrens-learning/5020536/

As early childhood teachers and program directors try to navigate the tricky waters of play-based programming while addressing concerns about school readiness, they are often encouraged, if not mandated, to just adopt a proscribed 'research-based' curriculum. Most educators find it an arduous task to independently ground their teaching in a clear philosophy and translate research into effective child-centered practice. They haven't enough knowledge of different learning domains and their teacher training hasn't adequately prepared them to think through the complexities of this work. Most don't have collaborative work environments with provisions for ongoing reflection and professional development to nudge their thinking.

Many educators surrender to packaged curriculum planning, while others reject this approach and leave children to play without providing intellectually-engaging materials or projects. They may appreciate the children's play activities, but don't know how to analyze them for what they might offer next to provoke deeper inquiry. This often leads to bored children and disgruntled parents who feel the program isn't getting their children ready for school. No wonder the trend is to cycle back to worksheets or one of the 'easy to use' curriculum packages (promoted in most of our professional publications, conferences, or websites).

As I've written elsewhere (Carter, 2011), ...

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