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Early Years Curriculum

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The Early Years Curriculum "Only by listening to the questions (verbal and non-verbal) children ask we will be able to develop the perfect curriculum." Griffiths R. (1935) This report has been set out to demonstrate a range of theories and their philosophy on four different curricular approaches, being; Reggio Emilia, Montessori, Steiner and Forest schools. As every child is unique, there are a number of factors that influence a child's learning. This report will discuss how these approaches have influenced current best practice, meeting every child's needs by having an effect on the curricular guidance in the UK. It will also make recommendations for development in the setting I work in, enabling effective learning and positive interaction, focusing on issues relating to inclusion and anti-discriminatory practice in order to provide them with equal opportunities that will create holistic development. As development occurs rapidly during the early years, every stage of development should control the learning they are offered, meeting each child's needs. Early year's settings should focus on promoting care and learning opportunities for young children making it stimulating and rewarding. All the four approaches have taken into account that children's brains thrive on stimulation and new experiences, and play can extend children's development and learning. The findings of the EPPE project also suggest; that it is not enough to create a stimulating environment and simply let children play, as children learn best when staff actively teach them. This means modelling appropriate language and behaviour, sharing intelligent conversations, asking open-ended questions and using play to motivate and encourage them. The early year's curriculum is based on key theories of how children learn and current early years practice has grown out of the work of early years educators. By incorporating their ideas into forming the curriculum, early year's settings encourage learning through first-hand experience. We will look into the four approaches and see how they have been embedded into the Early Years Foundation Stage by setting the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five. ...read more.


(Edmunds, F. 1979: p24). The objects of play in Steiner schools are simple so that the child can dress them with his or her own imagination as a child sees everything to be alive and real. Even today Steiner schools exist, and they are distinctly different from other schools. In the 1970s, 80s and 90s, United Kingdom and other parts of the world saw the formation of new Steiner Schools. Its founder was so self-motivated that everyone concerned knows that he would not have allowed his school to stay as it was, but would have found new and creative ways to meet the changing needs of present times. Nowadays it seems difficult for the people involved to know what course to take, without losing the essence of education that was brought to the world by Rudolf Steiner. "Education must no longer be regarded only as a matter of teaching children, but as a social question of the highest importance, because it is the one question that concerns all mankind." (Montessori M, date unknown) Born in Italy in 1870, Maria Montessori moved to Rome with her parents in 1875 at the age of five. Maria Montessori is often referred to as "ahead of her time". Throughout her life Maria Montessori had a particular interest in the development of children, especially those with special needs. She learned from the work of others, but evolved her own theories and believed that 'the child was a truly miraculous being' and later on Steiner adopted this fact from Montessori. In 1906, Maria Montessori founded the first "Children's House". Montessori discovered how naturally young children adapted and enjoyed learning everyday tasks. The Montessori Method focuses on the individuality of each child in respect of their needs or talents as its goal is to help the child maintain their natural joy of learning. Some of the inventions of Maria Montessori are:- * Sand paper alphabets and the Spinda boxes. ...read more.


The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework has realised the need to provide the materials, opportunities, interactions and experiences that allow children to pursue their own interests and be creative. This is done by stimulating them through motivation but not overloading them with the things we want them to be interested in. The concept of supporting children's development through their interest has been outlined in Tender care and Early Learning from High Scope and is currently used by Birth to Three Matters focussing on children's strengths and interests. Reggio Emilia and Forest Schools provide models of excellence in developing high quality physical environment and this has been taken up by the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. The Living, Loving and Learning exhibition (1999) and the British Association for Early Childhood Education explains the main principles and purpose of physical environment as it is essential in our work with young children that we consider the outdoors as a natural 'extension' of our indoor learning environment, as very young children need to be offered the opportunity to move and think freely. This is vital for their physical growth and development of their minds. Advancing children's physical and intellectual competence is the heart of much of the early childhood curriculum. Montessori and Steiner do not use display boards to celebrate children's achievements and this would go against the principles of Reggio Emilia, who believe it to be an ideal way of communication with parents, who can view their children's experiences and learning on wall panels in the form of annotated photographs and displayed work. It is an important documentation inviting parents to feel close to their children's experiences in the setting. This approach has been considered by the setting and there are a number of display boards for different age groups. Central to the work of Reggio Emilia, Montessori, Steiner and Forest Schools is the notion of inclusion of all children whatever their needs and backgrounds. In conclusion, according to Yousif,T (2000),"Like seeds, nourish children and they shall grow and bloom. ...read more.

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