Topics in Early Childhood Education

Monday, August 27, 2012

And School Begins...

It is that season again when most school systems begin a new academic year.  We started classes at the university last Monday, but most of the public school districts in our area begin in the next few days.  I took the opportunity last week to visit my student teaching candidates as they were helping their site teachers with classroom setup.  The old "beginning of the year" excitement was very evident in every school I visited.  I remember that excitement well as I enjoyed setting up my classroom every fall for almost 25 years.  Later this week, I will meet with my candidates and begin our semester-long course on classroom management.  To me, effectively managing a classroom is the key to everything for the year.  A teacher cannot teach successfully, or children learn successfully, without an effective classroom routine.  Research tells us that it is the attitude of the teacher that is the key factor in teaching reading, math, and other academic subjects.  My job this semester is to model for my student teachers how human development should be the foundation of that classroom management.  Our educational system is so focused on academic teaching that teachers don't receive a lot of support for meeting the needs of their students using developmental principles. Those principles are the key to understanding how students function. It is not just early childhood children who should reap the benefits of developmentally appropriate practice. Understanding the developmental stage of a 9 year-old will be a tremendous help for the teacher in a fourth grade classroom. My job is to help my group of future teachers understand those principles.