In many countries, the government has given prime importance to Early Childhood Education. This will no doubt raise the bar for quality education across the whole market.
- Play-, activity- and inquiry-based learning is in focus
- Learning objectives guide the planning and implementation of activities.
- Assessment is all about examining and developing the children's learning.
- Parents need to be empowered
- Parents have an important role in the child’s learning.
- New ways for them to participate and take responsibility need to be developed.
- Preschools and childcare centers face increased competition
- The renewal underlines the achievement and accountability of prescribed curricular standards.
- Parents ask for proof of their children’s learning and want to see Return on Investment.
New competencies and new working methods are now required to achieve the desired outcomes in preschool. The use of new technology is also a prerequisite for making the change successful.
Play motivates the children and simply brings joy. In early childhood education and care, it is necessary to understand the value of play for children. Play has also pedagogical significance in learning as well as in children’s holistic growth and well-being.
Play is a key practice in early childhood education and care. It is important for teachers to observe children’s play and either guide it from outside or participate in it. The presence of teachers in play situations supports interaction among the children and prevents conflicts.
Children’s learning environments need to be flexible, as play and games can take place anywhere depending on the children’s imagination and wishes. Play and therefore learning happens everywhere, not only during guided activities or circle time. Children might learn various things while for example taking a stroll in the forest (tree species), building a Lego tower (counting blocks), or dressing up a doll (body parts). Check our recent blog to learn more about Playful Learning.
A structured end-to-end-learning process is required
The whole learning process needs to be revisited to support holistic learning:
- Upgrade the learning objectives
- Create pedagogical activities that match the learning objectives
- Let children learn by play
- Document the learning moments
- Reflect on the learning with the children
- Engage families in learning
- Assess learning with portfolios
- Ensure quality with statistics
Learning from best practices can significantly speed up the planning and implementation. In Scandinavian countries, children are given intensive support – not academic teaching - until they are “school-ready”. This has shown a significant impact
on their learning capabilities. Children who are provided with quality early childhood care show improved learning outcomes in mathematics and language later in the primary years. Research also shows that children provided with quality early education and care are 15 to 20% less likely to drop out of school.
Assessment of and for learning is crucial to secure the goals
In all businesses, it is key to set clear objectives, do the work, measure the results, and create a feedback loop for developing the way of working. In preschool, this means setting clear learning objectives, running playful pedagogical activities, making smart assessments, and developing the learning in a consistent way throughout the term.
Play is a continuum of activities including child-initiated free play, play with adult guidance, and teacher-directed play. Play often does not produce concrete artifacts to be assessed by educators.
"How to ensure that cognitive, social-emotional and academic curricular goals are met within the context of children’s play."
Assessment practices are evolving away from the examination of physical products of learning, such as worksheets and standardized assessments toward examining the process of learning. This is based on collecting pedagogical documentation of children’s individual growth and how learning unfolds within different classroom activities. Observations are done during the learning moments to provide an authentic understanding of children’s learning progress. The observations are reflected with the children, peers, and parents on many occasions during the term. Linking observations to the learning objectives creates a continuous feedback loop to improve children’s learning and the quality of the center.
New technology is a prerequisite to supporting the learning process
Technology is already used, but in a limited way and not really supporting the learning process. Two phases of development can be recognized:
- Earlier, educators used technology to document student learning in order to meet curricular standards and complete report cards. This was done separately from the time with the children and actual learning. The goal was mainly to work efficiently, but little new innovation took place.
- Now, technology is used to extend assessment practices in ways not possible without technology. Teaching and student learning are enhanced in the moment of play and after the play activity. Technology is used to store and share different types of assessment data to promote student, co-teacher, and parent reflection as well as determine and record the next teaching steps.
Based on best Finnish practices, Kindiedays has developed a complete Pedagogical Management Solution as the foundation for a modern preschool. The playful learning process, new formative assessment, and use of Kindiedays for portfolio learning and pedagogical documentation are outlined on our web page.
Take the next steps
Even if many aspects of e.g. NEP2020 in India and other new national curriculums are still a work in progress, the direction is clear and a roadmap toward the future should be worked on now. Let’s work together and explore how Kindiedays can support you to secure children's learning and the success of your preschool.
If you would like to explore how Kindiedays can help to meet your specific needs, why not book a consultative call with our expert?
We look forward to assisting you in creating an exceptional learning environment for young minds.