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Examining Curriculum Issues

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Introduction

TMA 03 E230 Examining Curriculum Issues Part 1 In this assignment I will discuss how the areas of language, mathematics and science are described within the Foundation Stage Guidance, how learning is assessed within this guidance and how inclusion issues are addressed. I will discuss my role in planning an activity that engages children in all of these three areas. Then I will examine the curriculum that follows on from the Foundation Stage and the way in which these two frameworks are bridged. Finely, I will compare the Foundation Stage Curriculum to a different approach to early year's education. My setting, a nursery school follows the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage which was published in May 2000, and was introduced with the objective of helping practitioners in planning to meet the educational needs of all children between the ages of three and five in England. The Education act established the foundation stage as part of the National Curriculum in 2002. All government funded settings in England are required to utilize this guidance when implementing the curriculum. The Foundation Stage Curriculum is organised into six areas of learning: Personal, social and emotional development, Communication, language and literacy, Mathematical development, Knowledge and understanding of the world, Physical development and Creative development. I will discuss how the three areas; language, mathematics and science are described within this guidance. ...read more.

Middle

Therefore this activity is considered to be cross-curricular. It was evident that this activity continued to develop learning in the areas of science, language and literacy and science. For example; initially as we began to prepare the earth by digging the children came across worms and other creatures and they became interested in what these creatures were, where they lived, what they ate, etc leading to discussions regarding the creatures we had discovered (KUW). While planting the seeds we looked at, read and followed the seed packets directions (Communication, Language and Literacy), and during the actual seed planting we discussed the different sizes of seeds, the amount of space needed between the seeds and also the amount of water we needed to give to the seeds and predicted how big the flowers were going to grow. (Mathematical Development). The children used fine motor skills (pincer grip) to handle the seeds (CLL). We discussed what seed need to grow (sun and water) and how they would turn into a plant (KUW). This activity related and built on the children's previous knowledge, this was evident by looking at areas of the children's foundation stage profile assessments which track the children's current level of knowledge. The Open University states that practitioners need to 'assess children's current knowledge in order to be able to take it further'. (Block 3, Pg 51) ...read more.

Conclusion

In contrast the Reggio Emilia System does not have a written curriculum neither does it follow a centralized, prescriptive approach like with the Foundation Stage, instead it follows an 'emergent curriculum'. This means that the children's interests are what influence the choice of topics and also indicates the length of these topics. The Foundation Stage Curriculum is academically orientated. The main focus of the curriculum is that of the future academic student and the preparation needed to ensure academic success once the child reached primary school at the age of five. During the Foundation Stage years the student's success is measured through assessments, formal observations and check lists. In contrast Reggio Emilia aims to make the child the centre of the curriculum and takes a social cultural approach to education. Success is measured by recording each individual child's process of learning which could be in the form of a project and not through the unified check lists and formal observations encouraged by the Foundation Stage Guidance. There is an ongoing debate about the idea that the introduction of subject based learning into the foundation stage is 'too much, too soon' and that the pressures of meeting the national standards within primary school settings are having a trickle-down effect, and effecting the way practitioners implement the foundation stage curriculum. The debate as to what is the most appropriate way to educate children in the pre-school years is ongoing and I believe that as new information is discovered in the area of early childhood development, curriculum models worldwide will continue to evolve. ...read more.

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