Theory and Curriculum

A wide array of educational philosophies circulate through the field. Some professionals adhere to more of a behaviorist theory as developed by John B. Watson, B. F. Skinner and Edward Thorndike. Others hold to the more unstructured maturationist theory popularized by Jacques Rousseau and Maria Montessori. Additionally, stage theories such as those of Sigemund Freud and Erik Erikson are used to look at social and emotional development. Currently early childhood teacher education programs teach a mix of theories dominated by the constructivism (learning theory) theory as put forth by Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky.

Each philosophy forms the under girding theory behind its own selection of school curriculum used throughout the world. Behaviorist ideas dominant direct instruction methods. Constructivist ideas dominate curriculums like High/Scope. While maturational theory is the under pining for Montessori. A mix of maturationist and constructionist ideas supply the base theory for the Reggio Emilia approach.

The curriculum in a "Head Start" program is designed to meet the needs of each child. One goal is to build self-esteem that is seen as necessary to future success in school. Staff encourage self-confidence, curiosity, and self-discipline. A variety of learning experiences are designed to meet the children's needs in the various areas of development. Staff should work as a team to implement the new government issued curriculum and teach children, based on their interest and in a fun way. Parent involvement should be the heart of the program. Preschool children must be provided with early literacy, awareness and intervention in order to perform better during the later years. This will lead the to success once they enter schools,and put them on the right track by being well prepared with the right and appropriate equipment.

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