We recently featured the work of Dr Suzanne Major, who specialises in the anthropology of early childhood education. Suzanne has written a series of posts for the eePRO webpages of the North American Association for Environmental Education [NAAEE]. This is an extract from another of her posts,General and Specific Educational Objectives and Strategies in Baby’s Education to the Environment. How it is All About Tasting Snowflakes.
This is how the post begins:
“This is the sixth of a series of eight discussions on principles, processes, and strategies involved in early childhood education, including environmental education. The last discussion titled “Beyond Scaffolding in Early Childhood Education and Education to the Environment. Secret Learning Spaces known only to Children” tackled the processes of building knowledge and seeing to child development using multiple strata as opposed to scaffolding. It requires that knowledge and experiences be retrieved from the realm of the concrete mind, thinking with our whole body, using our senses and intuition in the learning space between our body and reality. It also requires that knowledge and experiences be retrieved from the realm of literacy/alphabetization thinking, with our intellect in the learning space between our intellect and the intellect of others. Finally, it requires that knowledge and experiences be retrieved from the realm of opsistiation (education through fast-moving images and sounds on screens) thinking, with our affect in the learning space between our affect and that of others. These three interlocking bodies of knowledge allow us to respectively use analogies, syllogism, and algorithms. It seems to me that a balance between these bodies of knowledge should then be sought to ensure that education and development in young children are rich and diverse. It also seems to me that millennials are reaching for this balance as I write, and you read these lines.
“In the realm of the concrete mind and reality, the general educational objective is to provide a comprehension of contexts and then acquire information, knowledge, and skills to determine a course of action. In other words, when educating young children about nature, we must first show them to assess the environment, get a sense of what is happening and identify what is out there prior to determining a course of action while ensuring safety. By doing so, they learn to name and identify, recognize functions, use analogies, and remember experiences. They become savvy about reality, nature, and the human condition.
“In the realm of literacy/alphabetization, the general educational objective is to bring young children to acquire information, knowledge, and skills that will allow them to reach the next developmental stage and succeed in preschool, and later in school. They learn to respond to the adults’ expectations in terms of development and are socialized into the modern world. They learn words, identify symbols, and become aware of representations. They start to understand concepts and exercise their problem-solving skills. They learn to imagine and be creative. They learn to take their place in the social hierarchy.”
If you click on the link (above) to Suzanne’s post, you will see her exploration of these ideas. And if you click here, there are links to all the other contributions to eePRO.