a.Site description, including number of children observed
The preschool classroom I visited provides an educational environment for children from twelve months to about two years of age, The curriculum is designed for the growth and development of these 50 children by applying developmentally appropriate activities. The learning through play, exploration and discovery are vey much encouraged.
b. Developmental stage
In order to take advantage of students’ natural learning abilities, we must provide an environment which supports the learning waterfall. This means students must be allowed to try things out and fall. It also means that students must be given answers only after they have generated questions. To leverage the processes of natural learning, teachers must offer answers on an as-needed basis. Instead of making the students conform to a schedule of instruction, we must make the schedule of instruction conform to the student. Teachers should take first things first. They must first be concerned with goals, since before they can proceed to later stages of the waterfall, students must first acquire goals which interest them. Goals must underlie education. Keeping up with these toddlers who are now beginning to run, climb, jump and carry different items around the premises. This is the stage where they start imitating others and demonstrating independence which are hallmarks of children of this age.
According to the behaviorists, learning can be defined as the “relatively permanent change in behavior brought about as a result of experience or practice.” (Huitt, W. and Hummel J, 1998). In connection with the behavior of children at this preschool which I visited, I noticed that the reward is a “quick-fix solution.” (Loh, 3003). It gives children instant gratification for a job well done. It is almost always something that pleases the child no end. Thus, the returns of rewards are quick and fast. Yet many child developmental specialists say that it may not be an effective tool for a child’s overall psychological development. (Loh, 3003).
Andrew Loh (2003) claims that motivating a child with rewards such as money can present several risks. It is interesting what he says about this, “In the long term, children may develop the idea that reward is earned primarily on merit and not understand that hard work and self-discipline are needed to earn it. In other words, children will shift their motivation from the satisfaction for a job well done. There is a risk of kids thinking, “If I do not get something for this, why do it?” (Loh, 3003)
Thus, experts contend that there are some techniques that could help parents to make rewarding their children a positive influence. Loh (2003) in the same article suggests that parents can reward with praise. Children love praise. They remember years after what their parents told them. They remember the hugs and the encouragement. Then it is also all aright to give some substantial rewards occasionally. It would be good to give the praise right after the good work.
d. Behaviors observed
The toddlers seem indefatigable. They continue to run around and jump and play around. The teachers have to exert extra effort in keeping them together and getting their attention. The way the child manipulates and combines the materials already give the teacher clues as to the child’s cognitive structures. There is routine in their activities and they are kept clean and well-taken cared of.
Teachers can use what knowledge that they have about cognition and its development and apply it to reading instruction. They move from concrete examples to abstract ideas in helping children to understand the concepts they meet in reading. They help children progress from literal reading to inferential reading to evaluative reading. They teach skills in hierarchical sequence. These are some applications that could have an impact upon the results of reading instruction (Guilford, 1959, 469).
f. Implications for classroom application
I was able to observe how the teachers applied the different theories in a loving and compassionate way. The teachers were very engaged and pleased with the experiences for their child. Even the community support for the school is remarkable. Individual needs are always balanced against the needs of the whole group. The teacher teaches the children the importance of learning, the enjoyment of learning and how to learn. He is aware that he must make the student want to learn. Self-evaluation and self-satisfaction should weigh above grades. Grades should be a measure more for the teacher, not the student. The theories are effectively applied to literacy mainly with its ideas of choice and desire. Students are more inclined to write to their best ability and read at a high level if they are the ones choosing the topic to write on or the book to be read. Some of the other reflections I got from my visit at this preschool are that the teachers are able to give time to listen to each of the children because it is a manageable group. The children are also provided space and time to be alone. The teachers are able to accept and value differences of the children. Memories of my visit to the school were enlightening as I observed most of the children during their activities. I think that I was able to see how the teachers were passionate about their work of valuing differences of their children.
Guilford, J. P. “Three Faces of Intellect,” American Psychologist, 14 (August, 1959) pp.
Huitt, W. and Hummel J. (May 1998) An overview of the behavioral perspective. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Andrew. Learn how to nurture a smart kid. Make your child smarter. May 2, 2003 Accessed June 14, 2008 at: http://chiron.valdosta.edu/whuitt/col/behsys/behsys.html
Huitt, W. (1994). Principles for using behavior modification. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Andrew. Learn how to nurture a smart kid. Make your child smarter. May 2, 2003 Accessed June 14, 2008 at:
Loh, Andrew. Learn how to nurture a smart kid. Make your child smarter. May 2, 2003 Accessed June 14, 2008 at: