Unit 1: Providing for Children’s Safety
Providing for children’s safety is a major responsibility for all early education centers. Safety concerns range from accidents involving injury to emergency evacuation of the building. Safety concepts and issues need to be addressed by early education staff every day. Early education centers should have written policies regarding safety issues. Early education staff must know the policies involving safety issues and be prepared to carry them out.
Unit 2: Providing for Children’s Health
Proper health practices are vital for children to be healthy. Childhood is a time of growth in all areas of development. Healthy habits and attitudes formed in childhood often carry over into adulthood. Poor health habits in children can lead to problems ranging from minor to severe. These problems include obesity, malnutrition, and lack of good health and the ability to fight infections. The early education teacher should promote healthy lifestyles.
Unit 3: Providing an Environment for Learning
Providing an appropriate environment for learning is essential for an early education program. Children need an environment which promotes learning, development in all areas, provides for easy supervision and observation, and is comfortable.
The environment should also encourage independence and allow for choices. The environment should contain learning materials that promote development in the different areas. Environments which are age-appropriate and properly set-up will also help minimize behavior problems and make children feel secure and happy.
Unit 4: Child Growth & Development
The development of a child is a complex process that begins with conception. Children experience many kinds of development from infancy to school-age. Not only do children develop physically, they also develop socially, emotionally, intellectually, and morally. Certain characteristics can describe the typical growth of a child in a specific age group. Each individual child develops differently, but certain developmental skills generally occur within a specific age range. Caring for children successfully depends on understanding and applying basic concepts in child development.
Unit 5: Ensuring Developmentally Appropriate Practice
Developing and presenting activities is an important part of an early education teacher’s job. Children need a variety of activities to promote their physical, intellectual, social, and emotional growth. Activities must be developmentally appropriate, interesting to children, and allow hands-on learning. They should give children the opportunity to observe and explore. Young children learn through play and activities must be fun for children. Activities should be adapted for children with special needs. Because of the importance of developmentally-appropriate activities, early education teachers must have much practice in developing them.
Unit 6: Guiding Children
Guiding children includes all of the actions that adults do to positively influence the behavior of children. The goal of guidance is for children to learn self-control and to behave in a socially acceptable manner. Guidance also ensures that the health and safety of the child is protected. Early education teachers cannot compromise on guidance issues involving the health or safety of the child. Individuals must use the guidance techniques that work best for their specific facility. Guiding children takes time, patience, and understanding but to effectively guide children, the teacher must build a good relationship with the child and have a thorough understanding of child development and knowledge of positive guidance techniques.
Unit 7: Involving Families and the Community
Families and the community are vital resources to the success of an early education program. Early education providers must be proactive in involving families. Although not all families will have the time to be actively involved in the program, such as volunteering, they need to be involved in helping the early education center best meet the needs of their child. Early education providers need to be creative and resourceful in using families and community resources to aid them in their teaching.
Unit 8: Program Planning & Record Keeping
Developing program plans and keeping effective records are two essential aspects of operating an early education facility. Although both aspects are key to operating a facility, they do have two distinct goals. Early education facilities approach program planning and curriculum development in many different ways. However, program plans must meet the developmental needs of the children and help them grow and learn. The daily activities at an early education facility should not “just happen.” Early education teachers should use schedules and lesson plans to ensure that all areas of development are addressed and to help activities and transitions run smoothly. Recordkeeping, on the other hand, provides written documentation of necessary information and is required by most states. It is much more than just “paperwork.” Good recordkeeping, just as good program planning helps provide quality early education and quality early opportunities for children and families.
NOTE: Throughout this unit there will be times when curriculum and lesson planning terms are used. For clarification, curriculum is everything that a child learns while in the program. It includes the daily activities (lesson plans), but also includes the programs philosophy, transitions, routines, and teachable moments. It encompasses children’s understanding of language, social skills, creative development, physical development, cognitive skills, emotional development, and should be based on sound practices and supported by the programs director, teachers, and families. Lesson Plans, will focus more on activities the teacher/caregiver plans to provide for the children which meet individual and group goals.
Unit 9: Developing as an Early Education Professional
The job of being an early education teacher requires that individuals are skilled in many different aspects of caring for young children. Early education teachers should continually strive to improve their job performance in order to give children the best possible care. Early education teachers who are willing to learn more about their job and how to better perform it, will have a more rewarding career.
Unit 10: Putting it all Together
Upon enrolling in unit 10, the student will receive a guide that outlines the format for the specific National Credential they are pursing. After completing this unit the student will have a Professional Portfolio that meets the guidelines for the National Credential they are pursuing.
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