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Early Childhood Foundations and Born to Learn

Ages Birth to Five

Oregon's Early Childhood Foundations are learning guidelines that describe what children should know, understand and be able to do during the first five years of life. The Foundations support school readiness by promoting healthy child development, early learning and effective teaching strategies. They inform parents about healthy child development and assists parents in supporting their children. Additionally, the Early Childhood Foundations are intended to be used by early childhood providers and teachers working with young children in all settings across the early childhood system. Early childhood settings include child care centers, family child care homes, private preschools, Early Head Start/Head Start and others. Born to Learn is a companion document to the Early Childhood Foundations. It is a practical training manual developed to assist early childhood providers, teachers, and parents make the connection between what children are learning and how they can enhance that learning by aligning activities with the Early Childhood Foundations. Born to Learn is based on best practices for how children learn and describes quality early learning environments and experiences. It discusses how play-based activities and routines support children's development and learning.

Oregon Department of Education 255 Capitol Street NE Salem, OR 97310-0203 Oregon Department of Education, Office of Student Learning and Partnerships http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/results/?id=146 Ready for School Initiative http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=870

This product is made possible in whole or in part with funds from the Oregon Department of Education/Head Start Collaboration Project Department of Employment/Child Care Division Oregon Commission on Children & Families

Special Acknowledgement to: Nebraska Department of Education and Nebraska Health & Human Services System Kentucky Department of Education Head Start Child Outcomes Framework

Born to Learn

A Companion Document to the Early Childhood Foundations

Building Upon Early Childhood Foundations

Born to Learn

Building Upon Early Childhood Foundations

An Early Childhood Care and Education Partnership Project

Led and Facilitated by: Jennifer Olson, Early Childhood Director, Oregon Department of Education Dell Ford, Oregon Head Start Collaboration Project

Adapted from: Learning Through the Eyes of a Child Idaho Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education Authored by: Misten Antholz, Portland State University

Edited and Designed by: Misten Antholz, Portland State University Oregon Early Childhood Foundations Advisory Committee Funding provided by: Oregon Commission on Children and Families (Child Care Development Fund) Oregon Department of Education

Oregon Department of Education, Office of Student Learning and Partnerships Ready for School Initiative

http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=870

Acknowledgments

We are pleased to introduce Born to Learn, a guide for adults in all early childhood education environments across Oregon. This guide was originally developed in North Carolina as a "best teaching" guide for educators working with children in Kindergarten. The Idaho Department of Education later adapted the guide to meet the needs of educators working with children ages 3 to 5 years in center-based programs. We are very grateful to the Idaho Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education, for allowing us to share and modify this great resource, and thank all the teachers, experts and parents who played a role in the development of this guide. Born to Learn is based on best practices information on how young children learn, how quality early childhood environments and experiences should look, and how play-based activities and routines teach and support early literacy, math, science, social science, the arts, health, and social and emotional development. It is a practical tool to help early childhood providers make the connection between what children are learning and how they can enhance that learning by aligning activities with the Oregon Early Childhood Foundations. In Oregon, we would like to thank the Early Childhood Foundations Advisory Committee for their advice and guidance in the design and development of the Born to Learn guide. Membership includes the following early childhood partners: Mark Anderson, Child Care Subsidy Team, Dept. of Human Services Beverly Briggs, Center for Career Development in Childhood Care and Education, PSU Jody Burnham, Director, Community Action Head Start of Marion and Polk County Kim Cardona, Oregon Commission on Children and Families Barbara Carranza, Oregon Commission on Children and Families Alan Garland, Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education, Dept. of Education Merrily Haas, Director, Oregon Association for the Education of Young Children Nancy Johnson-Dorn, Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education, Dept. of Education Gayle McMurria-Bachik, Specialist, Oregon Head Start Pre-Kindergarten, Dept. of Education Mary Nemmers, Director, Child Care Resource and Referral Network Tom Olsen, Director, Child Care Division, Employment Department Dianna Pickett, Office of Family Health, Dept. of Human Resources Holly Reed Schindler, Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education, Dept. of Education Danny Santos, Head Start Collaboration Project Liaison, Office of the Governor Kathy Seubert, Office of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Dept. of Human Resources Bobbie Weber, Oregon Research Child Care Partnership, OSU Family Policy Program We gratefully acknowledge the work of Misten Antholz who authored the Oregon additions for the guide. These additions included the Introduction, and "Birth to Three" and "Activities and Routines" sections. We also acknowledge and appreciate her work on editing and designing the guide. You can find this guide, along with the Oregon ECF, on our website at http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/results/?id=146 . We dedicate this guide to the many wonderful early childhood professionals who are serving Oregon's young children and families.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................................... ACTIVITIES/ROUTINES ..........................................................................................................

MEALTIME ......................................................................................................................... DRESSING ......................................................................................................................... BATHROOM & OTHER SELF-HELP ........................................................................................ BOOKS & QUIET TIME ......................................................................................................... PLAY ................................................................................................................................. ARTS & CRAFTS ................................................................................................................. MUSIC ............................................................................................................................... CIRCLE .............................................................................................................................. OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES .........................................................................................................

LEARNING CENTERS ............................................................................................................

BLOCKS ............................................................................................................................ SAND AND WATER

.............................................................................................................

ART ................................................................................................................................... DRAMATIC PLAY ................................................................................................................ MANIPULATIVES................................................................................................................. SCIENCE & DISCOVERY ...................................................................................................... BOOKS & READING ............................................................................................................ WRITING & PRINTING .......................................................................................................... OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

........................................................................................................

ORGANIZING LEARNING CENTERS..................................................................................... OREGON EARLY CHILDHOOD FOUNDATIONS ..................................................................

Introduction

This Guide to Teaching

Born to Learn was created to provide parents and other early childhood providers in Oregon a practical, everyday reference for teaching infants and young children what they need to learn to prepare for Kindergarten, which in Oregon is referred to as the Early Childhood Foundations (ECF). The Oregon ECF address what children, ages birth to five, need to know, understand and be able to do. They were designed by parents and professionals across the state, representing various early childhood groups, with the intent to help children acquire important developmental skills and concepts across all areas of development necessary for his/her later success and school readiness. "Research has established a clear and compelling connection between the quality of children's learning experiences and later success in school and life." ("Starting Early Starting Now," Education Commission of the States, 2001). This guidebook recognizes three important aspects of supporting learning for infants and young children. First and foremost, it recognizes that learning can be successful only in the context of positive adult relationships, both at home and in other early childhood care and education environments. It recognizes that "play" is a child's work, and it is through their play that they grow and learn. It also acknowledges the importance of developmentally appropriate assessment. How children feel is as important as how they think, particularly with regard to student readiness. ~From Neurons to Neighborhoods, 2000 To promote the development and learning of young children, Born to Learn brings together basic information about organizing your space, ideas for enhancing learning opportunities, and techniques for connecting children's progress with the expectations of the Oregon ECF. In each of the two sections, Activities and Routines and Learning Centers, common routines, activities and areas found in the homes and learning centers of infants and young children are identified and aligned to the Oregon ECF. For example, this guide provides information for addressing self-help skills at Mealtime, whether it is provided at home or at preschool. So, wherever you sit down to eat with a child, the idea is that you can take the information provided in the Activities and Routines section and apply it. The same goes for the Learning Centers section. If you have a Blocks area in your preschool or home, you can take this information and apply it to your block play with children. The hope is that while a child is participating in any of the specified activities or learning centers, parents and other providers can focus the child's learning on the identified skills he/she needs to learn. Then, once the focus is on learning these identified skills for later success, it is important to select a method of assessing the child's progress. This guide is in no way intended to narrowly prescribe how adults should teach or assess children, nor does it attempt to be comprehensive. Rather, our hope is that it will prove to be a useful and much-used resource, as well as an inspiration for everyone in the early childhood education family.

Early childhood education practice and research have found that a child's emotional, social, and cognitive developments are interdependent. ~Helen Gordon CDC, Portland, OR

The instruction, exploration and discovery that takes place in play-centered early childhood environments mean much more than some people may realize. By As greater focus is placed upon children's academic focusing on developing the whole child ­ socially, performance in the early years, developmentally emotionally, physically and intellectually ­programs can appropriate early childhood programs are being put in provide a nurturing, safe environment that helps children the spotlight. Widespread concerns about the quality of enter their first years of formal schooling with a love of education have resulted in an increased emphasis on learning, an ability to socialize well with others, academics and standardized testing in recent years, even problem-solving skills, and a desire to master all encompassing the youngest learners. Children are subjects. Early learning is more than just singing the obviously having fun in these bustling, busy programs, alphabet song or counting, it is using a variety of but are they learning what they need to get ready for materials and experiences to become a curious, ready school? learner.

Play and Learning

The evidence might surprise parents and providers alike ­ and also reassure them. Early childhood programs organized around learning centers and interactive activities do teach children what they need to know, but in a way that relates to an infant and young child's level of development and approach to learning. Children learn best when their feeling side is nurtured. ~Living Wisdom School, Beaverton, OR An important thing we know about young children is that they learn best when allowed to actively explore their environment, often interpreted as "play". They try to make sense of common objects by prying into them, taking them apart and manipulating them in a variety of ways. As they build with blocks, they are considering size, proportion and numbers that will build later math skills. As they draw, cut, create patterns, glue and paint, they develop the arm and hand muscles needed for handwriting. In these critical years, infants and young children build their understanding of their world ­ in language, mathematics, science, social science and the arts ­ while developing social skills in sharing and interacting with peers. Each achievement ­ language and learning, social development, the emergence of self-regulation ­ occurs in the context of close relationships with others. ~from Neurons to Neighborhoods, 2000

Early learning is also achieved by practicing and promoting good health, social, and emotional development, as well as preventing illness and injury. Research and empirical evidence support the concept that children who are healthy and well cared for at home and in their early care settings have the optimum opportunity for successful developmental growth. This means children must be well fed and nourished, receive appropriate immunizations and have the emotional supports necessary for healthy brain development. You can't educate a child who isn't healthy and you can't keep a child healthy who isn't educated. ~M. Jocelyn Elders, M.D.

former Surgeon General U.S. Public Health Service

In teaching young children, the deskwork and drill-andpractice curricula common to upper grades are still considered highly risky. The National Association for the Education of Young Children, in its official position statement on school readiness, notes: "Whether the result of parental pressures or the push to improve student performance on standardized tests, children entering kindergarten are now typically expected to be ready for what previously constituted the first-gradecurriculum. As a result, more children are struggling and failing." A failure at five? Research has shown that children can successfully learn early reading and mathematics skills during activities and daily routines. For example, during snack time children read picture recipes to make snack, or count out enough napkins to set the table. Many such opportunities occur throughout the day, in the home as well as the classroom, and adults should take advantage of these to help children practice and learn.

It's important that we remember what infants and young children are like. Developing and changing at a rapid rate, they arrive at early childhood programs with widely varying skills, maturity and needs. Many children are trying things for the first time. Though naturally curious and enthusiastic, their attention span is limited, they can tire easily and they tend to be wary of the unfamiliar. A room carefully arranged with blocks and books, sand and water tables, painting easels and tiny chairs, can provide them with an opportunity to see that learning can be fun.

Relationships and Learning

construct positive peer relationships, and adjust to the demands of formal schooling" (Eager to Learn, p. 49, 2001). Though the relationship a child has with his/her educator is crucial to later achievements, a child's home language, knowledge, traditions and family expectations and experiences are the primary influences on development. Consistent, nurturing relationships within the family and community promote learning and secure, successful children. An example of this relationship is provided in the diagram below. This diagram from the Circle of Security Early Intervention Program represents a way to a safe and secure attachment between the adult and child.

Research on early learning informs us that infants and In developing positive adult-child relationships, it is young children learn best in rich environments, through important to remember to: interactions with peers and in strong relationships with Engage in one-to-one interactions with children well-trained adults. Children learn through daily Get on the child's level for face-to-face experiences and interactions with people, places and interactions things. Relationships, play, curiosity, new experiences Use a pleasant, calm voice and simple language and exploring their world provide infants and young Provide warm, responsive physical contact children the foundations for learning. How children feel Follow the child's lead and interest during play about themselves and how they interact with others and Help children understand expectations ideas impact their view of themselves as learners. Redirect children when they engage in challenging behavior In an early childhood development book put out by the Listen to children and encourage them to listen to National Research Council, researchers shared the others following information. "Children with more positive Acknowledge children for their accomplishments teacher-child relationships appear more able to exploit and efforts the learning opportunities available in classrooms, From M.M. Ostrosky, E.Y. Jung and the CSEFEL

Observation and OnOn-Going Assessment

It can be very difficult to assess the skills of children birth to five years due to the rapid, varied development associated with young children, as well as the vast differences in backgrounds, experiences and primary languages. Though formal assessment plays a valuable role in helping to evaluate overall progress toward educational goals, a specific pointin-time formal assessment may not capture rapid changes and differences in a child's rate of development. In response to this issue, observations and on-going assessment are a valued approach to supplement periodic formal assessment when working in the home or classroom setting with young children. Whether using a formal assessment or conducting on-going observations, an environment built around routines and learning centers provides an ideal setting for making observations and recording behaviors that are a natural and ongoing part of learning. Advocates of this approach, known as developmentally appropriate assessment, point out that young children are more likely to perform at their best when engaged in interesting and meaningful projects. For example, reading and writing activities embedded in block and dramatic play give a better picture of competence than skills testing. Through frequent and consistent observation of a child's work, and with an understanding of child development and skills, the adult is able to get a stronger picture of the child's progress. Using this information, the adult can then focus instructional activities to meet each child's cognitive, social/emotional and physical needs. This guidebook offers many examples of informal assessment techniques, such as those described to the right. These examples are designed to support best practices and show how to meet the goals set forth in the Oregon ECF.

Gathering Data

Create portfolios of art, writings, photos, tapes, lists of favorite books providing a meaningful file of information that tracks a child's development over time. Here are a few effective techniques: · · · Frequently observe children performing typical tasks in comfortable circumstances. Jot down dated, brief, objective notes (on sticky notes, labels or index cards) that can be transferred easily to files or folders. Keep recording materials readily available in several places around the classroom or in a pocket or fanny pack. Keep a pencil or pen on a chain in your pocket or around your neck.

Collect samples of both spontaneous and structured work in the range of curricular objectives. Observe how children: · Use language in talking about themselves and interacting with others. · Demonstrate their understanding of the function and conventional forms of written language. · Use mathematical concepts and skills in daily classroom life. · Use language, writing, reading and mathematics in demonstrating an understanding of science, social studies, the arts and physical education. Plan for structured work samples collected during typical daily activities but at a designated time and place. A card game can indicate a child's understanding of number concepts; a conversation about a story can gauge a child's language and reasoning skills. In early childhood programs, appropriate assessment: · Reflects the ongoing life of the room and typical activities of the children · Avoids approaches that place children in artificial situations · Relies on demonstrated performance during real, not contrived, activities.

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