Jul 09

Idealism and Educational Practices

The Encyclopedia Britannica describes the philosophy of idealism as “any view that stresses the central role of the ideal or the spiritual in the interpretation of experience” (Robinson, 2013). As an early childhood educator, the learner has been involved in providing experiences to and for her students so they can gain ownership of their learning and educational journeys. When young students are involved in their learning, then they are more apt to accomplish and achieve desired outcomes. During the younger pre-kindergarten years of education, classroom play-based learning has a large impact on student ownership. Teachers understand the need for play in the classroom; however, parents must be more strongly convinced of this need. “While teachers and parents generally expressed support for play in the preschool curriculum, parents were more likely to cite specific skills as indicators of readiness” (Hatcher, 2012). Parents want to see their children having classroom experiences and having fun, but they often fail to see that they are learning while playing. Teachers must train parents as well in the educational practices of young children and the reality that they are learning and accomplishing the necessary skills for school readiness.

One strength of students taking ownership of their learning environments and activities allows students to work to understand what they are learning, how they are learning, and why they are learning the material rather than being fed the material in rote or lecture form. They are presented with a hands-on approach to learning in which they can discover and explore the material at their own level. A weakness of this method of learning is the great deal of preparation time demand on teachers, as they must provide different learning methods to meet the different learning styles of students. This experiential learning technique allows students to become collaborative learners along with teachers to accomplish developmental milestones and standards.

Hatcher, B. (2012). Kindergarten Readiness and Preschools: Teachers’ and Parents’ Beliefs Within and Across Programs. Early Childhood Research & Practice, 14(2). Retrieved from http://capella.summon.serialssolutions.com/searchs.q=idealism+in+early+childhood

Robinson, D. (2013). Idealism. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/281802/idealism

Jul 05

Learning through Play in Pre-K

learningcenters“Play is one of the fundamental principles of developmentally appropriate practices because it allows children to explore their world, interact with each other and adults, and develop symbolic representation and problem solve, all of which serve as the foundation for later school success” (Manwaring, 2011, 6). Classroom play and exploration is essential for young students in their quests to pursue lifelong learning habits as they prepare for later school years and acquire skills to carry on into adulthood. Classroom learning centers are the primary source of play for young students, yet have reduced time frames and have become teacher-directed to the point that students are unable to explore centers on their own learning styles. “Center Time, the primary vehicle of child directed activity and inquiry, is shorter and highly structured by the teacher” (Manwaring, 2011, 7). The lack of freedom in center-based play in the pre-kindergarten classroom has led to fears of students being unprepared for kindergarten. The research involved in this study will allow the learner to explore reasons teachers are not allowing center-based play in the classroom so young students can learn through discovery and exploration on their learning levels and styles.

One study indicated that, while teachers provided lessons and activities in classroom learning centers, they were unaware of the developmental milestones with which these activities met (Kirschenbaum, 2000, 12). “Teachers received a multitude of developmentally appropriate hands-on activities to do in their classrooms, yet they were not receiving the theoretical and research foundations to explain why these activities were done and what children learned from them” (Kirschenbaum, 2000, 14). A portion of the research problem is revealed in previous studies that teachers receive ideas and information to include activities in their lesson plans, but they do not receive information and knowledge to support these activities. Due to the lack of knowledge of developmentally appropriate practices, teachers are unable to teach appropriately and provide adequate kindergarten readiness skills and student preparation. The researcher must work to provide teachers with the proper training and modeling techniques to ensure teachers are prepared for their proper roles as early childhood professionals.

Although the early childhood years are seen as formative years in young students’ educational lives, “VPK (Voluntary Prekindergarten) teachers are not only expected to institute a developmentally appropriate curriculum and to align their classroom practice with the benchmarks, they are also expected to do this without targeted training or support” (Breffni, 2011, 177). Without this essential training and support, teachers are unprepared for the classroom administrative requirements for leading and guiding students for kindergarten preparedness and readiness. For teachers to adequately teach and prepare students, they must be given the proper training, guidance, and knowledge to implement classrooms that foster environments of play through discovery and exploration. Studies indicate that teachers are untrained and ill equipped with adequate means and knowledge to structure classrooms for center-based play; therefore, students are not given the freedom of learning through play and discovery on their individual learning styles.


Stegelin, D. A. (2005). Making the case for play policy: Research-based reasons to support play-based environments. YC Young Children, 60(2), 76-85. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.library.capella.edu/docview/197688222?accountid=27965

National Association for the Education of Young, C. (2009). Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8. Position Statement. National Association For The Education Of Young Children.

Evangelou, D., Dobbs-Oates, J., Bagiati, A., Liang, S., & Choi, J. (2010). Talking about Artifacts: Preschool Children’s Explorations with Sketches, Stories, and Tangible Objects. Early Childhood Research & Practice, 12(2).

Kirshenbaum, K. (2000, January 1). Helping Preschool Teachers Implement Developmentally Appropriate Child Care Practices Utilizing a 4-Point Strategy To Prepare Preschoolers for Kindergarten Readiness.

Breffni, L. (2011). Impact of Curriculum Training on State-Funded Prekindergarten Teachers’ Knowledge, Beliefs, and Practices. Journal Of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 32(2), 176-193.

Manwaring, J. S. (2011). High stakes play: Early childhood special educators’ perspectives of play in pre-kindergarten classrooms. (Order No. 3482739, University of South Florida). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 152. Retrieved from             http://search.proquest.com.library.capella.edu/docview/910540991?accountid=27965. (prod.academic_MSTAR_910540991).


Jun 26

Easy Octopus preschool art

This octopus is an easy art project for young toddlers and 2-year-old preschool students. Use a large sheet of white paper. Cut slits about half-way up the paper. Roll the paper into a tube shape and tape or staple it together. Decorate a face with eyes.


Jun 26

Handprint Crabs

This art project is great for a preschool theme on Beach Week. Paint the young students’ hands with red paint and place their handprints on construction paper. Add eyes to the end of the thumbprints.

This could be a frame-able picture to keep for years like the footprint lobster.


Jun 26

Sprinkler Day Fun in Preschool

We put the recycled 2-liter bottle sprinkler to use on Water Day in Preschool Summer Camp as a part of the Beach Week Theme.


Jun 24

Transportation Week in Preschool

During Transportation Week in preschool summer camp, the students learned about the progression of vehicles and transportation throughout the years of history.

They started the week with a visit from a horse and hearing how horses were used on farms as well as modes of transportation.

Then they had visits from classic cars: a 1915 Model T and a 1955 Chevy. They loved hearing the different horns and seeing the different seats and seatbelts. These cars were so much different from their cars they ride in today.

Then the preschool students were given the freedom to build their own cars and trucks out of art materials consisting of foam pieces and bottle caps. IMG_1877IMG_1882


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