THE CHILD-CENTEREDCURRICULUMReporter: Yolanda Teves Sobrepeña
“Children are strong, rich, and capable. All children have preparedness, potential, curiosity, and interest in constructing their learning, negotiating with everything their environment brings to them.” -Louise Boyd Cadwell
Children are smarter than we give them credit for!o Young children are amazingly observanto We should never “dumb them down” and lower our expectations of their capabilitieso They are naturally curious and therefore capable of controlling their own learning
Two types of learning…Rote memorization Discovery and personal• Learn by hearing/drilling the same understanding information over and over • Learning by doing (talking,• i.e. letters, numbers, states and drawing, constructing, painting, capitals, math formulas, phonics touching, experimenting)• Rote memorization helpful to • Children understand concepts in teach some types of information their own way, at their own pace,• Many subjects in schools taught and within their own by rote memorization developmental ability (schemas)• Learning is static • Allows for deeper understanding and connections of bigger ideas• Representation of learning is • Learning is a result of the shown by performance experience and is dynamic
Two types of questions…• Answer is either right or • Open ended with no wrong exact right answer (I• Typically used with rote wonder…) memorization • Promotes deeper information understanding of• Intimidating/boring to concepts some children • Young children respond well to this-but lose this ability during school years.
Two types of activities…• Expected outcome • Creative and individual (everyone’s looks the same) (each one is unique)• A right and wrong way to • No right or wrong way to do do the activity (i.e. the activity worksheets, matching • Allows for experimentation games) with tools and materials• No personal attachment or • Personal pride in the result pride in the result
Child-centered curriculumThe philosophy underlying thiscurriculum design is that the child is thecenter of the educational process. Thusthe curriculum should be build upon hisinterest, abilities, purposes and needs.
This type of curriculum emerged from theextensive research carried on in the 20th centurycarried by John Dewey and his followers. A newrespect for the child, a new freedom of action, wasincorporated into curriculum building in the childcentered school. Common characteristics ofprograms founded on the new philosophy were the“activity program”, the “unit of work” and therecognition of the needs for using and exploringmany media for self-discovery and self direction.
Child-Centered Curriculum• The focus is on the process, not the product• Through documentation (photos, children’s drawings, transcripts) the parents will feel like they are truly part of the experience and the children will feel like valuable members of our community• The children will be given the freedom to be who they are- young children! Time allowed every day for active outdoor play and meaningful indoor play• It’s not all about worksheets and spelling tests!
Child Centered Curriculum• The curriculum focuses on the whole child and integrates all of the subject areas• The day isn’t spent “clock watching” to ensure time for all subjects every day
“Teachers facilitate children’s exploration of themes, work on short-and long-term projects, and guide experiences of joint, open-ended discovery and problem solving. Teachers listen and observe children closely. Teachers ask questions; discover children’s ideas, hypothesis, and theories; and provide occasions for discovery and learning.” -Louise Boyd Cadwell
Teachers…o Share the role of leader with the children—don’t always have to be “in total control” of every situationo Ask and encourage the children to ask questions-but do not always give answero Use words like “I wonder” and “what do you think?”o Are excited and involvedo Find “teachable moments” throughout the day
Child-Centered. Teacher-Centered. Environment Low student: teacher ratio (1:10 or less) Higher student: teacher ratio (1:20-25) One age grouping Multi-age groupings with a focus on the peer modeling and reinforcement Teacher changes yearlyStudents have the same teacher for three years allowing for long-term, trusting relationships Child is free to move about room, interacting Child is encouraged to stay seated, silence is with anyone encouraged Everything is introduced experientially with Manipulatives usually used only in math manipulatives Environment is maintained by children with a Environment is maintained by teacher and focus on personal responsibility and pro-social custodian skills
Curriculum No practical life Practical life activities used to develop sense of order, cooperation, concentration and independence Sensorial activities are systematically used to refine If used, sensory activities are used sporadically and not coordination, discrimination and vocabulary as an integral part of the curriculum Writing precedes reading Reading precedes writing Phonetic, sight vocabulary and whole language are all Language texts used (although some schools are now used to meet individual needs and learning styles of using whole language approaches) children Grammar introduced in kindergarten and taught in Grammar taught out of context (from text) at older ages contextInterdisciplinary approach is used for art, music, history, Separate texts are used for social studies, science,physics, ecology, zoology, botany, geography, anatomy, health and music chemistry, foreign language, physical education Math concepts and processes are introduced early Rote learning is used to teach math facts Daily lesson plans are determined by each childs Daily lesson plans are determined by teachers manual needs Lessons are given 1:1 or in small groups Lessons given to all students in a class at one timeUse of texts are for reference; lessons and activities are Texts are used for all subjects with little individualization teacher-made
Character Development Child-centered activity and curriculum Teacher-centered and curriculum-centered activitiesInternally motivated; children work because they Externally motivated; children work because want to they have to Child chooses work and works as long as Teacher chooses work he/she wants, allowing for self-monitoring and concentration Pace of activities is determined by teachers Work continues until a child masters a concept manual Non-competitive processes; no reference to Competition for grades among peers; emphasis other students "grades" or "scores" is on tests and grades Hands are considered a pathway to the brain Paper/pencil and oral explanation are used to and a mechanism to understand abstraction "teach" abstractionChildren are introduced to concepts first; details Children learn detailed information first, then the are learned after a concept is mastered concept
Children rather than miniature adults,become the focus of educationaleffortsExperience rather than rote learning,become the medium of learningResearch assumed significance in theplanning for the developmental needsof children
Children’s motivation in learning was recognizedThe creative energies of teachers and childrenwere releasedEducational expectations and standards werecustom made in terms of each child’s abilities andpotentialsRigid-grade organization was abandoned alongwith traditional promotion policiesReporting on children’s progress becamedescriptive andFor the first time, teacher education on a boardscale became professional education
The weaknesses of the child- centered curriculum are chiefly in the possibilities for “misinterpretation” and in the neglect of adequate consideration of the matrix in which the education of children must occur:
1. The misinterpretation of the philosophy of the child-centered curriculum was a natural consequence of radical change. Teachers sometimes ill prepared to adapt to changing concepts of child development, Frequently created a school environment, which fostered license rather than freedom.
2.The child-centered philosophy is often conceded to bean inherent weakness. In this effort to free the child,many critics charged that the basic purposes in theestablishment of schools were ignored. From thebeginnings of formal education as a function of thesociety, conceived as a means of perpetuating the life ofa people. Society supports school in order that its youthwill be educated in its values, beliefs, traditions,customs, and mores. Society looked upon the child-centered curriculum and found it lacking. While theschools often became the scapegoat for ills were thecorrectly attributed to other social agencies,nevertheless they were frequently vulnerable to thecharges leveled against them.