A Plan in Progress.
Choosing a Pedagogy.
There's a lot to consider when starting a new daycare. Licensing, budgeting, and location. However, none of those are as important as the quality of the pedagogy chosen to shape the philosophical standards of your center. A pedagogy is an art. A design that shapes the educational foundations of development. In the early learning years this is a critical stage for making sure that the children your teaching are offered a structure that supports the 'whole' child using developmentally appropriate practice, equipment, content, and infrastructure.
There have been many great models to sample from such as the Reggio Emilia Approach, which provides an even balance of teacher direction, and child direction that supports the child's development, and ability to be an individual. It leaves room for children to choose where their education is headed, and have the involvement of their family. This approach is amazing for helping children to discover who they are as a unique person in our society. The Montessori Approach encourages a child to be independent, to discover, and learn on their own using standard Montessori equipment rather than traditional toys. The curriculum is a bit more academic than other pedagogies, but with a school system that supports Montessori learning it can be extremely beneficial to the child's aptitude, and educational development. These two approaches are a few of the most commonly used methods in Preschools, and Day-cares around the world. Both are well renowned, and exemplary models for building the foundations of a new, and unique pedagogy.
Quality by Design.
Over the next few years as we work towards the grand opening of our center there are a lot of ideas, and topics that we would like to pose in regards to the design of our pedagogy. For one, children are known to have very strong empathy, and compassion. If you've ever seen a child cringe at the sight of a cartoon character being chased, or bullied then you've witnessed these skills first-hand.These are skills that often fade over the years as we grow into adulthood, and become hardened by our environments. As we grow competitive, and less imaginative. We find ourselves surrounded by a world that is in a constant state of warfare. Using up the last of our non-renewable energy sources, and leaving thousands of species extinct in the process. All these things have consequences on the future welfare of our existence. On the welfare of humanity, and our planet.
Humanity is still very much in its adolescence. We have a lot to learn and change as we strive to attain higher order thinking skills, and the ability to implement them. One approach in reaching this goal is through Humane Education. While this concept is already a small part of ECE programs by teaching children to be gentle to each other, to animals, and our ecosystems it seems as if a lot of educators have been crying out for more of this educational standard to be included in their programs. For children to have the resources to learn the skills they need for a healthy development while preserving their empathy, and compassion.
Humane Education encourages children to appreciate the value of all living things. From plants, to animals, to each other. It teaches that what we do, what we use, and what we consume in our daily activities has consequences on our future. It encourages the power of kindness, compassion, a sense of responsibility, and respect. It provides children with the knowledge, and understanding to form the abilities to live according to these principles, and through their very existence make a difference in our culture, and environments.
While this is a concept we would love to include in our pedagogy there comes the questions of what is an appropriate approach to this method? At what point should censorship of information become involved?, and how do parent feel about their children learning Humane Education as an essential skill along-side social skills, health, independence, and creative skills?
As of yet our pedagogy, and philosophy is still a work in progress, but with the help of our community, and the input of parents, and fellow educators we hope to develop a program that is rich in quality. A program that is above standard in Early Childhood Education, and a program that will become another exemplary model for shaping the educational foundations of future generations to come.