Online Companion: Beginning Essentials in Early Childhood Education
Chapter 3: Defining the Young Child
- How does the concept
of the whole child support the concept of the uniqueness of each child?
- Describe how teachers
take into account differences and similarities when they plan programs
for young children.
- Why is it important
to include cultural identity milestones in the Word Pictures in this
- Why is PL-457 important?
- What is NAEYC's
position on inclusion?
- To help students
apply developmental theory to understand the growth and behavior of
the children they teach.
theory tells us that each child is different. How do you see this
expressed in an early childhood classroom? What do you think are
the reasons for these individual differences? How do they affect
the teacher's role and attitude?
theory tells us that children are alike. What characteristics do
you see in young children that support this theory? How does this
affect program planning for a group?
- To help students
see the relationship between children with special needs and their own
- How do you
think children with special needs are similar to children who do
not have a disability?
- Select several
manipulative toys from the preschool. Create a plan that would show
how these materials would be adapted for a gifted preschooler and
a kindergartner with delayed cognitive abilities.
- To help students
see that young children's development is affected by racial, cultural,
gender, and ability bias.
- Describe ways
you would communicate with a child where there is a difference between
the home and school in regard to spoken language and the way it
is used. How would you turn different communication backgrounds
into advantages, rather than disadvantages?
- The common
ground with all families is the well-being of their children. How
do you support child-rearing practices if they differ from the way
you were raised?
- Begin a collection
of posters, materials, books, magazines, and other resources that
show interracial families.
WEB ACTIVITY AND
Topic: Promoting School
Readiness for Vulnerable Children
Go to the National
Black Child Development Institute's Web site at http://www.nbcdi.org/
and explore what their site has to offer. Find "Defining the Cross Cultural
Partnership Project" and the "Current Focus" icon on the Cross Cultural
Partnership Project page. After reading about the current and future goals
of this project:
- Research a school
that has benefited from task force efforts of the Cross Cultural Partnership
- Develop your own
strategy for promoting school readiness and quality early care and education
for vulnerable children, and discuss how you might implement it.
Reflect on These
- How does the mission
of this organization foster a greater understanding of the whole child?
- How do the resources
promote cultural sensitivity?
- Do you think every
minority culture should have its own advocacy organization like this
one? Defend your answer.
ANNOTATED WEB SITES
Children and Adults
with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
CHADD is a national
non-profit organization that serves individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD). This Web site provides information and support through
fact sheets, articles and resources, and local support and services. The
National Resource Center library is available through this site and offers
books and articles for professionals, parents, and educators to learn
more about ADHD.
The American Academy
of Pediatrics Web site is dedicated to the attainment of optimal physical,
mental, and social health and well-being for all infants and children.
Professional and educational resources are available on-line in such topics
as ADHD, developmental stages, obesity, media, and discipline, to name
Council for Exceptional
The Council for Exceptional
Children and its Division of Early Childhood offers a voice and vision
for special education. Products, publications, news updates, professional
standards, and accreditation are available through this site. Samples
of their journals, Exceptional Children and Teaching Exceptional Children,
also can be found at the site. Discussion forums on topics such as autism,
discipline, and inclusion are available.
The Arc (formerly
National Association of Retarded Citizens)
The Arc is a national
organization of and for people with mental retardation and related developmental
disabilities and their families. The Web site has a number of position
statements related to critical issues for children and adults with mental
retardation, including inclusion, human and civil rights, quality of life,
advocacy, early intervention, and family support position statements.
Circle of Inclusion
The Circle of Inclusion
Web site is for early childhood service providers and families of young
children. It offers demonstrations of and information about the effective
practice of inclusive educational programs for children from birth through
age 8. Methods and practices are available, as are statements on accommodation,
accessibility, and awareness. Many materials can be downloaded for use.
Answers to Chapter
- The concept of
the whole child is based on the principles that all areas of human growth
are interrelated. Physical, social/emotional, intellectual, and language
development are intertwined and mutually supportive. Each child is the
sum of all of those areas of growth and, as such, is unique and different
from anyone else.
- Teachers take differences
and similarities into account by first planning individual and group
activities according to the age level of the children in the class.
Planning begins around the known similarities of an age level and the
developmental tasks and age-appropriate behaviors common to that group
of children, including those with special needs. Teachers then observe
children and change the goals and activities in accordance with individual
children's needs and progress. Activities allow for a variety of responses
and uses from children at different stages of development. Planning
for variations in stages of development is one way teachers can foster
the uniqueness of each child.
- The cultural milestones
make the connection between developmental stages and the awareness of
one's culture. They can enhance a child's sensitivity and attitude toward
- PL-457, the Education
and Handicapped Amendments Act of 1986, has had a profound impact on
early childhood educators. Sections of this law provide funding for
children who were not included in the previous law, particularly infants,
toddlers, and three- to five-year-olds. Parents of children with special
needs became part of the process through the child's Individualized
Education Plan, and their role has been strengthened in other areas.
This law also allows for the inclusion of youngsters who are "developmentally
delayed" and "at risk" children. The vague definition leaves more of
the determination for services up to local agencies.
- Written by the
Division of Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children,
NAEYC adopted this policy in 1993 that supports the rights of all children,
regardless of their abilities, to participate actively in a "natural
setting" within their community. They define such a setting as one in
which the child would have spent time had he or she not had a disability.
They further support the right of the child to access health and social
services and educational services for young children and their families.
The policy continues to support the rights of families to have these
services based on their own preferences and needs.