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What is your philosophy of guidance for young children?

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Meg Erickson

on 24 March 2014

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Transcript of What is your philosophy of guidance for young children?

What is your philosophy of guidance for young children?
How does your family and culture influence your philosophy of guidance?
How do your educational experiences (now and in the past) influence your philosophy?
What 3 theorists have most influenced your guidance philosophy or support your philosophy?
How? Why?
How does your personal guidance philosophy impact the children and families you work with in early childhood care and education settings?
What do you hope to accomplish for the children you work with through implementation of your philosophy of guidance?
My philosophy of guidance begins with patience. Having patience instilled in us as adults will help equip us to handle difficult situations, but also help us as teachers and caregivers to guide children with respect and understanding.
Another value of guidance I find important is communication. Not only is it important in building their language and literacy, but it also helps build their self respect. If you communicate clearly and respectfully with a child they are going to do the same in turn. This will also reflect in their relationships with their peers.
When practicing guidance, educators and caregivers need to have an understanding of infant and toddler development. Spanning from brain development to social/emotional development and including cognitive development. Understanding and having a knowledge of all areas of development will help when making your curriculum, so that it is age appropriate. It will also be a useful tool when interacting with children on a one-to-one basis.
Another key to my personal philosophy seems contradictory. I believe that children need structure and organization, but at the same time have the freedom to explore and discover new things on their own. The idea behind this is that if children have structure they will feel safe, when they feel safe they feel comfortable, and when they're comfortable they are more capable of being themselves and this will help expand their learning capabilities. When things are organized not only is it easy for them to find things, but it teaches them respect for belongings and responsibility. The idea behind this being if they take something out for play or to learn they would need to clean up and put it away before moving on the another activity.
Being raised in an environment, as a child where respect for adults was taught and respect for yourself was praised, have really effected how I would like to shape my own philosophy of guidance. If these values are instilled in children from a very young age, they're going to become part of their own personal values and beliefs. And this, in turn, will help shape who they will become as an adult.
Growing up being a "latch key kid" taught me how to be responsible very quickly. There was a lot of things we had to do on our own as kids. While some people may disagree with being brought up that way, I value you it because it taught me a lot about myself and how capable I am at being independent. Children should also be taught how to be responsible (not by being alone of course) because there are so many tools that you can use and learn as a child that, too, will help you be a well adjusted adult. Anything from putting away toys, learning how to cook with your family, or even small things like shutting of lights when leaving a room. It shouldn't always just be about "play," but really learning values for the future.
Learning so many different philosophies from such an eclectic mix of child psychologists and child experts has really helped to reinforce some of my beliefs and also help to shape them as well. Being new to the field has yet to allow me to practice my own philosophy. I'm hoping that not much of it will change, but at the same time I'm hoping that I will be able to expand on it with experience.
Being able to read articles such as "Are You a Highly Qualified Emotionally Intelligent Early Childhood Educator" and "Using Our Brain to Stay Cool Under Pressure" are small but useful tools in helping to equip teachers and caregivers with insight in to not just how our brain works, but what to do in certain situations. Sometimes you don't know how you're going to do under pressure or how you're going to react in certain situations until it happens to you. Studying, reading, and educating yourself on how to deal is going to help you evolve as a person and as a teacher. Which brings me to knowing what it means to be patient. Patience is beyond important when dealing with children because once you lose your patience, that is when things begin to fall apart. So not just knowing that you're a patient person, but really studying and understanding what it means to be patient will have a huge impact.
The biggest connection I have with any philosophy is with Reggio Emilia. This resonates with me the most;

"The program is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum."

Before even reading and knowing about Reggio Emilia I had my own strong beliefs about respect and responsibility. Learning about Reggio Emilia really opened my eyes to the fact that the feelings I had about how children learn and how we are to teach them weren't just my own. I truly believe that children are not given enough credit for being as smart as they are. The Reggio Emilia philosophy believes that children are "knowledge bearers" and are encouraged to "share their thoughts and ideas about everything they could meet or do during the day."

Loris Malaguzzi
Jean Piaget theorized the four stages of development. As caregivers, having a solid understanding of how these stages work and when they occur is what separates us as professionals. There will always be exceptions to every rule, but Jean Piaget really helped paved the way for teachers/caregivers in helping us give children the proper guidance that they need in order for them to become well adjusted adults.

You can really see, with your own eyes, how these stages develop in children. You can almost have a check list and follow it to the tee when a child hits each phase of their developmental stage. Many can argue, but the evidence is clear.
Jean Piaget
What I want for the children I'll someday work with is to be able to communicate with them on an equal level. Not just to be able to speak to them, but to reach them. To influence their lives in a positive way and in so doing having a positive effect on their future. If children are taught from the start what it means to be responsible, respectful, and to be empathetic their future as adults will reflect in their actions and day to day living.
On a personal level, having a connection with each and every child. An understanding of their personalities and of their individuality.
On a group level, having respect given to the children and getting it back in return. Having the capability to lead with kindness and understanding. Having the ability to let the children know that you are the lead, but to have them do so with ease and acceptance.
On a professional level having compatibility with co-teachers. Showing respect and using clear communication.
On a family level, knowing each of the parents by name. Showing respect for their cultural beliefs. Being able to talk with them about their child and be on the "same page" with their learning. Keeping them involved. Asking them questions to know you're interested and aware.

Some of Emmi Pikler's theories don't coincide with my own ideals, but at the same time so many of them do. A lot of her theory involves patience. It really shows what it means to slow down, take your time and get to know your baby by giving them your full attention. Mom's today are masters at multi-tasking, if we put Emmi Pikler's theory in to play in our own lives, we'd really learn a lot about just focusing on one task at a time. And take opportunities when they are there like during changing time, eating times, or bathing. I also relate to her idea that babies are "active participants," not just children that want to sit idly by while we do everything for them. They want to be involved and they want to do things on their own and we should let them when we can. And also, listen to what they're "saying" to you. Baby's use body language to communicate, if she turns her head because she's not longer hunger use that as your cue to stop feeding.
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