Topics in Early Childhood Education

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Developmental Guidelines

I can understand the concern posted by "anonymous" on this blog site. The posting indicates a concern with the developmental order of preschool standards when children progress at different rates. I do not think that having a plan of developmental guidelines precludes the individual rate of growth for children. Even though children progress at different rates, it is still essential for teachers to organize their teaching strategies in developmental order. It is true that not all children will have mastered all preschool skills prior to kindergarten. However, it is the responsibility of the preschool teacher to know where the child is functioning on the continuum of standards. I think having a developmental guidelines plan helps the teacher to individualize and track the progress of each child. In my work with Head Start and with the Excelligence Learning Corporation, I have tried, with other early childhood professionals, to hone preschool skills and indicate when a developmental progression occurs within those guidelines. There are approximately 68-70 preschool skills in the eight domains of learning (domains similar to those of the Head Start program). While literacy, math and science have a definite developmental order for the skills, areas such as creative arts, social emotional stages and physical health have skills that can be worked on simultaneously. The real issue behind my earlier entries is that many teachers do not realize that some preschool skills have a scope and sequence to build upon and should not be haphazardly introduced in random order.