The ability to create and maintain effective early childhood education programs that support and engage every child requires knowledge of individual children;knowledge of quality environmental design and strategies; and the ability to ensure that children relate to, engage in, and benefit from learning and play opportunities fueled by their passion and imagination. Creating such child-centered environments and curriculum in which play and discovery maintain an integral role in fostering healthy development and learning requires understanding the components of each of these practices as well as their effective application. In this Application Assignment, you will apply what you have been learning to an observation, interview, and reflection in an authentic early childhood education setting.
- Print out and review the Child-Centered Classroom Assessment and Interview Form.
- Add two factors that you believe will help you better assess the program and practices.
- Review the interview portion of the assignment, making sure you fully understand each question prior to making your observation/interview appointment.
- Make sure that you have all materials that you need to conduct the observation and interview prior to arriving at the scheduled observation/interview time. Keep in mind when scheduling your observation that in order to observe interactions with families, it is important to schedule your observation during a period of time when families will be present.
- Arrive on time.
- Choose a place to observe where you can see and hear but are unobtrusive.
- Conduct the interview in an area that is convenient for the professional, being respectful of his or her time schedule.
- Keep the following observation guidelines in mind:
- Try to not make assumptions; objectivity is essential.
- Record what you observe.
- Note any questions you would like to ask in the interview.
- Remember that you are observing one moment in time and so are not privy to specific circumstances and/or situations that may be affecting individual children or staff.
- Try to keep to the time span that you agreed upon for the observation and be sure to thank the teacher(s) in the room and the person you interview.
Reflect on your observation and interview. Review your notes and consider the knowledge and insights you gained from this experience. Include the following:
- Summarize your observation and interview experience.
- Describe the ways in which what you learned from your observation and interview reflected and/or contradicted what you have learned about effective programs and practice with regard to child-centered curriculum and play/discovery learning.
- Based on your assessment of the program’s effectiveness, what practices do you feel should be continued? What additional suggestions would you make? What is your rationale for these suggestions?
For this assignment, submit:
- Your completed Child-Centered Classroom Assessment and Interview Form
- Your Reflection, citing specific examples from your observation and interview