The purpose of the present paper is to identify and explore one of the NAEYC early childhood professional preparation standards, with the goal of enhancing one’s knowledge in the field so as to develop relevant professional and personal skills and to become a better advocate for children and their families.
Personal and Professional Goals
The chosen standard is “promoting child development and learning”. It implies a thorough understanding of children’s needs and abilities, as well as of influences on child development, in order to foster an environment conducive to children’s growth and development (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2011, p. 1). Awareness of children’s needs and developmental variations will help me develop the skills necessary for a professional in the field, namely respect, patience, and flexibility (Colker, 2008, p. 4).
Better knowledge of the standard will allow me to recognize and appreciate the diversity of children’s backgrounds, as well as to communicate its importance to others (Barbour & Lash, 2008, p. 180). Finally, appreciation and understanding of children’s differences will enable me to individualize my approach to every child, based on their particular characteristics and needs (Johnston & Halocha, 2010, pp. 273-275).
Understanding the Standard
- How do children’s disabilities and health status affect their development? Understanding the impact of children’s health on their development allows professionals to adjust their teaching techniques, as well as to evaluate what adjustments can and should be made to the curriculum and the learning space to aid children with disabilities or developmental delays.
- How can technology be used to enhance the learning process? Technology is frequently perceived as a distraction and a menace to learning, but instead of rejecting it, professionals should use it to facilitate the learning process.
- What are the best sources of current research on child development? Early childhood professionals should strive to be lifelong learners, so they incorporate the latest scientific findings into their practice.
- What are the best practices for developing an individualized approach in large and diverse groups? Early childhood education frequently does not take place in a one-on-one setting, so professionals need to know how to attend to every child equally.
- What are the steps if one realizes that an intervention into the child’s family may be necessary? Since family background has a direct impact on child development, professionals should know how to recognize and react to at-risk families.
Getting the Answers
I will contact Dr. Minor, a professional in my area, with the following message:
“As part of my early childhood professional preparation program, I am encouraged to contact a professional in my community who would be able to assist my learning. I am writing to you with the hope that you will be willing to share your knowledge and expertise with me. My assignment is to gain a better understanding of one of the field’s professional standards (particularly, promoting child development and learning) through a series of questions that I would like to address to you.”
In this paper, I have identified a professional standard that I would like to explore in depth in order to become a better advocate for children and their families. I have developed a list of five questions that I would like to pose to an early childhood professional, and my next step will be contacting Dr. Minor over the course of the next two weeks to receive the answers to my questions.
Barbour, N., & Lash, M. (2008). The professional development of teachers of young children. In S. Feeney, A. Galper & C. Seefeldt (Eds.), Continuing issues in early childhood education (3rd ed.) (pp. 160-184). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Colker, L.J. (2008). Twelve characteristics of early childhood teachers. Web.
Johnston, J., & Halocha, J. (2010). Early childhood and primary education: Readings and reflections. Berkshire, United Kingdom: Open University Press.
National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2011). 2010 standards for initial early childhood professional preparation programs. Web.