Part I. Building a Good Foundation
This part of the presentation will take up answers to questions about education in the early years as follows:
- What should be learned?
- the knowledge, understandings, skills, dispositions, and feelings should be addressed.
- When should it be learned?
- age-appropriate teaching strategies and the importance of making a distinction between academic and intellectual goals and why it is important to focus on the latter in the early years.
- How is it best learned?
- the younger the children, the more they learn though interactive versus passive experiences.
These considerations lead to the value of the Project Approach.
Part II Overview of the Project Approach
Projects are defined as in-depth extended investigations of worthwhile real phenomena in their own environment and experience.
The three phases of projects will be described:
Phase I: Getting started by identifying the topic to be investigated, the development of a question table in which the children and teacher agree on the questions to be answered by the investigation, etc.
Phase II is about the data collection processes including site visits, interviews of experts on the topic, drawing, etc., etc.
Phase III is about bringing the project to a conclusion, preparing ways of presenting their findings to others (in other classes, parents, etc) and summarizing what they have learned.
Part III. The teacher’s role in the development of social competence
Current evidence suggests that unless a child achieves at least a minimal level of social competence by about the age of six, it will be at risk for a range of social difficulties for the rest of its life.
Social competence is not learned mainly through instruction, lecturing or preaching about how to be “nice” but requires a wide range of interactive skills on the part of the adults in charge, and parents
Clearinghouse on Early Education & Parenting
University of Illinois
Lilian G. Katz, a graduate of Stanford University (Ph.D.—1968), is an international leader in early childhood education. She taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for more than three decades—from 1968 until the year 2000, as well as directing the ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education (ERIC/EECE) for more than 30 years. She has lectured in all 50 U.S. states and in 43 countries, and she has held visiting posts at universities in Australia, Canada, England, Germany, India, Israel, the West Indies (Barbados campus), and many parts of the United States. In 1997, she served as Nehru Professor at the University of Baroda in India.
She also was one of the founders of the Illinois Association for the Education of Young Children and served as its first president. In addition, she served as vice president of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) from 1986 to 1990 and later was elected president of NAEYC, serving from 1992-1994.
Dr. Katz has authored more than 150 publications, including articles, chapters, and books about early childhood education, teacher education, child development, and parenting. She wrote a monthly column for several years for Parents Magazine on parenting 3- and 4-year-olds. Dr. Katz founded two journals: Early Childhood Research Quarterly and Early Childhood Research & Practice (http://ecrp.uiuc.edu), which began publication in early 1999 as the first peer-reviewed, Internet-only, journal in early education, and recently became fully bilingual.
Dr. Katz is professor emerita at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and lectures and consults around the world.
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