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# 2007 University of South Africa All rights reserved Printed and published by the University of South Africa Muckleneuk,

Pretoria PRS101Y/1/2008-2010 PCP406H/1/2008-2010 98155954 3B2

PRS Styl


PRS101Y/1/2008-2010 PCP406H/1/20082010

Study unit WELCOME 1 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 2 2.1 2.2 2.3 3 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 4 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 5 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 6 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 THE PURPOSE AND LEARNING OUTCOMES OF EDUCATION IN EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT The importance of good early childhood education The purpose of early childhood education Outcomes for early childhood education Conclusion THE TEACHING APPROACH IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION Introduction What is meant by an outcomes-based and informal teaching approach? Characteristics of an informal teaching approach THE DAILY PROGRAMME IN THE EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTRE Introduction Sequence of the daily programme Major components of the daily programme Requirements of a successful daily programme Evaluating the daily programme PLANNING FOR PLAY IN AN EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTRE The value of play Planning for play opportunities Planning the playroom for a variety of play opportunities The outdoor play area CHOOSING AND PLANNING LEARNING CONTENT FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION The importance of choosing suitable learning content The difficulty of choosing learning content (a curriculum) for early childhood teaching Choosing learning content for an early childhood centre The organisation of the learning content To get you started! Written planning in the centre for ECD MULTICULTURAL AND ANTIBIAS EDUCATION IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION Introduction Establishing a multicultural and antibias approach Planning activities for a multicultural and antibias approach Assessment of a multicultural and antibias curriculum BIBLIOGRAPHY Page (iv) 1 2 4 9 13 15 15 16 16 23 23 24 26 33 38 42 42 45 53 56 60 60 61 62 65 72 72 80 81 81 85 87 89


Dear Student I would like to welcome you most warmly to Teaching in Early Childhood (PRS101Y). I hope that you will find your studies interesting and instructive. You will find the study material for this module in two study guides. This study guide (Study Guide 1 for PRS101Y) deals with topics on ``how to teach'' and the second study guide (Study Guide 2 for PRS101Y) deals exclusively with assessment in early childhood. Make sure that you receive both the study guides of this module because they are important for your studies. There is no prescribed book for this module. If you are a student enrolled for the PGCE (ECD), I would also like to welcome you! The study material for PCP406H consists of study guides, tutorial letters and additional prescribed books. This study guide (Study Guide 1 for PCP406H, Part 1) will inform you on how to teach in early childhood. You will find the learning outcomes for each study unit at the beginning of the unit. This is what you can hope to learn to do or know from the study material in that unit. Use these outcomes to draw up questions to test your knowledge when you have completed the study unit. The test-yourself questions at the end of the study units will also help you to assess your progress. Of course, they do not include every question that could possibly be set on the work. After you have attempted the questions, go back to the relevant section in the study guide and check your own answers. Improve your work where necessary. If you have any questions, or experience problems with the answers to test-yourself questions, contact me without delay. Lectures are there to help you! I hope that you will find Teaching in Early Childhood pleasant and meaningful, and that you will be successful in your studies. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any problems or questions arising from your studies. Best wishes REDA DAVIN


Study unit 1

The purpose and learning outcomes of education in early childhood development

The purpose of this study unit is to familiarise you with various opinions about the main purpose of education in early childhood development. (Please note: the abbreviation ECD will be used throughout to denote Early Childhood Development.) First read the learning outcomes before you begin to work through this study unit.

Learning outcomes After completing this study unit, you should be able to . justify the importance of early childhood education . compare different opinions about the main purpose of early childhood education . state and explain the learning outcomes of early childhood education To help you to understand the theory behind early childhood teaching better, we will look into the experiences of Zinzi, a mother of preschool children, and the principal and staff of the UNISA Centre for Early Childhood Education. Zinzi, the mother of two children under the age of six years, is at her wit's end. Her husband's business is in financial trouble. After discussion they have decided that the only solution to their financial problems is for her to resume nursing, a profession she enjoyed greatly before the birth of her children. She feels guilty that she is looking forward to nursing again, because she has always believed that the best place for children under six years is in the home. She has a fairly wide choice of places to send her children to, and she has looked closely at the various options. This has deepened her confusion, as each one has a different approach to caring for children under six years. She decided to discuss her findings with her neighbour, a qualified educator in the ECD phase development. Pretend that you are Zinzi's neighbour. First think about the importance of early childhood education, so that you can reassure Zinzi that good education for children under six years can benefit her children. Then read on and see if you thought of some of the points mentioned below.

1.1 The importance of good early childhood education

There can no longer be any doubt about the important influence that early childhood experiences have on our later life as adults. Freud, Erikson, Bloom and others have researched this influence and showed its importance; after all, these years form the foundation for later development. As a result of the discovery of and emphasis on the importance of early childhood, we now realise that it is essential to have responsible education during the early childhood years.

1.1.1 The NEPI Report

It is unfortunate that many children in South Africa were deprived during their early years when they should have had learning and play opportunities to develop their potential to the full. In 1992 a ground-breaking report on the state of early childhood care and development was compiled. According to this report, the *NEPI document (1992:13), there are strong moral, social and economic arguments for increased support of early childhood care and development. Here are some of them: . Children have a right to live and to develop to their full potential. In the same way, women (like Zinzi in our example above) have a right to choice and control over their lives, which means that they need good quality child-care services. . Society passes on its moral and social values through its children, and this process begins in early childhood. Education programmes for young children can therefore help to change racist attitudes and gender stereotyping, promote cooperation and respect for the rights of others, and lay the foundations for democratic participation in decision making. . Improving the quality of life for young children helps to redress inequalities brought about by poverty and discrimination. . Young children provide a central focus or rallying point for communities, breaking down political divisions, strengthening social structures, and promoting community development. ``Children first'' can be an effective strategy in working towards peace and unity. Children's needs can also provide a starting point for the development of a wide range of community-based activities and services. . Society benefits economically by investing in child development, because ultimately these children will be productive adults who will not be a drain on society. This argument is based on increasing evidence that early childhood programmes can improve both mental and physical capacity and educational attainment. Cost-savings also result from less wastage in the school system and a reduction in social problems such as delinquency and teenage pregnancy. . The effectiveness of a variety of services including health, education, and women's programmes can be increased by combining them with child development programmes. There is increasing evidence that there is a synergistic effect when the needs of the child are met both from within the family and in the community context. In other words, the learning outcomes are even better when reinforced by both the family and the community. (*The NEPI document is the research report of the NEPI Educare Research Group. It was a project of the National Education Coordinating Committee and was published in 1992.) All of these points offer good reasons for increased attention to the development of young children, and when considered in combination with research evidence, there is a powerful case for early childhood care and education.


ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU READ ON (1) The NEPI document mentions benefits that increased early childhood care and development would have for the development of communities. Discuss them briefly. (2) ``Good early childhood education also makes economic sense for the country as a whole.'' Do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer.

1.1.2 The effect of changing family structures on early childhood

The rapidly changing and technological society that we live in has given rise to unique problems, some affecting the responsible education of children. Bartalome (1981:262266) points out the negative effect that the decline of the extended family has had on children. Young parents enjoy less and less support from other adults when bringing up their children, because there are no longer grandparents or other adults around to help them. As a result of our increased mobility and the amount of travelling we all do every day, members of a family and a community no longer form a close-knit unit. Therefore it has become impossible for parents to create the educational environment for the optimal development of their children that they would have been able to create if they had the support of their immediate family. The early childhood development (ECD) phase can play an important role in redressing imbalances that we find in our society and in the educational opportunities that are available for children. The ECD educator and parents have to complement and support one another, sharing the responsibility to help children to develop to their full potential. The early childhood centre must now share this responsibility by complementing the child's home and helping to offer children the best possible opportunities for meaningful enrichment in these important years.

ANSWER THIS QUESTION BEFORE YOU READ ON Look at your own lifestyle and family structure. Can you identify any problems you have or might have in the upbringing of a young child? Look again at the NEPI document. What are the benefits of good early childhood education within the family context?

1.1.3 Your task as a educator in the ECD phase

It is easy to feel despondent when reading about the lack of good schooling opportunities for all young children in South Africa. As a educator interested in young children you have taken an important step to help solve this problem by improving your own teaching abilities and knowledge. You, the early childhood educator, can help to create an environment for the optimal development of children and help their parents to fulfil their important role in the lives of their children. To be able to do this you need . a positive and caring attitude towards children and people in general . responsible and well-thought-out learning outcomes (what do we want to achieve with our teaching in early childhood?) . an in-depth knowledge of the theory and practice of early childhood teaching

4 The first is a very important prerequisite, if you want to be a caring nurturer of the young child, BUT you also need the last two to become a truly professional and successful educator who can have an impact on the lives of young children. In this course we hope to provide you with the necessary skills, knowledge and attitudes to fulfil these requirements.

ANSWER THIS QUESTION BEFORE YOU READ ON Clearly poor Zinzi feels insecure about her decision to go back to work and put her children in an early childhood centre. How would you reassure her that early childhood education benefits the child?

1.2 The purpose of early childhood education

As Zinzi discovered, there are a variety of different views about the most important purpose of early childhood education. Zinzi decided to talk to the principals of different schools and ask them what they see as the most important purpose of their school. This is what she find out. It is important to know exactly what we would like to achieve with the children and their families in an early childhood centre. We have to establish the purpose of the centre. Taylor (1980:2) says: ``Good teaching does not just happen, it is the result of careful planning and foresight.'' The purpose of the centre will serve as our point of departure when determining the learning outcomes for specific teaching situations. (I will discuss the determination of learning outcomes more extensively later in this study unit.) When establishing the overall purpose of early childhood education for children under school-going age, we have to make sure that we keep the following in mind: . The purpose should involve the child as a whole person. . The needs of the child's parents or caregivers and society as a whole should also be taken into account. . The purpose should consider the ability of children and what they should be able to do. . A child's right to be a child should be reflected in the purpose. . The values and norms of society should be reflected in the purpose. Zinzi's visits to a variety of early childhood centres made her realise that there are different views on the purpose of early childhood education. She grouped these views together and found that they belong to four main categories or viewpoints. These are . . . . care social upliftment school-readiness the optimal development of the whole child and the guidance and assistance of parents

This led to her next question: ``Which one is the best?'' Let us examine the different possibilities in order to find an answer to Zinzi's problem.


1.2.1 Care
Caretaking is traditionally emphasised at early childhood centres, particularly by criches, day mothers and play groups. The main emphasis is on caring for the children in safe surroundings. (Although some of these centres do pay attention to educational aspects, they are basically concerned with providing a safe environment.) The people caring for the children need not be trained in early childhood education. The education and teaching which does take place here often occurs without any clearly defined learning outcomes, structure or definite programme. Hymes (1981:30) describes the purpose of caretaking as follows: ``The aim of old-time daycare was simply to provide custodial care to take children, to keep them safe, to return them whole to parents at the end of the day, in one piece and undamaged.'' An early childhood centre with caretaking as its sole purpose can be criticised for the following reasons: . The physical safety of the children is overemphasised. Caring for children in safety is naturally important in any early childhood centre, but it should never be the only purpose. . The one-sided emphasis on care means that the children's need for adults to help them grow up properly is underemphasised and may even be overlooked. (How can one person taking care of 15 babies under one year old give them proper attention?) . Care as the main purpose does not require that the adults involved should be dedicated early childhood educators. Therefore, if teaching does take place, it is often haphazard and coincidental. An early childhood centre with care as its main purpose does meet a need felt by working parents in particular, namely the physical care and safety of their child while they are at work. Unfortunately the function of the early childhood centre to complement the education of the home is often not met by this type of centre.

ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION BEFORE YOU READ ON Would this kind of care satisfy Zinzi's need for quality education and care for her children? Give reasons for your answer.

1.2.2 Social upliftment

Compensation for deficiencies in the children's home environment is often regarded as the main purpose of early childhood education. The programmes in these centres are focused on helping deprived children to escape from the poverty cycle by means of specifically planned preventive education. Day (1983:37) sees the purpose of compensatory programmes as leading children to change their behaviour and attitude. Reilly (1982:12) says that such programmes are expected to ``be effective as an instrument for breaking the poverty cycle and bringing about social change''. Much has been written and researched about this purpose of early childhood education. Undoubtedly it is worthy and important especially for a changing country like South Africa but unfortunately social change and upliftment cannot be realised by early childhood education alone. Social upliftment and change as the main purpose of early childhood education have been challenged by various researchers (eg Braun & Edwards [1972:253] and Evans [1971:307].

6 They question whether such drastic interference in the lives of children is justifiable. The following points can be raised in criticism of social change as the most important purpose of an early childhood centre: . The teaching programmes followed in these centres are often very structured and rigid, and may deny children the opportunity to be children and to engage in free discovery learning. Weber (1970:96) says that ``(e)ducation becomes the process of diagnosis and prescription. Even at best this model views learners through their needs, disabilities, and problems rather than viewing them as persons reaching out and growing.'' . Social change and upliftment in this context is unrealistic. Change cannot be brought about simply via a compensatory programme in early childhood centres. Biesheuvel (1978:469) has found that the ``poverty circle'' cannot be broken by education alone. These are important findings. We have to help parents and children in need, but social change will only be realised when the early childhood centre has the total involvement of the parents and the community as a whole. The early childhood centre must therefore be a community centre serving and uplifting the entire community.

ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU READ ON (1) Do you agree with the above findings about the role of the early childhood centre in social change and upliftment? Justify your answer. (2) Visit an early childhood centre in your area. Is the community also involved and not just the children? If so, how is this done? (3) Try to think of at least two ways in which you can serve the community as an early childhood educator.

1.2.3 School readiness

While searching for a quality early childhood centre, Zinzi visited a centre whose principal impressed her greatly. The principal showed her the formal perceptual programme the children follow and told her that practically all the children could read before they started school. Like the majority of uninformed parents, Zinzi was easily impressed by a school which follows a formal programme with a view to obtaining definite results. But is it really the best? School readiness is probably most widely believed to be the main purpose of early childhood education, and it is receiving more and more emphasis in early childhood education. Helping children to be ready for school means helping them to adjust to formal teaching by learning a daily routine and meeting the demands of a classroom situation. It also involves acquiring and improving basic learning skills. One of the great challenges in early childhood teaching is helping a large group of preschoolers to arrive at the level of development required for the first year of school. According to the NEPI document (1992:3) between 25 and 35 per cent of coloured and African children repeat or drop out of their first year at primary school. According to the document there are two sets of factors contributing to poor scholastic performance. The first set includes the unavailability or inaccessibility of schools, poor quality of schooling (overcrowded classrooms, lack of material resources, inadequately trained educators), and lack of schools' responsiveness to local needs and


circumstances. These factors reflect the schools' state of (un)readiness for children. The second set of factors relates to the readiness of children for school and for life, which in turn reflects ``the child's condition and family attitudes and practices, as these are influenced by the more general social and cultural surroundings'' (Myers 1992:218). School readiness as the main purpose of early childhood education is therefore not without merit. However, school readiness, very important as it is, is open to criticism as the only and main purpose of early childhood education.

School readiness as the most important purpose of early childhood education is criticised for the following reasons: . It is one-sided and leads to overemphasis of the cognitive (intellectual) and perceptual skills of the child, rather than encouraging educators to view each child as a total person. . It emphasises formal learning skills at a time when children are not necessarily ready for them. The early childhood years should focus on things like discovery learning, imagination, the educational value of play and creativity. These are all aspects which are vital for later development and learning. School readiness as an aim leads to a limited programme which denies children the right to be children by overlooking the importance of free-play opportunities. . It can lead to drilling children in superficial, isolated skills which, in turn, means that too little attention is given to basic learning skills, such as problem solving. The children may well be able to read and write, but the problem is that other aspects of their development are neglected. Large muscle skills may for instance lag behind because the children are denied the opportunity to jump and climb spontaneously, using their whole bodies. . It gives rise to formal programmes based on the primary school curriculum. Instead of considering the potential of each individual child, curriculum-based demands are made of all the children. Formal programmes demand too much of some children and offer no challenge to others. They can also lead to children deliberately being pushed beyond their personal developmental tempo. These children are then compelled to leave behind them the conditions under which they can learn and develop comfortably. Early childhood centres with school readiness as their only aim limit their own terrain and become pseudo junior primary schools, unable to meet the unique needs of preschool children.

8 . School readiness as main aim also places the onus for school readiness on the child rather than on the schools which should, in fact, be ready for the children. Primary schools must be inclusive all children are ready to learn! Children may be at different levels of development, but the school should be ready to accommodate them all. COMPLETE THIS EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Zinzi follows up her visit to ``this wonderful school'' by asking you for your opinion. Explain to her why that particular school is not necessarily the best choice for her children. Zinzi gets annoyed because you, a preprimary educator and personal friend, are negative about all the preprimary centres which seem acceptable to her, and she asks you point-blank: ``All right then, you tell me what should be the purpose of an acceptable early childhood centre?''

1.2.4 The optimal development of the whole child and parental assistance
Let us take another look at what the purpose of an early childhood centre should entail: . Firstly, the purpose should be comprehensive. This means that no single aspect of the child should be overemphasised. . Secondly, the family should also be involved. The purpose of a good centre for early childhood education should therefore be aimed at . the development of the whole child . assistance and guidance to parents in the education of their child The development of the whole child

As I have indicated, early childhood centres only have a responsible purpose if they involve the child as a whole. This means that a good early childhood centre will . take good care of the child . involve the family and therefore contribute to social change and upliftment . develop the whole child and therefore help the child to learn easily in the more formal setting of primary school, as the child will be school ready According to the Interim Policy for The ECD phase, the vision for the ECD phase is that it will serve as a basis for a positive child and family life, as well as for future learning. It will be concerned with the holistic (total) development of the young child and ensure an environment characterised by safety, protection, impartiality and cultural fairness, to foster attitudinal and psychological healing, reconciliation and nation building (Department of Education 1996:8). The main purpose of early childhood education is to foster competence in young children, not only in intellectual areas but in the total child. Our purpose is to help the child to learn to live with others, to master and safely express his/her feelings, and to love life and welcome new experiences. The purpose of education, then, is to foster competence in dealing with life (Hendrick 1994:2).

PRS101Y/1 Assistance and guidance to parents

It is increasingly seen as very important that early childhood centres should provide support and help to parents. Early childhood educators should not only support parents by giving their children good education, but also by helping them with their children's upbringing. Early childhood centres can also provide a wide range of adult development programmes for parents. Early childhood educators can help parents by . serving as role models for the way they should behave towards their children . involving them in the school's programme . providing information on child development by means of parent interviews, parent days/ evenings, newsletters . helping to start development programmes for parents and other adults in the community, such as health programmes and basic literacy and numeracy programmes When parents are involved, they understand their children better and parental involvement leads to better cooperation between the school, parents and the community. This is one of the most important requirements of a good early childhood centre that it should complement the home and society.

COMPLETE THIS EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON At the beginning of this study unit I discussed the importance of early childhood education. Now try to explain how the fact that parents need early childhood education for their children is related to one of the main purposes of an early childhood centre, namely parental assistance.

In order to realise the vision and purpose of the ECD phase we have to transform these abstract ideas into concrete, achievable objectives outcomes.

1.3 Outcomes for early childhood education

Using our purpose of developing the whole child and helping parents with the education of their child, we can work out the learning outcomes that we want to achieve in our teaching effort in an early childhood centre. We need these learning outcomes in order to guide our teaching. In outcomes-based education it is important to have well-defined learning outcomes as a starting point. This means that what the learner must know (knowledge), be able to do (skills) and feel (attitudes) must be clearly stated. According to the Qualifications Framework for the GETC for Compulsory Schooling (Department of Education 2001:6) two levels of outcomes can be identified for the formal school phase (Grades R to 9). These levels are also applicable to the years before compulsory schooling starts.

1.3.1 Critical and developmental outcomes

These are the central broad outcomes that direct or give focus to teaching and learning

10 ranging from early childhood to lifelong learning. These outcomes direct all teaching and training in our country. Critical outcomes, which form the basis of all qualifications in South Africa (also for teaching in the early years) helps the person. . identify and solve problems, displaying that responsible decisions using critical and creative thinking have been made . work effectively with others as members of a team, group, organisation, or community . organise and manage oneself and one's activities responsibly and effectively . collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate information . communicate effectively using visual, mathematical and/or language skills in the modes of oral and/or written presentation . use science and technology effectively and critically, showing responsibility towards the environment and health of others . demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation In addition, any teaching and learning must make an individual aware of the importance of the developmental outcomes of: . reflecting on and exploring a variety of strategies to learn more effectively . participating as a responsible citizen in the life of local, national and global communities . being culturally and aesthetically sensitive across a range of social contexts . exploring education and career opportunities . developing entrepreneurial opportunities (Department of Education 2001:35) Although the above critical and developmental outcomes may at first glance seem too advanced and unrealistic to even try to apply in early childhood education, it is still very important for us to take note of them. They help us to focus our teaching so that it may form part of the young child's lifelong learning.

COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Study the seven critical outcomes. Then go back to the vision of the ECD phase (according to the Interim Policy for The ECD phase) and the purpose of developing the whole child in childhood teaching. Are these totally unrelated, or can you find some common ground? .................................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................................... ....................................................................................................................................................

1.3.2 Learning outcomes

Another level of outcomes is also covered in the South African outcomes-based educational



model, namely learning outcomes. ``A learning outcome is a description of what learners should know, be able to do and be like at the end of a grade(s).'' (Department of Education 2001:12). Learning outcomes are specific knowledge, skills and values that can be demonstrated. For the formal school years (Grade R to 12) learning outcomes have been formulated for the different learning areas for every school year or grade. Although no fixed learning outcomes are prescribed by the Education Department for the years before Grade R, they are just as important in these years. The positive side of not having fixed outcomes is that an ECD centre, depending on its specific purpose, the educator and the needs of the specific group, can formulate learning outcomes that are custom-made for it. The learning outcomes guide us towards what we want to achieve with the children by the end of the early childhood years (just as the set learning outcomes will guide the teaching and learning in the school grades). In view of the purpose we have established for early childhood education, the learning outcomes for early childhood should cater for the child as a whole person and include the parents as partners. To make it easier to understand and plan our teaching, we divide these learning outcomes into the facets of the whole child and not into learning areas as for the formal school years. Remember: this division is only made to help us order our learning outcomes and to link them to our purpose. We can categorise the learning outcomes according to the facet of childhood development they concern, namely (1) emotional, (2) physical, (3) social, (4) moral, (5) intellectual, and (6) aesthetic.

(Faber & Van Staden 1997:2) Emotional (affective) development

In the ECD phase we should help children to . develop a positive self-image . have a realistic understanding of their own value and potential . exercise increasing control over their emotions and to express them in socially acceptable ways . experience trust (by providing a supportive and secure environment) . achieve increasing emotional stability which will form the foundation of all future learning events

12 Physical development

In the ECD phase we should help children to . be physically safe . be healthy, by providing the available medical and dental services, information and supervision . increasingly obtain physical independence . develop an accurate body image by discovering and understanding their bodies' potential, thus providing a point of departure for intellectual development . develop motor and perceptual skills . overcome or accommodate any physical problems or defects the child may have by identifying them and providing the necessary care Social development

In early childhood we should help children to . acquire acceptable social skills and unbiased attitudes towards age, gender, religion and race . form relationships with both their peers (friends) and adults . meet group demands and to become positively involved in the group (by providing support to the child) . identify with healthy biological gender roles without gender stereotyping Moral development

By providing a positive example, we should help children in early childhood to . develop an understanding of the values and norms underlying a responsible society . accept authority and responsibility and to start to develop self-discipline . acquire a responsible and positive attitude towards life and learning Intellectual development

In early childhood we should help children to . . . . . . form concepts by providing guided, concrete opportunities for discovery and learning develop an investigative attitude directed towards knowledge develop independent problem-solving skills develop learning skills such as observing, sorting, comparing and classifying develop their inborn wish to learn develop a positive attitude towards learning and a love of learning that lasts for life Aesthetic development

In early childhood we should help children to . be aware of the beauty of their surroundings, so that they will learn to appreciate and care for it . experience the satisfaction of creative activities . develop creativity as a way of life



COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Try to rank the learning outcomes discussed above in order of importance. Ask at least three people working in early childhood education to do the same. Do their findings differ from or correspond to your own? What would you say are the reasons for the differences or similarities? Visit a grade 1 class and ask the educator for the learning outcomes for the different learning areas. Try to categorise the above learning outcomes into learning areas instead of developmental facets. Which do you prefer? .................................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................................... ....................................................................................................................................................

1.4 Conclusion
The learning outcomes for ECD teaching are concerned with the development of the total child. Different ECD centres (and even different groups within the same centre) may have different learning outcomes. The most important aspect is that the outcomes must include knowledge, skills and feelings within a total developmental view of the child. Learning outcomes can only be realised if young children are helped to spend their early childhood years in a happy, pleasant environment. They must be allowed to be children, but they also have to be helped not to remain children. Yawkey and Silvern (1976:31) have this to say: Contemporary kindergarten goals emphasize the child's need to be a child to be cared for, to feel secure, to feel warm and loved, to feel important, to feel capable. Education is past the point where one simply stated goal is sufficient to build a program for the kindergarten child.

Self-test questions
Now complete the following questions. This should help you to master the competencies set out in the learning outcomes at the beginning of this study unit. Short questions: test your knowledge (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) Why are the early childhood years important for one's eventual adulthood? (1) Give five reasons why early childhood education is so important in South Africa. (5) Distinguish between critical/developmental outcomes and learning outcomes. (2) Why is it important that the learning outcomes for early childhood education should be well-thought-out and justifiable? (1) Name five factors which must be taken into account when establishing the purpose of an early childhood centre. (5) Name four different views of the most important purpose of early childhood education. (4) Define care as the main purpose of early childhood education. (2) What is the main focus of early childhood education that has social upliftment as main purpose? (1)

14 (9) Why are researchers sceptical about social upliftment as the only purpose of early childhood education? (1) (10) What is the role of early childhood education in social upliftment and change? (3) (11) Why is educational assistance to parents an important purpose of early childhood education? (3) (12) Name four ways in which educational assistance to parents, as a purpose of early childhood education, can be achieved. (4) (13) Name the six facets that must be included in the total development of the young child in an early childhood centre. (3) (14) Why can these facets be separated in theory, but not in practice? (1) Long questions: test your insight (1) Each of the following views is seen as the most important purpose of early childhood education. Discuss each critically. (a) care (b) social change and upliftment (c) school readiness (2) Discuss briefly assistance and support for parents as an important purpose of early childhood education. (3) You are the principal of a brand-new ECD centre. Discuss how you would go about to decide on and formulate learning outcomes for the centre. To illustrate your discussion, add examples of possible learning outcomes.



Study unit 2

The teaching approach in early childhood education

The purpose of this study unit is to familiarise you with the idea of informal and outcomesbased teaching. First read the learning outcomes before you begin to work through this study unit.

Learning outcomes After completing this study unit, you should be able to . define in your own words the meaning of an ``informal'' teaching approach . describe the features of the teaching approach in early childhood education

Zinzi has finally chosen the Unisa Centre for Early Childhood Education for her children. After a while she goes to talk to Adelle, the principal. Her children are very happy, but in her view they are playing too much and not learning enough. They never come home with tidy, photocopied pictures like her friends' children, and the playroom does not meet her expectations either.

2.1 Introduction
You may have felt the same way when you first visited an early childhood centre. The teaching approach is very different from that found in traditional primary and secondary schools! The big difference is that in early childhood education the teaching approach is more open and informal. The teaching approach in an early childhood centre does, however, link very well with the accepted outcomes-based theory that is applied in the more formal classrooms of primary school. In this module we look into the approach that is followed when teaching children between two and six years (Grade R) of age. In later modules, when we discuss outcomesbased teaching in Grades 1 to 3, you will recognise a lot of the principles. The main difference is that in an early childhood centre the teaching is even more ``informal'' and ``open'', because of the developmental level and needs of the young child. This does not mean that the teaching is aimless, unplanned or carried out without adult guidance. On the contrary, a more open or informal approach actually demands more planning and a greater sense of purpose than a formal approach. We now analyse the characteristics of this more informal approach step by step.


2.2 What is meant by an outcomes-based and informal teaching approach?

Adelle (the principal) explains to Zinzi that the early childhood teaching approach differs from that in primary education in that it is informal. Zinzi's first question is, ``But what do you mean by `informal'?'' Informal or open teaching means teaching which takes place in a well-planned environment and provides children with optimal opportunities for self-discovery. Both the children and the educator are actively involved in the teaching and learning events. The children are, within limits, free to select and explore learning activities at their own pace and are eventually assessed according to their own interests and abilities. The educator has a personal, democratic relationship with each child, so that the educator can plan, present and assist each individual child with learning opportunities (Penning 1986:39).

DO THIS EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Answer Zinzi's question by formulating the definition of an informal teaching approach in your own words. .................................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................................... ....................................................................................................................................................

2.3 Characteristics of an informal teaching approach

If we take this definition as our starting point, we can identify the following characteristics of the informal teaching approach: . The playroom and outdoor play areas are planned to provide a variety of opportunities for playing and learning. . The learning content relates to the children's interests and experience and is flexible. . The teaching methods emphasise self-activity (active involvement) and self-discovery (experimentation) by the children, which lead to spontaneous learning. . The educator is constantly assessing the children's learning progress by using a variety of assessment methods, including observing the children. The educator uses assessment to guide the children's learning through discovery. . Discipline is based on a democratic and open relationship between educators and children.

2.3.1 The environment

The most obvious characteristic of the informal teaching approach is the organisation and planning of the school and its individual playrooms. An open-plan design is often used for schools that use the informal teaching approach. The open-plan school building consists of large open areas and few permanent walls. Because the walls can be moved, larger or smaller



areas can be made in a moment to fit the different activities. The building can therefore be adapted to meet both the teaching needs of the educator and the learning needs of the children. However, you should note the point made by Stephens (1974:266): ``We must emphasize that open-plan schools are in no sense pre-requisite to open education. Open classrooms can exist in various environments, including self-contained classrooms in quiet traditional buildings''. Although an open-plan school building is not a prerequisite for the informal teaching approach, this type of school plan does facilitate this approach.

DO THIS EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Visit early childhood centres near you. Do any of them have an open-plan design? Ask their principals about the advantages and disadvantages of an open-plan school design. Write down your observations in the space provided. (Do not confuse an ``open-plan'' school with an ``open'' school. An ``open'' school follows a daily programme where all the different age groups in the school visit different areas (or classrooms) at the same time. These schools may have an open plan, but the teaching approach is different.) .................................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................................... The planning of the playroom is important for the success of the informal teaching approach and differs considerably from the organisation of a traditional classroom. Here are some basic characteristics of a good playroom: . The playroom is divided into different areas, where the children can play according to their specific needs and preferences. . The areas are changed/varied each day to create a variety of opportunities for the children to play, discover and learn. . To promote cooperation between the children, tables and chairs are grouped together, rather than arranged in straight rows. Each play area should provide room for four to six children. . Socialisation is promoted by allowing children to talk to each other. I discuss the planning of playrooms and play areas in more detail in study unit 4.

2.3.2 The learning content

In the informal teaching approach the educator makes sure that the content is meaningful for the children by linking it with their familiar environment, needs and interests. For young children it is very important for subject matter to be relevant, as the content must, after all, make sense to them. The children should be involved in choosing new themes to make sure that the subjects are relevant to them. Stephens (1974:131) says that ``topics should be

18 freely chosen by children to reflect their own interests''. This does not mean that the subject matter should be entirely child-centred; it must, however, be child-directed. Another feature of the subject matter in the informal teaching approach is that it is only a means to an end and not an end in itself. Since the informal teaching approach is directed in particular towards leading children to solve problems themselves, a perfect end product is not important. The learning process is emphasised and not the product. Mastering learning content by rote learning (which formed such a large part of the traditional teaching approach) plays no part in the informal approach. The children are led by the subject matter to think logically and independently and to solve problems. I discuss the choice of learning content in more detail in study unit 5.

ANSWER THIS QUESTION BEFORE YOU READ ON The informal teaching approach is criticised that it focuses too much on the needs of the child. Will it not result in children dictating to their educators what they want to learn? How would you avoid this problem?

2.3.3 Teaching methods

In the informal teaching approach there is a shift in emphasis from teaching to discovery. The children in the group are active partners in the learning events. Teaching methods which involve the children actively in the learning process are used. The following are the most popular teaching methods: . Self-activity (active involvement): The children are actively involved in the learning process. . Self-discovery (experimentation): The educator uses well-chosen, concrete materials to guide the children to come to conclusions, find solutions to problems and gain knowledge by means of their own discoveries.

2.3.4 The role of the educator

Zinzi accepts Adelle's explanation, but there is still one question that worries her. She asks the principal, ``When the educator has prepared the activities, does she still have an important part to play, or does she just sit back and watch the children?'' It should be clear to you by now that the role and responsibilities of early childhood educators who use the informal approach differ from those of the traditional educator. The educator's contribution is still very important, but there have been some definite shifts in emphasis. The role of the educator has changed in the following respects: The educator as planner

In the informal teaching approach two things in particular must be thoroughly planned: the playroom and the learning matter.



a Planning the playroom

The traditional classroom with rows of tables and chairs has disappeared and the informal playroom must consist of attractive play areas. This requires thorough planning by the educator, as these areas must be organised to offer the children a variety of opportunities for discovery and learning. Such an informal playroom has a relaxed, spontaneous atmosphere that may look chaotic to the uninformed. The informal teaching approach can only succeed if the educator has given careful thought to the planning of the play areas in the room. I discuss the planning of playrooms and play areas more fully in study unit 4.

b Planning the subject matter

In the informal teaching approach the educators do not have the security of a rigidly prescribed curriculum. They must work out for themselves what subject matter will be useful to the children, and create the necessary opportunities for discovery. This places extremely high demands on their knowledge, not only of children, but of the variety of topics that they have to teach, such as music, science, mathematics and art. I discuss the choice and planning of learning matter in more detail in study unit 5. The scope of the educator's knowledge

Without real knowledge of the nature and potential of every child, the educator cannot select relevant material or create opportunities for discovery which meet the needs of every child. ECD educators must therefore constantly be alert to the individual needs of the children in the group and be ready to meet these needs. The successful, meaningful planning of the playroom and the choice of relevant subject matter demand in the first instance, a thorough knowledge of each child's needs and interests. Early childhood educators should know and understand each child in the group. In the informal teaching approach, the spontaneous interest of the children must be aroused. The educators not only have to know the contents of a clearly defined curriculum, but must also have a wide general knowledge in order to utilise opportunities for learning. It is important therefore that educators should constantly expand their general knowledge and keep abreast of developments in early childhood teaching. Educator-child relations

One of the most characteristic features of the informal teaching approach compared to traditional teaching is the different relationship between educators and children. Campbell (1976:23) sees this as arising from a more democratic relationship between children and educators. This relationship is characterised by . . . . mutual trust and accessibility sincerity, honesty and openness respect for each other's human dignity, opinions and statements empathy with and understanding of the children, including their feelings about the teaching events . understanding and encouragement of the child's need to be independent This more democratic relationship between educator and child in no way suggests that the educator can withdraw from the teaching-learning events. Although the teaching approach

20 is open and the relationship between educator and child is democratic, the educator still has to be the responsible adult.

2.3.5 Discipline
The early childhood educator's approach to discipline is closely connected to the educatorchild relationship. The children are guided by the educator to take increasing responsibility for their own deeds and behaviour. No corporal punishment is allowed and the educator is sympathetic and understanding towards the children. However, this gentle form of discipline does not give the children absolute freedom. The educator is still the sympathetic and democratic authority figure.

2.3.6 Assessment
Zinzi is now curious to know whether the children in an early childhood centre are evaluated in any way, and she asks the principal. Adelle assures her that assessment of the children (not evaluation) does take place, and explains that it goes hand in hand with observation. In early childhood, the educational assessment of each child as a unique person is necessary. If the informal teaching approach is to be successful, the educator must observe and assess every child throughout the school day. The child is assessed using a variety of methods. It is a continuous process, not a once-off test. Observation of the child is a very important method of assessment and is used to determine the degree of success of the educator's teaching, and to assess the behaviour of the children. Assessment of the children

By using methods such as observation, portfolios and parent interviews, the early childhood educator can assess the children and arrive at important insights about the children that can help to enhance the children's development and improve the teaching effort. Through the assessment of the children the educator can discover . if a child needs help and guidance . the right time to ask leading questions and to talk to the children to guide them to new insights and knowledge during their play . the right time to introduce additional material to enrich the play of a particular child and to create opportunities for further discoveries . the potential, shortcomings, problems and interests of each individual child (important information for purposeful planning) . any special needs a child may have that require attention and help the early identification of problems and potential problems and their correction by the educator or a specialist can prevent serious difficulties later Assessment of the teaching effort

Early childhood educators must constantly assess the activities that they offer in respect of choice, method of presentation, possibilities for improvisation by the children and their own contribution. Ongoing assessment of the teaching effort will give the answer to questions such as the following: . Was the subject matter of interest to the children? . Was the presentation time too long or too short? . Did the children need lots of help, or just guidance?



This ongoing assessment of the teaching contribution leads to improved teaching, as it helps the educator to identify any shortcomings or gaps in the teaching approach. I discuss assessment in early childhood teaching in more detail in Study Guide 2 for this module.

DO THIS EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON You have now reached the end of study unit 2. Pretend that you have to answer questions from someone like Zinzi, and explain in your own words the differences between traditional teaching and the informal teaching approach.

Now complete the following questions. This should help you to master the competencies set out in the learning outcomes at the beginning of this study unit.

Self-test questions
Short questions: test your knowledge (1) Complete the sentence: ``The approach to teaching in the early childhood centre is ... .'' (1) (2) Name five characteristics of the teaching approach used in ECD education. (5) (3) Define open-plan school design. (2) (4) Is an open-plan school design a prerequisite for the informal teaching approach? (1) (5) Name four characteristics of a playroom that is specifically planned for the informal teaching approach. (3) (6) Name two characteristics of the learning content for an informal teaching approach.(2) (7) Explain briefly why the relevance of learning content is important in ECD education. (1) (8) Name one way in which learning content can be made relevant for the children in an early childhood centre. (1) (9) Complete the sentence: ``The subject matter in early childhood teaching is not childcentred, but it is ... .'' (1) (10) Why is a perfect end product not important in the informal teaching approach? (1) (11) Why is the meaningless memorisation of subject matter not important in an informal and outcomes-based teaching approach? (1) (12) What is characteristic of the teaching methods applied in an informal and outcomesbased teaching approach? (1) (13) Name two teaching methods that are especially important in the informal teaching approach. (2) (14) Why does the planning of the learning content make greater demands on the early childhood educator than on primary or secondary school educators? (1) (15) Why is the early childhood educator's knowledge of the needs and interests of each child so important for successful teaching? (5) (16) Why do early childhood educators need a good general knowledge? (2) (17) Name five characteristics of the relationship between the educator and child in a good early childhood centre. (5) (18) Does the informal teaching approach give children absolute freedom? Write a sentence to support your answer. (1)

22 (19) Why is it important for early childhood educators to assess their own contribution to the teaching events? (2) (20) Why is ongoing observation of the children so important for successful teaching? (3) Long questions: test your insight (1) Define in your own words ``the informal teaching approach''. (2) Discuss the following aspects of teaching and show how they are applied in the informal teaching approach: (a) the environment (250 words) (b) subject matter (250 words) (c) teaching methods (250 words) (3) Discuss the role of the educator in the informal teaching approach to ECD education. (4) Critically discuss the following statement: ``Because of the informal teaching approach used in ECD education, the teaching is child-centred. This means that there is no discipline and that the subject matter is child-centred.''



Study unit 3

The daily programme in the early childhood centre

The purpose of this study unit is to familiarise you with the concept ``daily programme'', its requirements and its major components. Read the learning outcomes before you begin to work through this study unit.

Learning outcomes After completing this study unit, you should be able to . explain what is meant by a daily programme . set out the sequence of a daily programme . discuss the major components of the daily programme and the role of the early childhood educator in each . discuss the characteristics of a successful daily programme . work out a typical daily programme for the different groups in an early childhood centre, making sure of parental involvement . evaluate a daily programme, using the generally accepted requirements of a good daily programme as criteria

3.1 Introduction
One day Zinzi asks Adelle if she can stay on and see what her children do all day. This makes Adelle decide to hold a parents' evening and explain the school's daily programme with the aid of a slide presentation. Adelle asks you to help her put together the information and the slide programme. Your first job is to find information about the major components of the daily programme and their sequence. Let us begin! It is our job as early childhood educators to help children to develop by creating a playing and learning environment in which they can spend their early childhood years happily. This means that it is our responsibility to create a school environment in which the children can learn while they play, and play while they learn. The opportunities for play in an early childhood centre are structured in a daily programme. Such a daily programme involves much more than timetabling. The daily programme in the early childhood centre differs from the formal school

24 timetable in primary and secondary schools in that it is not rigid, but a framework within which there are opportunities to meet the children's needs of the moment. A well-thought-out daily programme is a prerequisite for successful teaching in an early childhood centre. As mentioned before, outsiders may think that an early childhood centre has no structure or organisation. Hildebrand (1981:70) agrees that it is possible to think so, but comments that ``the children seem to be doing just what they want to do. Yet it is in fact a framework or structure with flexibility and room for individuality.'' The main feature of a successful daily programme is the division of the children's day into various presentations, without ever being rigid or inflexible. In our collection of information about the daily programme, we will first analyse the sequence of the programme.

3.2 Sequence of the daily programme

This is an example of the sequence of events in a daily programme. DAILY PROGRAMME TIME 7:00 7:308:00 8:008:15 PRESENTATION educator arrives Arrival time Group discussion One or two of the following: religious instruction news theme and/or science discussion discussion of free play activities/main art activity birthday celebration (can also be part of group activity later in the day) 8:159:30 9:3010:00 Free play (indoors) Clearing up Routine activity Art activities, fantasy play, books, blocks, educational games Visit to bathroom and mid-morning snack Music and/or movement activity Outside apparatus, water and sand activities, woodwork, big art activities, fantasy play, gardening Visit to bathroom Story time Rest Departure ACTIVITIES Preparation and layout of activities for the day

10:0010:20 Group presentation 10:2011:30 Free play (outdoors)

11:3011:45 Routine activity 11:4512:15 Group presentation 12:1513:00 Routine activity

The programmes for older groups (eg the reception year) and younger groups (eg a toddler group) will differ. I use a typical programme that is suitable for ages four to six years old, as this type of programme includes all the main elements and activities. Remember, however,



that programmes will vary from group to group and also between early childhood centres, as circumstances and needs differ.

3.2.1 Discussion of the daily programme

Logan and Logan (1974:35) sketch the presentation and activities in the daily programme as follows:

1. Social living through physical activities and safe use of equipment

2. Use of materials art

3. Songs, music, rhythms, appreciation and interpretation

4. Lunch

5. Rest

6. Outside play

7. Games

8. Science

9. Development of language through stories, poems, dramatisation.

10. Social studies excursions to gain experience and information Arrival
Arrival is a very important time of the day. It is essential that each child should be greeted by name by his/her own educator. The children immediately feel safe and welcome if their educator is there and knows them by name. Free play (indoors and outdoors)

The educator must plan and prepare a variety of activities for the group. The children themselves choose what they want to play with. This includes art activities such as painting, drawing, cutting and pasting, and collage which form an important part of free play activities, both indoors and outdoors. Other play opportunities such as construction apparatus (blocks and/or Lego), educational toys, imaginative play and looking at books in the book area are offered at the same time. Refreshment time

It is important to have morning refreshments, as many children come to school without a good breakfast. Refreshments at school must be nourishing and should consist of items like fruit, fruit juice, milk, cheese and yoghurt. Refreshment time is also a time for rest and relaxation after the active play of the morning. The social value of refreshments should not be

26 overlooked it provides the opportunity to create a warm, homely atmosphere, which gives children a sense of security and encourages social interaction. Adult-guided group presentations

There are usually three opportunities in the daily programme for the children to participate as a group in activities under the educator's guidance. These presentations are group discussions, music, movement activities, and story time. Music and movement activities are usually presented on alternate days. Story time and informal discussions are daily events. Informal group discussions are activities in which the whole group chats informally with the educator about a particular theme. The group then discusses daily news, or the educator introduces new art activities or explains something on the science table. The duration of a discussion will depend on what is being discussed and the age of the group. Rest time

After playing all morning, the children need rest. A rest time also prevents the younger ones from being overtired and irritable when they are taken home. The children are never forced to have a nap. To prevent the wakeful ones from disturbing the children who do want to sleep, quiet activities are offered, such as looking at picture books, simple games and jigsaw puzzles. Departure
The educator must be present when the children leave, just as he/she was when they arrived. It is important to say goodbye to each child individually and to make some friendly remarks.

COMPLETE THIS EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Visit an early childhood centre and compare its daily programme with the example given here. Ask the principal why a similar (or different) programme is being followed, and write down the reasons.

3.3 Major components of the daily programme

Adelle has decided that she will not only explain the daily programme to the parents, but will also report on its most important components, emphasising the purpose of each component and the educator's role in it. Adelle's considerable expertise has been gained from observations in her own and other schools and from various books on the topic; she uses these to illustrate the components to the parents. The daily programme can be divided into different time blocks which together comprise the major components of the programme. Time blocks are periods of time which, without being of the same inflexible length, or occurring in the same predetermined sequence, still occur every day in more or less the same order. Time blocks can also be used to plan the daily programme.

27 The following three time blocks/periods must be included:


. free play indoors and outdoors . adult-guided group presentations music, movement activities, group discussions and stories . routine activities arrival and departure times, toilet routines, refreshments and/or meals and rest times The duration of each time block or component and the number of times each is repeated during the day depends on . the purpose of the early childhood centre . the needs of the children . the circumstances and events of the day Dividing the daily programme into components or time blocks is a good method, for the following reasons: . Although the children can anticipate certain parts of the daily programme, which gives them a sense of security, the programme is not inflexible. . Time blocks are a guarantee of balance and variation in the daily programme. It is very important that free play, adult-guided group presentations and routine activities should feature in the daily programme and that there should be a balance between free play and the adult-guided time blocks. It is important for you to understand the unique nature, aim and place of each time block or component in the daily programme. Also try to identify the different roles of the educator in each major component.

3.3.1 The free-play periods What is free play?
Free play forms the heart of the daily programme and there should be two time blocks of at least an hour each devoted to it every day. Hymes (1981:102) has this to say: Free play is ``free'', because the child chooses what he does, how he does it, how long he does it and with whom he does it. Free play is ``play'', because the activity strikes so deep a chord of pleasure within the child. But free play is also learning. When the learning stops, something is wrong and it is time for a change. Free-play periods are the times in the daily programme when the children have a free choice of play activities. They can explore at their own speed and according to their own interests, needs and abilities the various play activities which the educator has planned, prepared and offered. During the free-play sessions the children must have a wide variety of play opportunities. Free play offers them the freedom to select from a range of activities, yet it is never free from the standards of acceptable behaviour, which are always expected of the children. The ideal arrangement for free play allows the children to play in the playroom or outside, as they wish. This is often not possible in practice, as there would always have to be educators supervising the children both indoors and out. A shortage of staff or problems with the design of the school building may make this impossible. If the children first play inside and

28 then outside, the educators must take care to provide a rich variety of play opportunities in both areas. The purpose of free-play periods

Free-play periods are important because they provide the children with the opportunity to . choose for themselves, thus laying the foundation for responsible, independent decision making . explore and manipulate different play activities; because the activities are different and there are no right or wrong choices, each child can operate on his/her own developmental level . learn acceptable social behaviour; while playing together the children can be helped to become less egocentric and to let others have a turn . solve problems independently and think and use language creatively and . have a change in the daily programme; young children are not capable of sitting still and concentrating for long periods and free play therefore provides an essential break after a less active period such as group discussions Free play opportunities indoors and outdoors

Successful free play demands a variety of play opportunities. The educator must plan these and take care that a balanced choice is provided. Free play activities which can be performed indoors or outdoors include different kinds of art activities, block building and play with other construction materials, educational games, time spent in the book area, fantasy play in the fantasy area, and so forth. I deal with play opportunities in detail in study unit 4 of this study guide. The various possible art activities are dealt with extensively in the first-year module on ``Art and handwork''. The role of the educator

The early childhood educator has an important role in the free-play periods which I will now discuss.

a Thorough planning for a variety of play opportunities

Because the children have freedom of choice during free-play periods, the early childhood educator must ensure that the variety of play activities is large enough, without being overwhelming and confusing. The younger the children, the more limited the choice should be, as too wide a choice leads to insecurity and aimless play. On the other hand, a small range of play activities which are constantly repeated will lead to boredom and negative behaviour among older children. The choice of play opportunities must be made with great deliberation, so that individual needs can be met and the free-play sessions will be balanced and varied.

b Preparation
The early childhood educator must prepare and set out all the play apparatus and materials before the children arrive. All apparatus and media must be in good order and available. Half an hour before school starts, the different activities planned for the first free play period must be set out attractively. The educator must ensure that the atmosphere in the playroom is



welcoming and that the children feel safe about playing and discovering. The educator can withhold a few play activities and offer them later during the free-play session.

c Meaningful discipline
Although the educator must not dictate the children's play, as children need to explore, certain rules are always important, especially safety rules. Meaningful discipline means that you, as the educator . . . . . decide in advance what rules are necessary keep rules to the minimum explain the reason for each rule to the children apply rules consistently make any corrections on a positive note, for instance: ``Rather walk in the playroom because someone could get knocked over if you run'', instead of: ``Stop that running!''

d Safety
Some activities are potentially dangerous: threading beads, climbing trees, using outdoor climbing apparatus. The educator must never relax his/her supervision and must ensure that the children are informed about the possible dangers. It is particularly important for the educator to keep a watchful eye during outdoor play and to ensure that the apparatus is safe and unbroken.

e Verbalise the children's play

Perhaps the educator's most important role in ensuring that the children will learn through playing is to help the child to talk about his/her play. You must observe the spontaneously playing group and ask questions about the play activities and talk about them. In this way the children learn new words and concepts. Talking to the group will also foster listening and communication skills.

f Individual attention and emotional support

Some of the children still have to learn to play, especially with other children. The early childhood educator must help them to socialise, as they often feel alone and insecure. Also, if a child really struggles with a certain activity, replace it with an easier alternative. It is important to give individual attention to each and every child, even if it is only a word of encouragement or a question which may enrich the child's play. Help your group to learn to control their emotions. Differences of opinion are normal and young children have to learn that physical fights are not acceptable. Help the children to play in a socially acceptable way, without overorganising the play and smothering initiative.

g Observation
The early childhood educator must observe all activities closely during the free-play sessions, so that he/she can give the children the help and guidance they need. Unless the educator observes play closely, it is impossible to know when to intervene or to help with a problem.

h Assessment
It is very important for the educator to assess the events of the free-play session once it is

30 over. The educator must decide whether it was successful or not, and why. This is essential for the planning of future free-play periods and for the improvement of the teaching effort. COMPLETE THIS EXERCISE BEFORE READING ON (1) Visit an early childhood centre near you and observe a free-play period. Can you identify the different aspects of the educator's role? Ask the educator what he/she sees as the most difficult aspect of free play, and why this is so. Write down your findings in the space provided. ............................................................................................................................................ ............................................................................................................................................ ............................................................................................................................................ (2) What do you see as the educator's most difficult task during free play? Justify your answer.

3.3.2 Adult-guided group periods

What are adult-guided group periods? Adult-guided group periods are periods during the daily programme when the children come together as a group and the early childhood educator takes the lead and makes simple demands of the group. These periods are devoted to music, movement activities, story time and group discussions. Very little time is allocated to these periods in the daily programme, and they usually take place at fixed times, apart from unplanned sessions which arise naturally from the circumstances of the day. The purpose of adult-guided group periods

Although these periods are brief, they are very important. The social capabilities and play habits of young children are insufficiently developed and do not allow for uninterrupted free play. The adult-guided group periods offer the children a change from active free play.These periods are important because they contribute to the following facets of the development of the total child: social development, moral development, aesthetic development, intellectual development and guided play.

a Social development
Because these periods involve group interaction, the children learn how to behave in groups. An elementary form of team spirit arises, because the group operates as a unit. This is especially helpful for any older children who may be experiencing problems and are prone to playing alone all the time. The children must also gradually learn that they are not the centre of the universe and that others have a rightful place as well.

b Moral development
During group presentations the children also come to learn that there are certain social laws, values and standards which apply to everyone. They learn to accept authority and conform to social rules.



c Aesthetic development
The beautiful side of life can be emphasised by presenting the children with nice stories and music, and interesting and attractive objects for group discussions. If we can develop in young children the ability to participate happily in these types of activities, we are laying the foundations for the enjoyment of and respect for such activities when they are adults, thus teaching them good taste. This can also be done by deliberately drawing the children's attention to pretty flowers, somebody's attractive clothes or anything beautiful in the environment.

d Intellectual development
Adult-guided group periods are important for many aspects of the children's intellectual development. Here are a few examples. . The children's language ability improves. Listening to stories, telling their news and hearing news items about other children give the children opportunities to talk. During these periods the educator must take care to use very good language. Many children hardly speak at all, and their vocabulary and even pronunciation are inadequate, because adults do not talk to them enough. In adult-guided group periods the early childhood educator has an opportunity to talk to the children and encourage discussion. . The children acquire knowledge. During these periods, topics such as interesting objects and events in nature, the different occupations of children's parents, the functions and manufacturing of goods and the interesting feast days of different cultures can be discussed. The early childhood educator conveys the information and this encourages the children to talk and become enthusiastic about information. . The children learn to listen and concentrate. The use of music and stories, for example, teaches the children to listen and to concentrate on what is happening around them.

e Affective development
Shy, withdrawn children in particular can benefit from doing things and listening along with others. When they are part of a group, they feel secure and gradually become enterprising enough to risk acting alone. (Loners should, however, not be pressurised.)

f Guided play
Adult-guided group presentations give the daily programme considerable order and stability. After a period of free play, they not only provide a change, but give the educator an opportunity to direct the children's play into constructive areas again. Important planning principles for the adult-guided group periods

. The activities of the adult-guided group presentations should match the developmental level of the group. If the activities are too difficult, the children get restless, and if they are too easy, they get bored. . The children's physical control and ability to concentrate must be taken into account. Young children cannot sit still and concentrate for long periods. The length of the period must be modified according to the needs of the age group.


Age 0 to 18 months 18 months to 3 years 3 to 4 years 4 to 5 years 5 to 6 years

Length Not suitable 58 minutes 812 minutes 1220 minutes 2030 minutes (maximum)

. Young children are egocentric and want to get involved in the activities immediately. They are not yet able to wait a long time for their turn. All the children should be involved in the presentation and there should be no uninvolved onlookers. . Even though specific inputs are expected of the children in adult-guided group periods, the teaching approach should remain informal. . The nature of the activities quiet, like story time, or lively, like movement activities will determine at what time of day they are presented. Adult-guided group periods during the heat of the day should be short, quiet and interesting, while music and movement activities offer a welcome change after a quiet time. . The adult-guided group periods should form a unit with the rest of the daily programme. The theme of the music, movement activities, group discussion or story can serve to introduce free-play activities such as art. . The period should end on a quiet, tranquil note so that the children can change to the next presentation in a calm and relaxed fashion. The role of the early childhood educator in adult-guided group presentations
The success of adult-guided group periods depends largely on the early childhood educator, who must concentrate on the following five points: planning and presentation, enthusiasm, involving all the children, discipline and observation.

a Planning and preparation

Thorough planning and preparation for the presentations are essential. Children are easily bored if the presentation is disorganised and lacks variety and originality. The educator must know exactly what must be done and how it will be presented. All media must be assembled before the presentations and they must be at hand so that the presentation is not interrupted.

b Enthusiasm
The early childhood educator himself/herself must enjoy and take an interest in what he/she presents to the children. If the educator is halfhearted and uninterested, the children will develop the same attitude.

c Involving all the children

The educator has a prominent role during group presentations, but this does not mean that the children should be passive onlookers. They should be actively involved. Their ideas and initiative should be incorporated into the presentation and spontaneous participation should be encouraged.



d Discipline
Participation should never be enforced. Young children should not be forced to remain in the group if they begin to lose interest. However, no child can be allowed to disrupt the whole group. A disruptive child must either sit beside the educator to calm down, or must be kept busy with another quiet activity within sight of the educator. Negative discipline (like complete removal from the group) should not be used with children whose behaviour is a problem. It is essential to be positive at all times and explain to the child that his or her behaviour is unacceptable, but that the child can come and play with the others again at any time if he or she behaves properly. Disciplinary rules must be applied consistently and the children must know exactly what is expected of them. Always make reasonable rules the purpose of group presentations is not to apply military discipline, but to create enjoyable experiences.

e Observation
The educator should watch the children all the time and adjust the presentation to their needs. If the educator notices any signs of restlessness, boredom or distress he/she must adapt or even end the presentation.

3.3.3 Routine activities

Routine activities, including events such as arrival, departure, meals, refreshments, visiting the bathroom and rest periods, are the third component of the daily programme. The purpose of routine activities

Routine activities are important for the following reasons: . They provide a firm framework within which the young children's day can be planned. The younger the children, the more of the day will be spent on routine activities. . Because routine is familiar, the children develop a sense of security. . The children can anticipate certain parts of the daily programme, eg ``After we have played outside, we get our milk.'' This reinforces their sense of security. . It gives the children a chance to become more independent physically. This component will be dealt with in detail in the modules on ``Health in early childhood'', which are also for this degree.

3.4 Requirements of a successful daily programme

Adelle has provided all the information on the course and explained the main components of the daily programme, but the parents have one last question: ``How can we evaluate a daily programme and decide whether it actually does offer our children the activities they need and whether it is properly organised?'' Adelle understands their problem and decides to draw up criteria for a daily programme in order to meet this need. A successful daily programme has certain characteristics. We can use these characteristics as criteria against which we can evaluate the suitability of an existing daily programme.


3.4.1 Outcomes-oriented
The purpose and the learning outcomes of the early childhood centre determine not only the learning content, but also the choice of periods in the daily programme. The purpose of the childhood centre and the essential outcomes for each individual group must be reflected in the daily programme. The unique needs of particular children, for example those who live in flats and who spend the entire day at the early childhood centre, or those with educational, maturational or developmental shortcomings (which are taken into account when determining the outcomes) must also be reflected in the daily programme. COMPLETE THIS EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Visit an early childhood centre near you and ask the principal how the school provides for the unique needs of its children in the daily programme. Write down your findings below. .................................................................................................................................................... ....................................................................................................................................................

3.4.2 Involve the whole child

Just as the outcomes of ECD education must include the whole child, a successful daily programme must provide different presentations so that every part of the child's development is involved. Activities that will better the child's physical, affective, social, intellectual, aesthetic and moral development must be included in the daily programme. Physical development

The physical development of young children, and particularly large motor skills, are promoted by including presentations such as movement activities, music and outdoor play opportunities which allow the child to use his/her whole body. Small motor and perceptual skills are in turn developed by including activities such as art and games (educational toys) which are directed at perceptual skills. Routine activities further the child's physical independence. Affective development

The affective development of young children is encouraged by including presentations such as religious instruction, music and children's literature and art. Social development

The social skills of the children are furthered by presentations such as music, movement activities and free-play opportunities during which they have to get along with each other. Intellectual development

The intellectual development of young children is promoted by including opportunities for language development in presentations such as story time, discussions, conversations among the children, and conversations between the children and the educator. Presentations like excursions and experiments on science tables help to advance knowledge and develop thinking skills.


PRS101Y/1 Aesthetic development

The aesthetic development of young children is stimulated by including presentations such as art, music and story time. Moral development

The moral attitude of young children is developed through the inclusion of religious instruction and similar activities in the daily programme.

ANSWER THIS QUESTION BEFORE YOU READ ON Compare the learning outcomes of ECD education, which are aimed at the development of the whole child, with the requirements for a successful daily programme, which are also aimed at involving the whole child. You will see that they are directly connected. Why do you think this is so?

3.4.3 Balance
A successful daily programme is a balanced daily programme. Care must be taken that there is a balance in the daily programme between . . . . . indoor and outdoor play free-play and adult-guided periods opportunities for socialisation and individualisation active and quiet presentations consistency and flexibility Indoor and outdoor play

Opportunities must be created for the children to play inside and outside the playroom. Outdoor play opportunities are often regarded as relatively unimportant compared to those inside the playroom, so less time is made available for them. Seefeldt (1980b:118) says: ``One myth of contemporary education is that most learning takes place in a classroom.'' A daily programme can therefore only be successful if it provides sufficient opportunity for play both inside and outside the playroom. Young children who spend too much time cooped up together in a playroom get bored, unruly and difficult to handle. Free-play and adult-guided group periods

A successful daily programme is arranged so that opportunities for free play alternate with adult-guided group periods. As we have said, free play enables young children to practise independent decision making. The children can decide on the basis of their own interests and abilities how long they are going to take part in any of the various activities on offer during the free-play periods. Adult-guided group presentations, on the other hand, are important because young children's abilities to play and socialise are not sufficiently developed to allow them to play alone for long periods of time. Adult-guided group sessions offer a break from active free play and redirect play into meaningful avenues.

36 Socialisation and individualisation

A successful daily programme is organised in such a way that opportunities for individualisation alternate with opportunities for socialisation. Even if the children's ages are about the same, no group can be regarded as homogeneous. Each child is an individual, so the daily programme must meet the individual needs of the children. Reilly (1983a:8) says: ``Early learning programmes will be successful in so far as they are able to respect the uniqueness of each individual child.'' There must be opportunities in the daily programme for small-group and large-group activities to help the children with socialisation and to work together as a group. Active and quiet periods

To prevent boredom, the daily programme must be organised in such a way that there is a balance between presentations during which the children are more passive (such as listening to a story) and those during which they participate actively. Outdoor play should, for instance, be followed by a presentation like story time, so that the children can relax and calm down after the intense activity. Consistency and flexibility

A balance must be maintained between consistency and flexibility in the daily programme. Consistency refers to the regular sequence of events, which gives the children a sense of security. The children know more or less what to expect. Consistency in the daily programme can be achieved by doing routine activities at more or less the same times every day. A successful daily programme should, however, be flexible enough to allow for unexpected events or to accommodate a change in the interests of the children.

3.4.4 Time management in the daily programme Enough time for free play
We have discussed free play in detail earlier in this study unit. Although one cannot say that one component of the daily programme is more important than another, free play does form the heart of the programme and it is therefore important that there should be sufficient time for it. The length of the free-play sessions will depend on the ability of the group. They should not be too short; enough time must be given for the development of meaningful play. Sufficient uninterrupted time for free play offers the children an opportunity not only to explore and get to know the play material, but also to share in social and imaginative play. Plan for clearing up after presentations

It is important that the children should gradually start helping with the tidying up of the play materials after presentations. When planning the daily programme, time must be set aside for this. Hildebrand (1981:76) says that, ``If presented in a positive manner, clean-up time can be fun for the children especially if the educator is assisting.''

3.4.5 Group needs

In planning the daily programme, the time and duration of presentations are only two points to be considered. The most important factor remains the unique needs of the children. Beaty



(1984:217) emphasises how important it is to know the children when the daily programme is being drawn up: ``First it is knowing your children, knowing what they are like as a group and how they differ as individuals. It is getting a feeling for how they feel at different times of the day.'' It is important for the early childhood educator to keep the following in mind when planning the daily programme: . . . . . the the the the the needs of the particular group socio-economic background of the group layout of the school geographical location of the school time of year

Many early childhood centres have separate summer and a winter programmes to provide for different weather conditions.

3.4.6 Time allocation

One of the biggest problems attached to drawing up the daily programme is that of the amount of time to be devoted to each presentation. The following division is a good guideline: . . . . free play: 50 per cent routine activities: 2223 per cent adult-guided group activities: 1314 per cent tidying up: 1314 per cent

Of course, this is not fixed: the younger the children, the more time is taken up by routine activities (physically caring for the children). The daily programme gradually becomes more structured and fixed as the children grow older. COMPLETE THIS EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Visit a centre which accommodates children between three months and six years of age. Compare the daily programmes for the various groups and point out the differences. Ask the principal to give reasons for the differences in time divisions. Write down your findings in the space provided. .................................................................................................................................................... ....................................................................................................................................................

3.4.7 Parental involvement

The ideal of having the early childhood centre and home complementing each other can only be achieved if the parents are involved in the teaching. When drawing up the daily programme, time must deliberately be set aside for parents. The early childhood educator can involve parents by: . asking them to bring their children to the educator in the mornings and to collect them in the same way . inviting them to share in the presentation of activities, for example, a musical parent could be invited to give a brief performance, while the educator provides guidance to the children

38 . inviting parents in service occupations (firemen or police or traffic officers) to visit the playroom in their uniforms, or by inviting parents in health-care occupations to come and talk to the children . asking parents with jobs of interest to the children such as television, film or catering services if the children can visit their place of work . inviting parents to take part in story time, excursions and birthday celebrations Parental involvement in teaching has the following positive results: . It makes the children's experience of the early childhood centre more pleasant. . The parents gain a better understanding of the purpose of the early childhood centre. . Parents acquire more insight into and information about the developmental levels of young children. This leads to an increased understanding of their own children and their potential. . The educator can provide guidance to the parents during their visits, thus helping both the parents and the educator to gain a better understanding of the young children. COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Visit an early childhood centre near you and ask the principal how parental involvement is encouraged. Write down your findings. Try to think of two other ways to boost parental involvement and write them down as well, using the space provided. .................................................................................................................................................... ....................................................................................................................................................

3.5 Evaluating Evaluating the daily programme

It is very important that the daily programme should be evaluated so that gaps will show up and changes can be made. Leeper et al (1980:220221) list nine questions which the early childhood educator should ask in order to evaluate the day's events: (1) Were the activities balanced in respect of type and place? (2) Were the activities planned to suit the weather, the locale, the time available and the developmental level of the group? (3) Did each child have the opportunity to make his or her own decisions? (4) Was there a balance between large-group, small-group and individual activities? (5) Were enough familiar activities included, especially routine ones, to make the children feel secure? (6) Did the children have enough freedom to create, explore and experiment? If so, what did they achieve? (7) Were the activities purposeful and planned in such a way that the children's insight, skills and knowledge were developed? (8) Was there enough time for routine activities? (9) Was particular attention given to planning for individual children with special needs? ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU READ ON Using the characteristics of a successful daily programme as a basis, draw up at least 10 further questions which educators could use to evaluate their daily programme. Use them to compile a check list which Zinzi and the other parents can use to evaluate a daily programme.



Self-test questions
Now complete the following questions. This should help you to master the competencies set out in the learning outcomes at the beginning of this study unit. Short questions: test your knowledge (1) How does the daily programme of an early childhood centre differ from the timetable of a primary school? (1) (2) Why might an outsider see the daily programme as unstructured and disorganised?(1) (3) What is the determining factor in drawing up the daily programme? (1) (4) When drawing up the daily programme, the educator should consider three characteristics of the preprimary age group. What are they? (3) (5) Give an example of how the unique needs of each of the following kinds of children should be reflected in the daily programme: (a) children who live in flats (eg more opportunities for free play out of doors) (b) children who spend the whole day at school (c) children with poor language development


(6) Name three presentations which should be included in the daily programme to give the children the chance to use their whole body. (3) (7) Name a presentation which gives the children practice in small motor and perceptual skills. (1) (8) Fill in the missing word: ``.................... activities further physical independence in young children''. (1) (9) How do musical presentations promote the development of social skills in young children? (1) (10) Name three opportunities which can be provided in the daily programme to develop the children's language skills. (3) (11) Name three presentations which promote the children's cognitive skills. (3) (12) Why is it essential for the children to have enough opportunities to play outside? (2) (13) Give five reasons for including free play in the daily programme. (5) (14) Name four adult-guided group presentations in the daily programme. (4) (15) Give three reasons why adult-guided group presentations should form part of the daily programme. (4) (16) Why should opportunities for individualisation be built into the daily programme? (1) (17) What are the benefits of small-group activities? (2) (18) Name one of the benefits that group presentations have for young children. (1) (19) Give an example of how tedium and boredom can be prevented in the daily programme. (2) (20) Give two reasons why enough time must be provided for free play in the daily programme. (2) (21) State two characteristics of successful tidying-up procedures after presentations. (2) (22) What percentage of the available time should be devoted to free play? (1) (23) Why is it important to have consistency in the daily programme? (1) (24) How can consistency be achieved in the daily programme? (1) (25) Why should the daily programme be flexible and not rigid? (2) (26) How can we realise the ideal of having the early childhood centre complement the parental home? (1) (27) State five factors which early childhood educators must bear in mind when planning a daily programme for a specific age group. (5) (28) Define the term ``time blocks''. (1)

40 (29) How would you decide on the duration of a time block in the daily programme? (3) (30) Name two advantages of time blocks. (2) (31) ``Arrival is a very important moment in a young child's day.'' Justify this statement in one sentence. (1) (32) Name five activities which might be presented during free play. (5) (33) Give three examples of activities which can be presented during informal group discussions. (3) (34) Why is it so important to offer refreshments during the morning at early childhood centres? (3) (35) Which is the odd one out: art, music, movement activities, or story time? Explain your answer in one sentence. (2) (36) Why is it important to evaluate the planned daily programme? (2) (37) Name the three main components of the daily programme. (3) (38) Does free play mean general freedom? Explain your answer in one sentence. (1) (39) Why is the opportunity to make their own decisions during free play important for young children's development? (1) (40) Name four factors which should determine the choice of activities offered by the early childhood educator during free play. (4) (41) How can the educator ensure that meaningful discipline is maintained during free play? State three methods which can be practised. (3) (42) Why is it so important for the early childhood educator to observe the children during free play? (2) (43) Define the term ``adult-guided group periods''. (3) (44) What is the value of adult-guided group periods for introverted (withdrawn) children? (1) (45) How long should the adult-guided group periods last for the following age groups: (a) 0 to 18 months (b) 18 months to three years (c) three to four years (d) four to five years (e) five to six years


(46) Why should all the children be involved in an adult-guided group presentation? (2) (47) What determines the time of day when a specific kind of adult-guided activity is presented? Ilustrate your answer with two examples. (3) (48) Why is it important for adult-guided group presentations to have a calm, quiet ending? (1) (49) What might cause a preprimary group to be reluctant to participate in adult-guided group presentations? (1) (50) What is the aim of routine activities in the daily programme? (5) Long questions: test your insight (1) The optimal development of young children into whole people is the aim of ECD education. Show how this objective is achieved by means of a successful daily programme. (2) ``Balance is a vital element in a successful daily programme.'' Justify this statement by discussing balance as a requirement of the daily programme. (3) Discuss the following statement: ``The daily programme is characteristically predictable, without being rigid or inflexible.'' (4) Discuss parental involvement as an important requirement for a successful daily programme.



(5) Name and discuss the most important factors the early childhood educator has to bear in mind when planning a daily programme for a specific early childhood centre. (6) Lay out the course of the daily programme point by point. (7) Evaluate the following daily programme, which is followed by an early childhood centre in the Johannesburg-Pretoria area. All groups, from the age of two years, follow the same programme. Parents are not allowed in the playrooms during school hours (from eight o'clock to one o'clock). The programme remains constant throughout the year. 7:008:00: 8:008:30: 8:309:00: 9:009:30: 10:0010:30: 10:3011:00: 11:0011:30: 11:3012:00: 12:0013:00: Arrival Religious instruction Presentation of one creative activity (changed daily) Visit to the bathroom 9:3010:00: Music and movement Refreshments Perceptual activities (eg workbooks) Story Outdoor play Rest and departure

(8) Discuss free-play periods under the following headings: (a) Definition (in your own words) of ``free play'' as part of the daily programme (b) The purpose of free play (c) The role of the educator in free play (3 pages) (9) ``Although adult-guided presentations are brief, they are very important in the daily programme.'' Explain why this is the case. (10) Name and discuss the most important principles in planning adult-guided group presentations. (11) Discuss, using suitable subheadings, the role of the early childhood educator in adultguided group presentations.


Study unit 4

Planning for play in an early childhood centre

The main purpose of this study unit is to introduce you to the most important play opportunities which should be made available during free play. Read the learning outcomes before you begin to work through this study unit.

Learning outcomes After completing this unit you should be able to . justify the importance of play in young children's development . discuss the value and the role of the educator in the most important play opportunities inside and outside the playroom . discuss in your own words, using practical examples, the planning of the different play areas in the playroom Other parents with children at the Unisa Centre for ECD asked Adelle, the principal, the same question that Zinzi raised in a private conversation: ``Aren't the children playing too much and not learning enough?'' They are particularly concerned about the children over the age of four. Adelle realises that she cannot cover this topic at the meeting, and decides to include an article on the subject in the Centre's newsletter. She asks you to write the article and gives you the following information about play opportunities in an early childhood centre.

4.1 The value of play

Play is often regarded as unproductive, and its importance and value for young children are overlooked. Play is not a mere pastime for children, but an activity which they tackle with all their capability and in general with great seriousness of purpose. When one studies research about the value of play for the young child, one fact is clear play is of the utmost importance for the development of the young child. Brierly (in Nutbrown 1994:7) points out that all forms of play appear to be essential for children's intellectual, imaginative and emotional development and may well be necessary steps to further stages of development. Play also develops competencies (learning outcomes) such as self-esteem, task orientation, a positive attitude to learning, persistence, flexibility and creativity, that may be equally, if not more important (Atkin 1991:34). These outcomes are exactly the ones we want to foster in the child in ECD.



Play is so important for the child's total development for the very reason that it is the most important way that a young child learns. Seefeldt (1980a:96) says: ``Young children must play in order to learn. No other activity is as valuable to the young child. A curriculum that limits the time the child spends in play is one that limits the child's opportunities to learn.'' Quality play opportunities enhance the development of the whole child, and lead to the development of affective (emotional), social, language, cognitive (intellectual) and perceptual motor skills. (See Catron & Allen 1993:2223.) The value of play for the child's whole development

Perceptual motor . Eye-hand and eye-foot coordination . Movement . Static . Body control




{ { { {

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Problem solving Concepts Imitation Association & classification Basic concepts Expression Nonverbal Auditory memory and discrimination Emotions Coping Personality Values Interaction Cooperation Conservation Respect

4.1.1 Play and affective development

Play promotes the following four facets of emotional wellbeing: . Awareness, acceptance and expression of emotions. Children learn to identify a variety of feelings and express emotions while playing with others. . Coping skills. Children learn to display healthy reactions to conflict, change and stressful situations. They learn how to handle conflict. . Personality integration. This is the process by which people come to know and understand themselves. Children learn to adjust, build a positive self-image and cope on their own. . Building values. Children develop empathy (begin to understand how other people feel), trust and respect for others while they play.

4.1.2 Play and social development

Play teaches the child the following about social development: . Social interaction. Children learn to interact, play and work with other people. . Cooperation. Children learn to help others, share and take turns. . Conservation of nature. Children learn to use and care for play materials and toys, as well as the environment.

44 . Respect for others. Children learn to understand and accept individual differences and understand and respect all cultures.

4.1.3 Play and language development

Play develops four language skills that form the basis of the child's language development: . Receptive language. Children learn to follow directions and understand basic concepts. . Expressive language. Children learn to express their needs and feelings in an acceptable way. They also learn to speak clearly and distinctively by using the correct words and sentences. . Nonverbal language. Children learn to use and understand facial expressions and body gestures. . Auditory memory and discrimination. Children learn to understand and remember spoken language and hear differences in different sounds.

4.1.4 Play and cognitive development

Play promotes the following aspects of the child's intellectual development: . Problem-solving skills. Children learn to solve problems. . Concept formation. Children learn to identify colours, numbers and shapes and to understand spatial relations above, under, next to, behind, in front, left and right. . Imitation and memory. Children get opportunities to imitate adults while they are playing. Children have to remember past events and the correct sequence of events. . Association and classification. Children learn through play to match, group and classify objects. They also start to realise that there are relationships between objects.

4.1.5 Play and the development of perceptual motor skills

Play stimulates a child's perceptual motor development in the following ways: . Eye-hand and eye-foot coordination. Children learn to manipulate objects and to use crayons and pencils. They also learn to throw, catch and kick. . Locomotor skills (movement). Children learn to jump, skip, run, hop and crawl and in doing so learn to use their bodies. . Nonlocomotor skills (static). Children learn that their bodies can stretch, bend, sway, squat, sit and stand. . Body management and control. Children learn to know their bodies. They learn to control their bodies to do rhythmic movement, balance and to start, stop and change direction.

Play is the most important way that children learn. Therefore we use play to teach the child. During all presentations (not only during free play) we endeavour to enhance the child's play in order to teach the child. In presentations such as music, movement activities, story time (especially during dramatisation) and group discussions, play is always the basic teaching method. Considering the importance of play in the development of the total child, the early childhood educator must specifically plan to enrich the children's play. A child can play aimlessly with



the same toys day after day, or the educator can plan an enriched play environment for the child, where all the above developmental benefits can be realised. I have discussed the role of the educator during free-play periods and adult-guided group periods in the previous study unit. Although we emphasise play as the means of learning, the educator still has a very important role. Without good planning and adult guidance the quality of play and learning will be far poorer and all the above benefits that play has for the child may not be realised. In the rest of this study unit we investigate the different play opportunities that the educator has to provide during free play. Music and movement presentations, story time, informal discussions and art will be dealt with in detail in other modules of your professional studies.

4.2 Planning for play opportunities

The educator must plan for a variety of play activities, so that the child can develop as a whole. Not all play activities will benefit all facets of the child equally. Examples of play activities in an early childhood centre are: . Fantasy (make-believe) play with a theme The theme may be linked to the theme of the week see study unit 5. . Building with blocks and carton boxes . Manipulative play activities These are activities that involve the child's small (finger) muscles, such as building puzzles, or building with small construction materials (eg Lego blocks) and other play apparatus like clay, water and mud. . Elementary games These are often called ``educational toys'' and include memory games and colour/shape/ number dominoes. . Sensory play This involves the use of clay, sand and water.

4.2.1 Fantasy or make-believe play

Fantasy or make-believe play is the child's version of how he or she observes and understands the surrounding world. It is spontaneous and takes place without interference from adults. The benefits of fantasy play

Apart from the general value of play, fantasy play has further very specific benefits for the child's development, and I will briefly illustrate a few of them:

a Expression
In fantasy play children give expression to what they have experienced: their anxiety, fear or disappointment. Fantasy play therefore has therapeutic value, because it gives children the opportunity to express their feelings.

b Processing impressions
In fantasy play children try to process their impressions of the adult world, thereby bringing meaning, order and control into their own worlds. They also manage to cope with the frustration of being young.


c Social skills
Fantasy play reinforces in children the social customs of their culture and they ``practise'' being grown up. They also learn to play together, to share and to take turns.

d Cognitive and language development

Children use both language and thought in fantasy play. For example, they employ language imaginatively when they talk on the toy telephone, one pretending to be a doctor, the other an anxious mother. Fantasy play is also symbolic: toys are symbols of actual objects (a wooden block becomes an iron). This symbolic play is important for the children's cognitive and language development.

e Success at school and later on

Seefeldt (1980b:188) refers to Smilansky's research on the value of fantasy play for children and indicates that it leads to subsequent success at school. It stimulates emotional, social and intellectual development, which contributes considerably to the child's success in school. It also promotes creativity, problem solving skills and concept formation which are important for learning. In addition, fantasy play helps to develop the social skills of give and take. The educator's role in fantasy play

The educator also has important contributions to make to fantasy play. These include: . Providing firsthand experiences. No child can fantasise without real prior experiences. (How can children pretend to bake a cake if they have never seen how it is done?) Children need a rich variety of real experiences in order to understand the world around them and to recreate it in their fantasy play. It is the educator's responsibility to make these experiences possible. . The creation of a fantasy play environment (with toys, clothes and accessories). Although children can play fantasy games without materials like dolls or clothes, these items can enrich their play. The educator should select the accessories carefully to match the children's current interests and experiences, as well as their developmental play stages. The accessories should not be too complete and complex a wooden wagon is a better choice than a fully equipped fire engine, because it may also become an ambulance, furniture van or anything else the game requires. Too many extras confuse the children and too few cause their play to stagnate and make them repeat the same theme over and over again. It is best to have a wide variety of accessories, and set out a selection to suit current interests. . Observation and evaluation. The educator must observe in order to be able to give appropriate guidance and select suitable accessories. A educator who does not deliberately observe cannot help the children solve their problems, put their experiences into words, and improve their social interaction. Note also what theme the children are expressing and how they do it this provides excellent background and insight into their world. Be careful not to analyse their play uninformed people can easily draw the wrong psychological conclusions.

COMPLETE THIS EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Observe a group of children aged five or six and note the theme of their play. Try also to observe a group of children from a different environment (poorer or wealthier; urban or rural). Are there differences in their play? Try to find reasons for this.



4.2.2 Building with blocks The benefits of building with blocks
Playing with blocks is one of the most popular play activities among young children. Children can start to play with suitable blocks from a very young age and there are specific benefits that playing with blocks has for the child's development.

a The formation of mathematical concepts

Playing with blocks provides a concrete basis for the incidental acquisition of basic mathematical concepts, which I discuss below. i Amount (quantitative concept) As young children play with blocks, they experience quantity. They can say: ``I still need lots of blocks for my building'', or ``I haven't got nearly enough''. Personal observations and a growing awareness of how many fingers, toes and so on they have make the children aware of numbers. The use of blocks for different kinds of constructions enables the children to test and apply in practice their quantitative understanding of numbers. Playing with blocks makes mathematical concepts concrete: when the children build a ``double road'' the number two is clearly depicted, and when they make a rectangle with blocks, they gain a concrete impression of a rectangle even though they do not know the correct name for it. ii Surface and volume Young children often make a private play area for themselves. They may use blocks, and call it a ``house''. The child experiences this space vividly and thus forms a concept of area (floor space). When the children put the blocks back in their place on the shelf, they also see how many blocks fill the space (lots of blocks need lots of space, fewer need less space). iii Geometric shape . Naming the shapes When educators use the correct names for the shapes of blocks, the children hear them and later use the correct names themselves. This knowledge can also be reinforced during other activities, such as art. When they are painting blocks, the educator will hear them saying: ``I'm painting a square (or a circle, or a triangle).'' . Related shapes A child who handles two cylindrical blocks, one large and the other small, may say: ``These two are the same except that one is bigger.'' Or a child might carry two identical triangular blocks around for a while before putting them together to form a rectangle. Blocks can therefore also stimulate the child to experiment further and discover new shapes. . Classification When children play with blocks they are exposed to the classification of objects. A certain batch of blocks together forms a set; they are grouped together because they are the same. The children can learn concepts like ``these two blocks are not the same; they are different'' and ``these two form a pair because they are the same''.

48 . Arranging in series Blocks can be arranged according to size, for example from small to big or from short to long. Children can also identify positions in a series: first, last, second-last and so on. The educator has to verbalise the position and the sizes to convey the concepts of position and size to the child. . Number The children will not necessarily learn to count, but the idea of number will be present. Young children can learn to count, but forming a concept of number is a much more complex and important process. A child who can count correctly does not necessarily understand numbers or have a concept of number. The concepts of ``just as much'' (the same), ``less/fewer'' or ``more'' can be explained with the aid of blocks, and this forms the basis of an understanding of numbers. Children have to experience concretely, for example, that (a) is more than (b), (b) is less than (a), and if one more block is put on top of (b), then they are the same. Simple adding and subtraction are also introduced in this manner.



b Satisfying individual needs

Blocks are very satisfying play materials. Even a ``difficult'' child can readily get involved. Shy, withdrawn children enjoy building with blocks, because the blocks enable them to play as individuals within their own limits, and the rapid and satisfying results build their confidence. Aggressive children find the blocks an acceptable safety valve for their feelings. Building something big which takes a lot of energy enables them to work off their belligerence.

c Physical activity
Playing with blocks offers an opportunity for physical activity. Carrying, piling up, shifting and packing blocks are activities which demand movement and a degree of physical strength of the children and which they thoroughly enjoy. The physical activities connected with blocks can make up for limited opportunities for physical activity in the rest of the programme, especially during bad weather.


PRS101Y/1 Play with blocks develops through various stages

1. Blocks are being carried around. It is not used for constructions. This is characteristic of very young children.

2. Building starts in horizontal or vertical lines.

3. Bridges are built: two blocks with a gap in-between are linked with a third block.

4. Encircling: blocks are packed in a circle to enclose a space.

5. As the child's building skills develop, the child starts to build decorative patterns; these are symmetrical, but are not yet called ``buildings''.

6. Constructions are named and fantasy play starts. The name fits the function of the construction.

7. Structures from the child's own life world and experiences are imitated. They start with dramatic play that is part of the block play.

50 The educator's role in playing with blocks

The role of the educator in play is once again important. It includes: . initiating and guiding the children's play (if necessary) . observing and evaluating the play (What play stage have the children reached, in other words, are they playing alone, in parallel or together?) . intervening when the children have differences . providing enough extras (such as wagons and dolls) . describing the constructions using the correct terms, for instance: ``That's very high''; ``These are more/fewer than those''; ``This is a rectangle''; and so on. . taking care not to overorganise the play, giving the children a chance to make their own decisions and solve their own problems

COMPLETE THIS EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Observe a young child playing with blocks. Try to decide which stage of play development the child has reached. What extra play media could you add to enrich the block play? Did you have to help the child at any stage? What was your role?

4.2.3 Manipulative play

Manipulative play includes all play opportunities where children use their small muscles to build something. It has an important role to play in the development of young children. Luckily there is a wide variety of materials available for use in manipulative play. I will now briefly discuss the most important ones. Jigsaw puzzles

The jigsaws best suited for use in the early childhood centre are those that are mounted or painted on wood. If possible, jigsaws should also have a frame into which the pieces are fitted. Beginner's jigsaws for two-year-olds should have no more than two or three pieces. The shapes of the pieces should gradually become more difficult and there should be more of them as the children progress. A puzzle with one missing piece is useless, so it is a good idea to paint the back of each jigsaw's pieces a different colour. This helps greatly when a few children are doing puzzles at the same time and the pieces get mixed up. Jigsaws have the following advantages: . . . . They They They They improve eye-hand coordination. require and improve small-muscle control. promote the recognition of colour and shape. offer children the opportunity to practise their visual recall. Small blocks and other material for small constructions

These include construction materials like Lego, Little Builder and various other types. Much of this material is unsuitable for the youngest children, as it usually demands small-muscle manipulation and eye-hand coordination which they do not yet have. There are, however, materials such as large Lego blocks which the younger children can use with ease. When buying or making this kind of material for the younger groups, one should avoid blocks or parts which are too small. It is advisable to buy bigger blocks or parts at first, and if the



children can handle them well, to gradually give them more complicated material. The building of models such as an ambulance or aircraft according to a fixed plan is suitable for the five to six-year-olds only and is totally inappropriate for younger children. Make sure that you provide enough blocks, because having too few leads to frustration (``The walls of my house are finished but there aren't enough blocks for the roof!'').

4.2.4 Games and educational toys

A variety of other games and educational toys should also be provided, for example beads for threading, simple tabletop games, memory games and shape and colour dominoes, to name but a few. It is very important to provide a range of activities and to vary them regularly. One can buy a big variety of educational toys and games in toy shops, but they are often very expensive. It is best to visit various agents for educational toys and compare the available kinds. Also try to make your own variations of games. These activities are especially suited to improving the children's skills in the following areas: . . . . . . number concept shape and colour concept abstract reasoning ability the ability to observe language usage concentration

4.2.5 Sensory play

Sensory play material involves children's senses of touch and feeling and includes clay, sand and water activities. The children enjoy touching these materials, which also have a calming effect on them. Water, sand, dough, clay and finger paint are the most important materials offered for sensory play. In presenting this form of play, which is very valuable for young children, educators can therefore make use of natural materials which are available everywhere. Even schools with very limited financial resources can offer opportunities for sensory play. However, it is advisable to try to enrich the play after a while by introducing extras, especially for the older children. I now briefly discuss some forms of sensory play. Water play

Leeper et al (1979:407) refer to research into water play done by Hartley, Frank and Goldenson. They found that water play offers a wider variety of experiences and greater enjoyment during the development of sensation and feeling than any other play material except finger paint. Water play also provides opportunities for experimentation and discovery. Hendrick (1980:199200) states the following as advantages of water play: . . . . It is a calming activity which reduces tension and anxiety in children. It stimulates social interaction between children. Pouring water in and out of different containers develops eye-hand coordination. It helps the children form the concepts of volume (how much water is in the cup) and content (the long thin bottle holds as much as the short fat one). . The children discover the physical properties of water (what happens if one pours water on a hot pavement).

52 Sand and mud play

Playing with sand and mud provides tactile (touch) experiences and the children find it calming to feel and explore the textures. Playing with sand offers many opportunities for social interaction, and it is satisfying sand offers no resistance and success is easily achieved. Sand and mud also stimulate fantasy play, especially among the seniors. The educator's role in sensory play

The educator's task involves the following: . Providing opportunities for sensory play. The educator must make provision for some or other kind of sensory play during free play every day. This can be dough, clay or finger painting inside the playroom, or water, sand or mud play out-of-doors. . Providing a variety of suitable aids when the children need them. With dough or clay activities, the aids should be added only after the children have played with the dough or clay by itself. Observation will indicate to the educator when their play stagnates and new ideas are needed. Below are some examples of such aids. Cups, bottles, funnels, etc are essential for water play. Be sure that everything is unbreakable no glass items should be used. For a change, the water can be coloured or soap can be added. Wagons and other vehicles, human figurines and accessories such as trees and houses are suited to an indoor sand table. . Checking all aids carefully, especially the outdoor ones, and keeping them clean and unbroken. Spades, buckets and larger wagons are needed for the sandpit. . Maintaining discipline. Rules must be enforced, especially in the sand and water areas, for instance: Nobody ever throws sand. Nobody ever splashes water. educators must take firm, positive action to curb play if it gets too exuberant. They must observe, without putting a damper on the play. . Facilitating language enrichment. It is important to put the children's play, especially water play, into words for them. As they are measuring and pouring water, the educator should mention the appropriate concepts, for instance: ``The cup is full/half-full/empty'' and so on. . Guiding children who do not want to play. Some children are reluctant to play with sand, water or mud, because they are afraid of getting dirty or wet. Usually they have parents who are very fussy about tidiness. The educator must try to identify these children. Without forcing them to join in he/she should show them that the mud, sand and clay will wash off and that an overall or apron will protect their clothes. They can watch from a distance at first, until they feel ready for this kind of activity.

4.2.6 Creative play

During free-play time in the playroom a wide variety of creative play opportunities should also be provided. Creative play in the form of art will be dealt with fully in the module on art and handwork. You should note that art activities form part of the free-play activities indoors and outdoors.



4.3 Planning the playroom for a variety of play opportunities

I mentioned in study unit 1 that the playrooms in early childhood centres are completely different from traditional classrooms. The planning and layout of the playroom are very important for the presentation of successful indoor free play. Apart from sufficient time, children also need enough space and play materials in order to play imaginatively. A variety of play opportunities is necessary to satisfy the individual preferences of the children and to provide them with a choice. The educator who claims that play opportunities are limited because the playroom is small, badly planned or inconvenient is, sadly, revealing a negative attitude. Even a small, inconvenient playroom can be attractive and enticing and offer the children a rich variety of play opportunities if the educator looks at it carefully, plans it with originality and works hard at making the best of a bad situation. The general atmosphere in the playroom while the children are there will show the educator how successful his/her planning has been. The best way to plan for a variety of play opportunities is to divide the playroom into different areas. The number of areas will be decided by the age and needs of the group and the availability of space. The playroom for two-year-olds will have far fewer areas than the classroom for older children. A playroom for three-year-olds will, for example, include areas for two to three creative (art) activities, a book area, a block area and a fantasy play area, while the reception year classroom must provide opportunities for at least five to six creative activities, plus the areas given below. The following seven areas can be accommodated in the playroom (not necessarily all of them for all the groups every day): . . . . . . . Fantasy play area Block area and big construction area Manipulative and educational toys area Sensory play area Book area Science and mathematics area Art and writing area Example of a playroom


4.3.1 Fantasy play area

The fantasy play area demands imagination on the part of the educator. The following basic guidelines may help with its layout: . Situate it in a corner if possible to avoid a constant flow of traffic through the area. . Surround the area with low shelves or a low curtaining screen to delimit it and create an illusion of privacy. . Provide a wide range of fantasy material so that the children can depict various themes. . Take care not to turn this area into a playhouse or dolls' corner. Vary the themes, especially for the older groups. . Provide enough storage space so that the children themselves can tidy up the area when they have finished. . The area must be large enough to accommodate a few children playing together.

4.3.2 Block-play area

Keep the following in mind when planning the block-playing area: . The blocks must be arranged tidily and the different kinds kept separate on low shelves. . There must be enough blocks for a few children to work together at building a large structure. . There must be enough space so that the children can build without interruption or disturbance. . Make sure the area does not form a thoroughfare. It should preferably be in a corner. . There should be extras, such as large and small figures and vehicles. . Provide a smooth floor surface such as a firm mat with a close pile, so that the block constructions can stand firmly.

4.3.3 Manipulative play and educational toy area

This area should also be a quiet one. Bear in mind the following: . Young children can play on a mat with some toys such as jigsaw puzzles, small blocks or other building material such as Lego. . Check the games every day so that lost pieces can be hunted for immediately (a jigsaw with one piece missing is useless). . A table is required for tabletop games like Cherry Tree, memory games and dominoes. . Display the toys chosen for the day on low shelves so that the children can take them and replace them at will.

4.3.4 Sensory play area

Sand, water and dough for sensory play can be placed inside the playroom, but in South Africa with its glorious climate they should actually be outside. Water play is much freer outside. It is quite permissible, however, to present sensory play indoors sometimes, for a change, or when the weather is bad. Keep the following points in mind when planning the sand/water/mud area: . A clean, convenient sandpit/table with accessories should always be available. . If the water and sand play has been planned as an indoor activity, it should preferably take place on a covered verandah or in some other area where any mess can be tidied up and swept away easily.



. This area should never be positioned near the book corner or any valuable materials, to avoid damage to these. . Provide aprons to protect the children's clothes. Make it a rule that children may not play in these areas without an apron. The only exception is the sandpit clean, dry sand will not damage clothing.

4.3.5 Book area

Although the book corner is not actually a play area, we discuss it here because it is part of the planning of a good playroom. Bear the following in mind when planning the book corner: . It must be in a quiet part of the playroom not next to the sensory play area or the art activities. . Be sure that the layout is such that the children can see instantly what is available and can handle the books themselves. . Display the books; do not just pile them in a heap. The display must be attractive. . The books must be intact. . A soft carpet and colourful cushions add to the attractiveness of the book area. . The area need not be very big as not much moving around will take place there. Provide seating for about three children. . Try to create a peaceful corner where the children can relax after active play.

4.3.6 The science and mathematics area

This area consists of the science table, experiments table and books on scientific themes written for young children. The following points are important: . The area should be large enough for two or three children to investigate things together. . Provide apparatus such as a magnifying glass or a simple microscope, so that the children can look at objects by themselves. . Provide a display board/notice board for posters on science topics.

4.3.7 Art and writing area

For older groups different art activities must be provided. It is therefore important to plan this area very well. . The area has to have good lighting either natural sunlight, or an overhanging light. . There must be enough space for the children to work comfortably. Some activities can be performed on the floor. . All areas must be easily cleanable do not use carpets for the floor. . Plan this area near water. Supply water in a basin if necessary. . There must be a place for drying paintings. . Provide a display area for completed works . The whole art area must be easily supervised it must be visible from all angles of the playroom.


DO THIS EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON (1) Visit an early childhood centre and ask the educator for at least two more tips on planning each of the above areas. Write these tips in the open spaces below. ............................................................................................................................................ ............................................................................................................................................ (2) You are a educator at a very poor school. The school is situated in a large church hall. Give advice about dividing the hall into playrooms, and make suggestions about inexpensive furniture and apparatus for the school. (Ask experienced educators for ideas if you are stuck!)

4.4 The outdoor play area

Outdoor play is the most neglected part of free play and of the daily programme. educators imagine that the children will be able to use apparatus such as climbing frames and swings by themselves and that they will have the initiative to play meaningfully. Good planning of the outdoor play area is also necessary to make the best possible use of the playground and its equipment. The educator's role is as important here as in any other part of the daily programme. Well-planned outdoor play opportunities can be very valuable to the children and form an important part of the daily programme. When the outdoor play area is planned, the most important factor to keep in mind is the safety of the children. This does not mean that the outdoor play area must be boring and unchallenging for your group.

4.4.1 Outdoor play opportunities

The outdoor area must provide the children with a variety of opportunities. Plan for the following opportunities outside: Gross motor activities

It is important to plan for activities where the children will be using their whole body (gross motor activities). The children must have space to run, climb, balance and practise coordination. Plan for open areas and climbing apparatus (or even a big, strong tree). Science activities

An outdoor play area facilitates various discoveries the children have direct, concrete experiences of the changing seasons, for instance. It is important to plan a gardening area where the class can make a garden and discover how plants grow. Social play

Also make sure that there are big open spaces where the class can play games freely. The bigger outdoor play areas provide the children with the opportunity to form (very informal) groups and play together.


PRS101Y/1 Large constructions

The children must have an area where they can make their own large constructions with blankets or big cardboard boxes. This is important for their creative development, problemsolving skills, and the whole concept of ``position in space'' (the child is in the house, on top of the house, etc). Quiet areas

Children also need time to play alone. A quiet corner in the outdoor area can provide this. EXAMPLE OF A WELL-PLANNED OUTDOOR PLAY AREA

Catron & Allen 1993:109

4.4.2 How to plan for successful outdoor play

. Thorough and constant supervision by the educator is of the utmost importance. Outdoor playtime is not the time for the educator to sit down, away from the children, and enjoy a cup of tea in peace. The educator is just as involved and in charge (if not more) than during the other presentations. . Try to have a play area that is big enough to allow for free running, climbing and riding. If it is too small, you should ``invent'' ways to incorporate these activities into the daily programme. . Provide for a variety of activities not only climbing and riding with bicycles or tricycles. Add activities such as art, gardening and building with big boxes, or read a story to a small group in the quiet area. . Stimulate and encourage the children to explore. Let them try out new ways to do familiar outdoor activities (keeping safety in mind).


COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON You have almost completed study unit 4. Now do what Adelle did: write an article for the school's newsletter about play opportunities in an early childhood centre in which you answer the parents' question: ``Aren't the children in an early childhood centre playing too much and not learning enough?''

Self-test questions
Now complete the following questions. This should help you to master the competencies set out in the learning outcomes at the beginning of this study unit. Short questions: test your knowledge (1) Why is play so important in the lives of young children? (1) (2) Complete the following sentence: ``... is the most important way the young child learns.'' (1) (3) Why should educators provide a variety of play opportunities during free play in the playroom? (2) (4) What is the best method of planning for a variety of play opportunities in the playroom? (1) (5) How can the educator tell if the layout of the playroom is successful or not? (1) (6) Name six different play areas in the playroom. (3) (7) What is the best place in the playroom for playing with blocks? Explain your answer in one sentence. (2) (8) Why should the fantasy area have enough storage space? (1) (9) Is it necessary to have a table in the manipulative play area? Explain your answer in one sentence. (2) (10) If sand and water play is to take place indoors, where should its area be set up? Explain your answer in one sentence. (2) (11) Is it important for the book corner to be spacious? Explain your answer. (1) (12) Name five pieces of apparatus which could be provided in the science and maths area. (5) (13) How can playing with blocks help young children to a better understanding of the world around them? (2) (14) How do young children become aware of number and form a concept of number?(1) (15) How can playing with blocks contribute to the formation of children's mathematical understanding? (1) (16) Is it important for young children to learn to count? Explain your answer. (2) (17) How can playing with blocks help the following children? . . (18) (19) (20) (21) (22) the introvert child the aggressive child (2)

What is the first developmental stage in playing with blocks? (1) What is the therapeutic value of fantasy or make-believe play? (2) Explain very briefly the statement that ``fantasy play is symbolic''. (2) Is fantasy play important for school readiness? Explain your answer. (2) Why is a wooden wagon a better choice than a fire engine when you are buying materials for fantasy play? (2) (23) Name four advantages that doing jigsaw puzzles has for young children. (4)

59 (24) (25) (26) (27) (28) (29) (30) (31) (32)


Name a feature that construction materials for the junior group should have. (1) Define ``sensory play''. (2) Give five examples of sensory play material. (5) When in the course of dough or clay activities should the educator introduce additional media? (2) Name three extra apparatus the educator can add to water play. (3) Name four apparatus or toys which could be useful on the sand table. (4) Why are some children reluctant to play with sand, water or mud? (1) What should the educator do with children who do not want to take part in sensory play? (5) Give one example of how outdoor play can help young children to make scientific discoveries. (1)

Long questions: test your insight (1) Discuss the planning of the layout of the following playroom areas: . . . . . . . blocks fantasy play manipulative play sensory play books science and mathematics art and writing

(2) Discuss how playing with blocks can promote children's mathematical insight and concept of number (2 pages). Make use of examples. (3) Do you agree with the following statement: ``Blocks provide a very important play opportunity, because they involve the whole child''? Substantiate your answer. (4) Discuss briefly the different stages through which play with blocks develops. (5) Discuss, using subheadings, the educator's contribution to playing with blocks. (6) Discuss fantasy play under the following headings: . The value of fantasy play . The role of the educator (7) Discuss jigsaws as play material in early childhood centres. (8) Discuss the value of sensory play for young children and the role of the educator in this form of play. Make use of examples. (9) Discuss outdoor play, using suitable headings.


Study unit 5

Choosing and planning learning content for early childhood education

The purpose of this study unit is to direct your attention to problems and guidelines relevant to the selection, organisation and planning of learning content. Read the learning outcomes before you begin to work through this study unit.

Learning outcomes After studying this study unit you should be able to . . . . . define ``curriculum'' in your own words justify the absence of a formal curriculum for early childhood education describe, in your own words, the role of the educator in curriculum development justify your choice and organisation of learning content for the centre for ECD plan learning content for a group in an early childhood centre by using the integrated approach . apply the correct method of written daily and weekly planning Adelle received several telephone calls from parents who are concerned about the content of some presentations at her school, so she decided to investigate and examine the presentations more closely. She was distressed to find that her educators did not always choose their teaching content with a learning outcome in mind and themes and activities were sometimes presented without prior planning. From discussions with the educators she deduced that they did not always know what to teach. One of them asked her, ``What content should we teach the children?'' Adelle realised that the parents had cause for concern, and she decided to hold a training session for her staff that afternoon instead of having the usual staff meeting. The topic was ``The choice and planning of subject matter in the centre for ECD''. By working through this study unit, you will understand why Adelle needs to hold a training session.

5.1 The importance of choosing suitable learning content

Without something to teach, there can be no education. The educator must have something



(information or learning content) to convey to his/her group. Children have the responsibility to learn and the adult (the educator) is responsible for teaching meaningful and relevant learning content to the children.

5.2 The difficulty of choosing learning content (a curriculum) for early childhood teaching
Although there is a well-conceived learning statement (curriculum) for every learning area presented in primary school and in secondary school, there is no formal, set or prescribed curriculum for early childhood education. According to the outcomes-based approach that we follow in South Africa, educators (even in formal education at school) have to decide on suitable themes or topics that are relevant for their specific classes. The educator's role in choosing learning content is therefore becoming increasingly important. The principles that I am going to discuss concerning the choice and organisation of learning content are just as relevant for the foundation phase educator (Grade 0 to 3) as for the educator in an early childhood centre.

5.2.1 Disadvantages of not having a prescribed curriculum

A prescribed curriculum means that the education authorities decide precisely what learning content must be taught in every standard. This means that the themes and topics for all the Grade 1 classes in South Africa will be approximately the same. According to the OBE approach the learning content (the topics or themes) is not precisely prescribed. Because educators do not get a preset curriculum, it means that they are responsible for choosing their own learning content. Schwartz and Robinson (1982:14) list the following disadvantages of not having a formally prescribed curriculum: . A prescribed curriculum gives guidance to educators and direction and security to teaching, so when we do not have one, it is sometimes difficult to tell whether or not the best choices are being made and the best guidelines followed. . If no prescribed curriculum exists, assessment is made very difficult as there are no set expectations (nothing to measure progress against). . The absence of a prescribed curriculum makes it difficult for novice educators to work and to adjust, because they do not have a fixed framework to guide them. Add any other disadvantages that you can think of here: The absence of a prescribed curriculum means that educators have a more difficult and responsible task as they also have to decide on learning content. ECD educators are solely responsible for setting their curricula. They must select and systematise the material to be taught in a scientifically justifiable way, taking into account the learning outcomes of teaching.

5.2.2 Advantages of not having a prescribed curriculum

However, Schwartz and Robinson (1982:14) also found that the absence of a set curriculum for early childhood teaching has the following advantages: . Teaching can be planned to meet the requirements of each individual group of children. . The subject matter can continually be adjusted to the circumstances. . Flexible individual teaching results from it.

62 Add any other advantages that you can think of here:

COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON (1) Visit a centre for ECD and ask the principal if they use a formal, set curriculum. If they do, try to find out why and write down the reasons in the space below. ............................................................................................................................................ ............................................................................................................................................ ............................................................................................................................................ (2) Do you personally think that not having a fixed curriculum is an advantage or a disadvantage for the educator? Give a reason for your answer. (I want your opinion, so please do not rewrite the notes!)

Here are some topics that could be discussed at Adelle's training session:

5.3 Choosing learning content for an early childhood centre

It is no easy task to decide on suitable learning content for the young child. We have to be careful not to teach something to the child because ``it is what we usually teach'' or because ``I think this will be suitable''. To make sure that we choose suitable learning content, we have to adhere to four principles. The learning content should . . . . correspond with the purpose and learning outcomes of ECD be developmentally appropriate be relevant and meaningful to the group be multicultural and antibias (ie discourage prejudice)

5.3.1 The learning content should correspond with the purpose and learning outcomes of ECD
educators all too often wonder: ``What can the children do tomorrow?'', and then decide on the easiest and most readily available activities that will keep the children busy for a while. The most important question that educators should be answering is: ``What do I want my group to know, do and feel?'' The learning content that we teach the young child must in the first instance be aligned with the purpose and required outcomes of early childhood education. De Corte et al (1981:136) maintain that the learning content should be selected to give the best possible guarantee that the children will learn the behaviour set out in the learning outcomes. Because our specific learning outcomes involve the development of the total child, the learning content should also involve the whole child. The close link between the child's physical, intellectual, emotional and social development also compels educators to select learning content that will involve the whole child.

5.3.2 The learning content should be developmentally appropriate

The learning content should be appropriate for the children's current developmental



level. The educator should take into account the way in which children learn and ensure that the teaching facilitates learning that is in line with the child's physical, cognitive, social and language development. In other words, educators should help their groups to learn and develop in ways that are compatible with their ages and who they are as individuals. Leeper et al (1979:166) propose that what is taught should not be selected in the expectation of what will be taught later, but by considering the characteristic features of the children's current level of development. educators need thorough knowledge of childhood developmental stages in order to select suitable learning content. Doll (1986:139) believes that the content has to be within the children's ability, so that they can learn it. Reilly (1983b:8) concludes that it is not merely useless, but actually harmful to force children to master work that they are not yet physically and psychologically ready for. Allen and Hart (1984:13) show that children learn best if the learning content is on or slightly below their immediate developmental level. It is also important that while the learning content should not be too advanced, it should not be too familiar either, because if it is too advanced they will not understand it, and if it is too familiar it will not hold their attention. Morrison (1995:301) states four implications of developmentally appropriate practices that we should keep in mind: . Learning must be meaningful to children and relate to what they already know. Children find things meaningful when they are interesting to them and they can relate to them. . Not all children learn in the same way or are interested in learning the same thing as everyone else all the time. Therefore educators should individualise as much as possible. . Learning should be a physically and mentally active process children should be actively involved in learning activities by building, making, experimenting, investigating and working as a team with their peers. . Children should be involved in manipulative activities and hands-on activities with concrete objects. The emphasis is on real-life, as opposed to workbook and worksheet activities.

5.3.3 The learning content should be relevant and meaningful

The principle that learning content must be meaningful to your group is closely linked to the principle that it should be developmentally appropriate. Learning content must be relevant to the children, so that they can identify with it and become involved. This means that the educator must decide which topics are the most meaningful to the children. In order to improve the relevance and meaningfulness of the learning content, we have to listen to the children's ideas and suggestions when selecting learning content. educators often select learning content which they imagine will be suitable, only to discover during the presentation that it does not hold the children's attention, as they do not find it interesting. We are not suggesting here that the children should decide what they want to learn, but that educators should observe the children closely, know them well and select their learning content to suit their needs. It is important that the learning content should help your group to understand their environment better. The content should help children to be more independent and to function better in their environment. The relevance of learning content is also emphasised in the informal approach. Weber (1970:10) points out that relevant learning content should be selected, preferably from the immediate environment, so that the children can become more involved. Learning content will be relevant and meaningful to the child if it helps the child to perform everyday tasks. This is


extremely important when choosing learning content for early childhood education, as we strive to make children more independent and help them fit meaningfully into society. Be careful not to stick to ``traditional'' early childhood topics such as the weather, seasons and farming, as they are not necessarily relevant to urban children. Doll (1986:138) advises educators to steer clear of topics which children may find empty and meaningless. COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON (1) Do you agree with the following statement? Give reasons for you answer. ``The learning content of an early childhood centre should be determined by the learning content of Grade 1/Sub A.'' (2) Talk to a educator and ask him or her for an example of selected learning content (a theme) which was unsuitable because the children found it irrelevant and meaningless. Why was it irrelevant and meaningless? Do you think that it would be irrelevant and meaningless for all groups? (3) Look again at the comic about relevant content. Do you think that the little boy's question, ``Why should I know it?'', is substantiated? How would you know if your topics are relevant and meaningful? ............................................................................................................................................ ............................................................................................................................................



5.3.4 Learning content should be multicultural and antibias

One of the essential learning outcomes of early childhood education is to teach the young child to accept differences and similarities in people. All individuals and groups need to know and feel that they are valued by others and that they have a rightful and important place in the society in which they live. The children must be taught the necessary facts, skills and attitudes to live and work together in harmony. We should therefore choose learning content that is multicultural and antibias, in other words, learning content that counters prejudiced attitudes. Because this is such an important principle, multicultural and antibias teaching will be discussed in detail in the following study unit. There is also, as part of your degree, a module on multicultural education. COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Visit a centre for ECD and ask one of the educators if you may analyse his or her weekly planning of the past month. Analyse the learning content that this educator presented by using the above principles. Adelle's educators also have to take special note of the organisation of learning content.

5.4 The organisation of the learning content

The learning content should not be presented to the children in a disorganised fashion. Children who constantly encounter chaotic, disorganised material will develop an illogical approach themselves. Schwartz and Robinson (1982:64) point out that the systematisation of learning content demands a logical point of departure to help educators when they decide how to organise the learning content. A further important point to remember is that if learning is to be successful, children must be given the opportunity to see the same learning content from different points of view.

5.4.1 The integrated approach

In ECD the best way to organise learning content is in an integrated way. This is also called the ``project method'' or ``theme approach''. According to this way of organising learning content is not presented as school subjects to the children. Instead, we present it to the child in the way that the child experiences real life, that is, in an integrated way. This approach is highly suitable for teaching young children, because we wish to bring the children into contact with reality as far as possible. The integrated approach is also very suitable for early childhood teaching, as it prevents young children from experiencing the various activities and presentations as isolated from one another. Activities and presentations should therefore be planned in such a way that the children will experience them as a coherent whole. The learning content should thus not consist of isolated units (subjects). The learning content can be organised in themes that concern the children themselves, their families, friends, the school, health and safety, the community and their own and other people's countries and cultural heritages. Nock (1977:35) points out that this method of organising learning content is particularly valuable for children, because it promotes the

66 formation of concepts. Children must bring their outside life into the playroom, where they are helped to organise it into a conceptual framework. This approach helps the children to systematise and consequently interpret the reality around them. Thus they learn to build a conceptual framework, which leads to increasing mastery of reality. Using a central theme, educators can extend the learning content in all directions and organise it into a coherent whole. We use the integrated approach in early childhood teaching for the following reasons: . A central theme connects the daily or weekly presentations with each other. There is consistency in the teaching and the children get a sense of unity in the school day or week. . Themes provide a good opportunity to differentiate between the different age groups. They also provide for different interests, abilities and needs. . Themes lead to a high degree of motivation, because the children are actively involved in a theme which interests them. . The use of a central theme which is extended in all directions offers many opportunities for promoting the children's skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving and decision making. The following tips would help Adelle's educators to organise their teaching:

5.4.2 Principles for the implementation of an integrated approach to the organisation of learning content
. The learning content must be systematised in such a way that the outcomes of early childhood teaching can be realised. The theme or topic is not an end in itself, but only an instrument which the educators use to make their teaching more meaningful. Ensure that the theme does not become the goal! . There must be presentations and activities which do not link up with the theme. Not everything will connect with the theme. In fact, no theme can satisfy the needs and interests of all the children, and themes must also be selected to stimulate other interests. . The theme must correspond with the children's level of development and interests. This is not to say that the children's spontaneous play will always suggest a theme; however, the theme must always relate to their experiential world. Three-year-olds, for instance, are only interested in their immediate environment. Therefore a theme on Eskimos would be completely unsuitable for them. Five-year-olds, on the other hand, are interested in people and things which are a bit further removed from themselves, although there must always be points of contact with their own lives. A theme that educators could use for them might be ``Houses that people live in'', and these could include Eskimo igloos. Yet in a place like Pretoria, where snow and extremely cold temperatures are unknown, an igloo may still be too far removed from the experiential world of five-year-olds. The Eskimo theme on its own would undoubtedly be risky, as there are too many unknown factors. . This excludes themes dealing with the changing seasons and holidays which take place at set times of the year. Themes should not be planned too far in advance. The various departments of education each have their own requirements, but usually expect themes to be planned a week in advance. This is probably the best method, because themes which are planned too far in advance cannot be selected on the basis of the children's needs and interests. No educator can predict a month or two in advance what the children are going to be interested in at that stage! . Always arrange the learning content from the very simplest to the more complex. The educator should organise the learning content so that the presentations begin with the simplest matter and move towards the more complicated learning content. The easiest and simplest content should also be reserved for the younger children and the



more advanced for the older groups. If the same theme is repeated during the year, its simplest elements should be introduced at the beginning of the year and the more advanced ones later. educators should try to ensure that the children systematically learn more and more. For this reason the learning content should be organised so that it increases in complexity and scope as the year progresses.

5.4.3 How to plan for the integrated approach

Mitchell and David (1992:146155) identify guidelines that a educator can follow when planning an integrated teaching approach. Remember that this is not a rigid system, but simply a series of guidelines to help you with your planning. Decide on a suitable theme for your class

A good theme for your class will help them to make sense of their immediate world, their families and their community. Choose a theme that will offer variety, in order to cater for the differences of interest, talent and developmental level in your class. Learn about the theme

Learn as much about the theme as you can. You should do the following: . Explore the environment of the children in your group. . Visit places that are linked to the theme and that the children are interested in. . Read up about the theme. Make sure that you know enough about the theme to be able to answer questions and explain it in easy words, so that your class can understand it. Think about the questions your group might ask (concepts)
Children may want to find out more about certain concepts. When you plan a theme, try to identify possible questions that your class might ask. To be able to do this, you have to know a lot about the children in your class and the theme. Your knowledge will also help you with the next step, namely to identify suitable activities that match the central theme. Select appropriate activities to match the theme

With the knowledge you have acquired about the theme and having identified possible questions that your class may ask, you may start to select and plan relevant activities. Select activities that will help to answer the questions your class may ask. A very effective way to select activities that will match the theme is to have a brainstorming session with other educators. Write down all activities that can be linked to the theme. By using a fixed format, as in the example below, you can make sure that you include all presentations and activities in the daily programme.

Planning the theme ``Myself'' Myself/My family a Life orientation Discuss the different roles in the family. We can be happy or sad. What makes us happy or sad?


b Music/movement Songs for listening, singing and action, eg ``Where is Thumbkin?'' Clap to the beat of each child's name. c Mathematics Count fingers, toes, eyes, nose, mouth. Introduce circle, square, triangle. Demonstrate small/large, tall/short. Weigh and measure the children. d Social studies Each person has a birth date. Group class according to gender and month of birth (graphs). We can be happy or sad (opposites) what makes us (classify) happy/sad (graphs). e Art Draw, paste, paint pictures of a person, family. Draw, paint, do a collage of heads/faces: facial features. Cut out and paste facial features to form faces. Cut out and paste happy/sad pictures. Draw each other's body outline and colour with paint, crayons or collage. Introduce blue, red and yellow, one at a time. f Language Stories Display baby pictures and recent pictures of class members with name captions. Vocabulary learn the names of body parts. Chart class members' names and birthdays on a chart calendar. Read Happy birthday Sam (Pat Hutchins) and other stories. Read poems. g Science/nutrition Observe and discuss our body parts name and point. Observe and discuss differences between male and female persons. Observe and discuss differences between older and younger persons. Food I like/don't like. Healthy food.
Compiled by CJS van Staden

At this stage you may not be able to complete the planning form for the different activities. In the rest of the modules for this degree we will teach you the what and how of activities in language, mathematics, science, social science, music, movement and art. With every consecutive module you will be able to complete this form in more detail. At this stage you only have to know what areas (subjects) will be integrated and how they are connected. A more complete example of a curriculum web follows below. A curriculum web should be



completed with your written weekly planning. A good habit is to attach the curriculum web to the weekly planning (see p 73 for the weekly report). A draft web (for example the one on p 71) is normally a summary of the information that is discussed during the theme discussion. If you include a draft web with your planning, you only have to include the headings in the weekly planning.
Leaf Hideand-Seek . Uses words, phrases, and sentences to inform (LV)/language sample . Walks independently (KB)/jotting

Leaf Rubbings . Manipulates objects with both hands (JK)/check list . Groups objects or people on the basis of specified criteria (MD)/anecdotal note

CREATIVE ARTS . Explore ways of moving with or without music . Create/recreate stories through dramatic representation

SOCIAL STUDIES . Share personal cultural experience . Be aware that people use maps to find places

COMMUNICATION . Speak for a variety of purposes . Use vocabulary to share knowledge of concepts

Circle Time Discussions: Why do leaves change color? . Uses words, phrases, and sentences to inform and describe (TD)/ language sample . Retells events in sequence (LV)/ jotting

Leaf Cookies . Places and releases objects (MF)/check list . Plays neer peers (JT)/rating scale

SCIENCE . Use weather-related and season-related vocabulary . Differentiate between real and pretend


HEALTH . Identify healthy food choices . Understand the need for exercise and nest

Nature Walk . Moves to avoid obstacles (KB)/rubric

Leaf Graphing and Sorting . Recognizes printed numerals (JK)/jotting . Maintains interaction with peer (MT)/ rating scale

MATHEMATICS . Count to 10 during daily activities . Recognise devices that measure time (eg calendar)

LITERACY . Identify own name in print . Predict what might happen next in reading of text

SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL . Show self-control by following classroom rules . Share and cooperate with others

Leaf Bug Hunt . Pulls to standing position (BW)/ jotting . Uses imaginary props (DJ)/ photograph

Leaf Match-Up . Matches pictures and objects (JK)/check list . Uses representational actions (SB)/rubric

Read Harvest Stories and Poems (eg Raccoons and Ripe Corn) . Counts 3 objects (MM)/check list . Sounds out words (TD)/audiotape

Autumn Leaf Scrapbook . Prints first name (TD)/permanent record . Manipulates objects with both hands (JK)/check list

Acorn Alphabet Game . Take turns (LV)/jotting

A web-planning format (initials represent children whose individually targeted skills can be embedded in a particular activity, followed by the method of data collection that can be used to measure progress [eg check list, jottings]) Grisham-Brown et al 2005:177

70 Gather all the necessary teaching and learning media

For the children, learning about the themes must be an active investigation. You should provide them with activities and experiences that stimulate questions and speculation. Think of teaching and learning media that will deepen and expand your class's knowledge of the theme. You have to do the following: . . . . . . . . . . . Identify appropriate trips. Collect props for dramatic (fantasy) play in the fantasy area. Gather accessories to add to the blocks in the block area. Choose suitable books to put in the book area and/or on the science and/or mathematics tables. Plan suitable activities for the science and/or mathematics tables. Find suitable posters for the science and/or mathematics tables. Find recipes for food experiences. Locate pictures. Find stories to tell and poems and rhymes to read and teach to your class. Invite people to come and talk to your class (use parents and suitable people from the community). Plan for spontaneous play opportunities as well. The children must have time to play out what they have experienced with no or very little adult intervention.

Now try to add some ideas of your own to this list of teaching and learning media: ............................................................................................................................................................. ............................................................................................................................................................. Plan an end activity

It is important to plan an end activity an activity that brings all the learning together. This activity could be something such as . . . . . . making a mural creating a group book on the theme staging a play creating a new fantasy area, eg a post office or a grocery shop an activity that involves the whole class, say, a traditional meal or celebration of a feast collectively building a model

Now add any other examples that you can think of: ............................................................................................................................................................. ............................................................................................................................................................. Decide on the length of the theme and possible extensions

It is difficult to say how long a educator should keep to a theme. The rule of thumb is that it should not be shorter than a week and not longer than two weeks. This ``rule'' is not fixed and the length will depend on the interest of the children. It is better to end a theme sooner than planned than to continue when interest has faded.



It is possible to plan a second or more themes that flow from the same original theme. All these themes are connected and follow each other. The following is an example of an extended topic map for the theme ``Celebrations'':
Hindu Harvest New Year Jewish Muslim Various branches of Christian faith





h wit

RELIGIOUS CELEBRATIONS Buddhist Different calendars

Special timing, eg start of Ramadan

Variations with cultures


Length of Celebrations

Winter solstice

Time cycles, eg Chinese ``Year of ...''

Birth Music Engagements Marches Drama, dance music, festivals Halloween Lights

Fasting Prayer Feasting


Wedding Impromptu FAMILY CELEBRATION Anniversaries House-warming


Receiving Pilgrimage


Rag weeks

New clothes Decorations: self and buildings Special costumes and clothes



Cards Fireworks

The assessment of the child will be discussed in full in study guide 2 for PRS101Y. Since assessment is an important step in planning and presenting the integrated approach, it will also be discussed very briefly in this study unit. The integrated approach, which is closely associated with an OBE approach, does not readily lend itself to tests and other standard measures of evaluation. (Another reason for not having traditional tests is the developmental level of the young child see study guide 2.) Assessment to determine whether your group is in fact learning about the theme (learning outcomes) and whether your teaching is successful is done by means of observation, portfolios and discussions with parents. Important principles to remember when assessing: . Constant observation and recording are essential. Always be on the look-out for misunderstandings. It is important to find out what the children already know about the theme. . Listen to the children's conversations during activities and let this direct you to further activities.

72 . Save samples of the children's work (keep portfolios) . This is a visual representation of what the child understands of the theme and can also serve as a reference if you want to repeat a theme in a following year.

5.5 To get you started!

The following books may help you on your way with the integrated approach and will give you ideas on how to implement this approach in practical teaching. Grisham-Brown, J, Hemmeter, ML & Pretti-Frontczak, K. 2005. Blended Practices for teaching young children in inclusive settings. Baltimore, Md: Paul H Brookes Publishing Co. Ter-Morshuizen, K. 1987. A small world (theme ideas). Cape Town: Maskew Miller Longman. Hamilton, DS, Flemming, BM & Higgs, JD. 1990. Resources for creative teaching in early childhood education. 2nd edition. New York: Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich. Herr, J & Libby, Y. 1990. Creative resources for the early childhood classroom. Albany NY: Delmar. Schiller, O & Moore, T. 1993. Where is thumbkin? 500 activities to use with songs you already know. Mt Rainier: Gryphon House.

5.6 Written planning in the centre for ECD

Written planning is an essential component of any educator's preparation, regardless of how much experience he or she has. Two kinds of written planning are usually used in the centre for ECD: . weekly planning . daily presentation planning

5.6.1 Weekly planning

When weekly planning is done, a written plan of the week's presentations and activities is drawn up. After the educator has selected a suitable theme, he or she must plan the week's presentations. The educator must plan suitable . . . . free play (indoor and outdoor) activities, including art activities music and/or movement activities storytelling informal discussions on the theme, science (especially the science tables), news, birthdays, and so on . assessment


PRS101Y/1 Example of a weekly report

Week plan Date: .............................. to .............................. Theme:
Day Free play Indoors (indicate all activities) Monday Date: Learning outcome Assessment Tuesday Date: Learning outcome Assessment Wednesday Date: Learning outcome Assessment Thursday Date: Learning outcome Assessment Friday Date: Learning outcome Assessment Outdoors indicate additional activities) Group presentations Informal Music/movediscussion ment activities (indicate type and theme) Story (title, author, teaching resource) The importance of written weekly planning a Opportunity for reflection

A brief written outline of all the activities forces educators to think carefully about their presentations. These presentations will then not be haphazard, but deliberately selected and planned.


b Improved teaching
Weekly planning leads to better teaching. Because educators know what has been planned for the whole week, they are better able to vary and arrange their presentations and thus improve their teaching.

c Progress
By planning the week's activities in advance, educators can make sure that the theme ``develops''. The simplest material can be presented first and expanded upon during the week. The material can be selected so as to move from the known to the unknown, from the concrete to the abstract (for the reception year class) and from the simple to the complex. The whole week's work forms a unit and displays development.

d Balance
One of the dangers of the integrated approach one-sided content can be eliminated by weekly planning. Because educators can see the week's activities schematically, they can take care to provide balance. They can ensure that . . . . . there are enough activities for both boys and girls a variety of free-play opportunities (indoor and outdoor) will be presented the group presentations will be varied a new story will be told every day there will be interesting activities which are not necessarily connected with the theme for the sake of variety and the needs of individual children

e Achievement of outcomes
As we have shown, the choice of themes depends on the learning outcomes the educators wish to achieve. Weekly advance planning enables them to select activities which will gradually lead to the realisation of outcomes.

f More freedom
Although this may sound contradictory, good weekly planning leads to more freedom. Because the educators have done their preparation and know what they want to achieve, they are better able to utilise unexpected learning opportunities. They are not totally dependent on chance events, and are able to integrate any such events with their presentations.

5.6.2 Daily planning

Once the educator has planned the presentations for the week, he or she must plan and prepare the various presentations in more detail. Written planning of presentations can be done in a number of ways, and each school may set its own standards. Since teaching in an early childhood centre is still teaching, we can also take a look at the requirements and form of written planning and preparation in formal education (primary and secondary schools), because these two types of planning have some basic elements in common. A good lesson plan should contain at least the following information: . details of the learning area, age group, topic . outcomes: a detailed statement of what is to be achieved



. assessment criteria . assumed prior knowledge . lesson content and teaching methods to be used including the introduction, the body of the lesson and the necessary knowledge . teaching and learning resources . a conclusion, which covers the pupils' activities, assignments and the practical application of their knowledge Example of a presentation plan

Although the lesson plan below is applicable to formal education, it can readily be amended and used for the written planning of presentations in early childhood teaching. Planning of .............................................................................. presentation a General information: Group: Type of presentation: Theme: b Learning outcomes: c Assumed prior knowledge: d Presentation i Activity . Introduction . Body . Conclusion e Assessment: ii Outcomes iii Resources Duration: Date:

a General information
This includes the following: . Group. Name the group for which the presentation is intended: toddlers, the three to four year old group, four to five year old group, or the reception year class. . Type of presentation. You should not simply indicate that this will, for instance, be a musical presentation, but should also specify what sort of musical presentation it will be (eg musical appreciation, or instruments). . Theme. This will usually, but need not always correspond to the theme of the week. . Duration. The duration of the presentation is important the educator must ensure in the planning stage that the presentation will not take too long, especially for the youngest groups.


b Learning outcomes
The outcomes of the specific presentation are linked to the outcomes of the theme of the week. The outcomes must be precisely formulated. Beware of vague outcomes such as ``socialisation'' or ``geometric shapes''. It is essential to state specifically what the child must be able to do, know and/or feel after a presentation. Instead of, for instance, formulating an outcome as ``geometric shapes'', it should be formulated as follows: ``The children must be able to recognise the circle shape among other shapes, as well as in the environment.'' (This can be the learning outcome when presenting an art activity of a circle collage, which forms part of the theme of ``Circles''.) The learning outcome may also be aimed at individuals in the class. For example, Thabo may be going to hospital. The educator could formulate the learning outcome of a story like this: ``After listening to the story and discussion, Thabo must feel more comfortable about going to the hospital, because he now knows about the procedures and people in the hospital.'' A well-formulated outcome should meet the following requirements: . It should indicate what the children should be able to do, know or feel. . It should indicate how well the children must be able to do it. . It should indicate the circumstances under which the children will do it.

COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Take any five learning outcomes and evaluate them according to the requirements of good outcomes. If they prove inadequate, improve them until they do meet the requirements.

c Assumed prior knowledge

The educator must think about what the children already know of the contents of his or her presentation. The presentation might be based on prior knowledge which the children acquired through a story, a walk, previous activities or experience. Bearing the children's prior knowledge in mind will help to ensure that the presentation is not too easy or too difficult for the group and that it will fall within their experiential world.

d Presentation
i Activities A presentation comprises a varying number of activities, and each presentation should have the following: . Introduction. It is important to have a good introduction to the presentation. The educator should introduce the presentation and new topic and refer to the assumed prior



knowledge of the children, thus arousing their interest in the presentation. The introduction must be an activity that will attract their interest and keep their concentration. . Body. This depends on the kind of presentation, as it will differ from one kind of activity to another. The body of a musical presentation will differ from that of movement, art, a story and so on. (The body of a presentation will be dealt with in detail in the modules on music, movement, art, stories, etc.) . Conclusion. It is important to conclude the presentation in a satisfactory way. The educator must ensure that the children are not anxious or overexcited at this stage. A very active presentation needs a calming conclusion. ii Outcomes Every activity in the presentation should be directed towards learning outcomes, in order to realise the outcomes of the presentation as a whole. The educator must therefore think carefully about each activity in the presentation and decide whether it has a purpose, or whether it is just keeping the group busy. iii Resources The educator must carefully plan and prepare suitable resources/teaching aids. Teaching resources should not be gimmicks or icing on the cake they must be selected to serve a definite purpose. Teaching resources are used to present the content to the children more successfully, and learning resources are applied so that the children will understand and learn the content more easily. The choice of the kind of teaching media depends on . the type of presentation . the developmental level and interests of the group

e Assessment
Assessment is an integral part of every presentation. If you know what the children must be able to do, know and feel (the learning outcomes), it should be very easy to assess if your teaching did achieve this. Unfortunately assessment is not always as simple as that. In the centre for ECD the factual content of the lesson does not always have a direct bearing on the actual learning outcome of teaching, but is merely a way of achieving outcomes. Instead of expecting the children to master a lot of information, we prefer to use subject matter to lead the children to learn while they play. Many different kinds of learning content can be used to achieve the same outcome. For example, we know that the outcome of scientific presentations is to encourage a love of knowledge and an enquiring mind in young children. This outcome can be achieved even if the children are not able to remember or repeat the facts mentioned in the science presentation. Considering that there are so many presentations that do not have a ``right'' or ``wrong'' result, assessment is very difficult in the centre for ECD. Take art, for instance: how can we evaluate art? Still, assessment is essential in any teaching situation. In an ECD centre we therefore assess the total child to determine whether he or she is developing. We are more concerned about whether development is taking place than about the level of development. It is important that you plan what, how and even who you are going to assess during every presentation. Assessment in early childhood education will be fully discussed in Study Guide 2 for PRS101Y.


COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON You have now completed study unit 5. Write a summary (not longer than 400 words) on the choice and planning of learning content for early childhood education, which Adelle can use as a handout after her lecture. You should just note down the main points. You are welcome to use diagrams or tables.

Self-test questions
Now complete the following questions. This should help you to master the competencies set out in the learning outcomes at the beginning of this study unit. Short questions: test your knowledge (1) Do you agree with the following statement: ``We can teach children without using content''? Give a very brief reason for your answer. (2) (2) Who is responsible for drawing up the curriculum in early childhood education? (1) (3) Name three disadvantages of the absence of a prescribed curriculum for early childhood education. (3) (4) Name three advantages of the absence of a prescribed curriculum for early childhood education. (3) (5) What is the responsibility of the educator in drawing up the curriculum? (3) (6) What is the most important question that the ECD educator must answer when selecting learning content? (1) (7) Complete the sentence: ``When selecting learning content, knowledge of ............... on the part of the educator is indispensable.'' (1) (8) State three characteristics of developmentally appropriate learning content. (3) (9) Why is it important to select learning content that involves children as whole people? (1) (10) Why is it important that the learning content in early childhood teaching should have relevance for the children? (2) (11) How can the educator ensure that the learning content will be relevant to the children? (2) (12) Why should learning content not be communicated to the children in a disorganised way? (1) (13) What makes the integrated approach to organising learning content especially suitable for early childhood teaching? (3) (14) Why might ``Eskimos'' be an unsuccessful topic for a junior group in South Africa?(1) (15) How far ahead should themes be planned? Explain your answer. (2) (16) Name the two kinds of written planning which are done in centres for ECD. (2) (17) Why does a written plan for the week improve teaching? (2) (18) How can written planning prevent gaps from appearing in themes? Give four examples. (4) (19) How can written planning lead to greater freedom in teaching? (4) (20) Name five details which must be included in a presentation plan for early childhood teaching. (5) (21) Why is it important to consider the length of a presentation in advance? (1) (22) Would you regard ``enjoyment'' as a well-formulated learning outcome for story time? Explain your answer, rewriting the outcome if you feel that it has not been well formulated. (3)


PRS101Y/1 (1) (3) (3) (2) (2)

(23) Define ``assumed prior knowledge''. (24) Why is it important for educators to think about their group's assumed prior knowledge? (25) Name the three phases of a presentation. (26) Distinguish between teaching media and learning media. (27) Name two factors determining the choice of teaching media. Long questions: test your insight

(1) Would you say that the absence of a prescribed curriculum is beneficial or deleterious for early childhood education? Justify your answer. (2) Provide reasons why the following principles are important when selecting learning content, and discuss each one briefly: . The learning content should correspond with the purpose and outcomes of ECD. . The learning content should be developmentally appropriate. . The learning content should be relevant and meaningful. (3) Explain what is understood by the term ``integrated approach''. (4) Discuss in detail why the integrated approach is so suitable for early childhood teaching. (5) Give reasons why a written plan of the week's presentations is vital for successful teaching in a centre for ECD. (6) Discuss, under various headings, a daily presentation plan for early childhood teaching.


Study unit 6

Multicultural and antibias education in early childhood education

(Written in cooperation with Dr HvR van der Horst)
The purpose of this study unit is to help you to establish a multicultural and antibias approach in your playroom. Read the learning outcomes before you begin to work through this study unit. Keep referring to these outcomes while going through the work.

Learning outcomes After studying this unit you should be able to . identify the essential outcomes of multicultural education in early childhood education . assess your own attitude towards being unbiased . select multicultural and antibias resources for your group . include multicultural experiences in every theme that you present to your group . assess the success of the multicultural and antibias approach in your group

Additional reading
The explanations in this section on multicultural and antibias education are based mainly on the following works, which provide valuable additional reading matter if you would like more information on the topic: King, EW, Chipman, M & Cruz-Janzen, M. 1994. Educating young children in a diverse society. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Thomson, BJ. 1993. Words can hurt you: beginning a program of antibias education. Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley. Lemmer, E & Squelch, J. 1993. Multicultural education: a educator's manual. Halfway House: Southern.



Susan, who completed her PGCE (ECD) at Unisa in 1977, is a newly appointed educator at Unisa's Centre for Early Childhood Development. Because Susan had not taught for the last 16 years, she was not too sure how to handle a multicultural class. She is, however, a very resourceful educator and decided to do some ``research'' . She started to read widely on the topic. She conducted interviews not only with Adelle, the principal of the Centre, but also with Zinzi, whose child attends the Centre, to find out about parents' viewpoints on multicultural and antibias education and their needs in this regard. Susan realised that multicultural education is more than mere knowledge and skills, because it also involves feelings and attitudes. Because Susan did such a good job on her research, Adelle asked her to present her findings at one of the school's weekly educators' meetings. Let us look at her findings and ideas!

6.1 Introduction
Just as multicultural education is aimed at preparing children for a society where a cross section of cultures live and work together, so antibias education aims to counteract prejudice where it exists and prevent its development at a later stage. The essential outcomes of multicultural and antibias education are to teach your group to accept differences and similarities, so that all people in a multicultural society (such as that in our own rainbow country, South Africa) can work together in a spirit of acceptance, tolerance and respect. All individuals and groups need to know and feel that they are valued by others and have a rightful and important place in the society in which they live. Children must be taught the facts, skills and attitudes they will need to live and work together in harmony. Go back to study unit 1 and revisit the learning outcomes of early childhood education.

DO THIS EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON (1) What are the learning outcomes of multicultural education? (2) Can you find the learning outcomes of multicultural education in the learning outcomes of early childhood education? Which outcomes are not there? Write them down and add them to the learning outcomes of early childhood education.

6.2 Establishing a multicultural and antibias approach

As a educator working towards an antibias approach in teaching you should . examine your own attitudes . concentrate on creating a playroom environment that is free of biased learning materials . expand your knowledge of previously ignored individuals and groups

6.2.1 Examine your own attitudes

It is often said that it is not our differences that are the problem, but rather our response to differences. Each one of us has certain attitudes and biases. These attitudes are sometimes so

82 much a part of us that we may be unaware that not all people share the same points of view. Our own life experiences (eg the history of separation in this country and thus separate schooling) may have been significant in forming our attitudes. Antibias education requires constant thoughtfulness and self-examination on the part of educators. To help you do a self-examination, answer the following questions about yourself: . How has the social policy of apartheid influenced my attitudes toward and perceptions of people of different cultures? . How do I identify myself racially, or ethnically, or linguistically? . What prejudices did I learn when growing up? . What prejudices are prevalent in my family, work community, neighbourhood and circle of friends? . Am I working on being more thoughtful and sensitive about my attitudes toward a particular group? . How do I respond to stereotypical or prejudicial remarks and actions? . Do I find some groups of children easy or difficult to work with? . Do I find certain types of parents easy or difficult to work with? It is important to answer these questions as honestly as possible. Acknowledge any feelings of bias or prejudice and analyse them. Are your feelings based on facts, or just because ``I think so''? If you are able to acknowledge that you are biased, you can start to overcome it by working towards achieving an open, accepting and accommodating teaching style.

6.2.2 Creating a playroom that is free of biased learning materials

When setting up a playroom with an antibias approach, educators should look beyond the usual materials. When selecting antibias materials, look for active learning and hands-on materials. Avoid materials that are stereotypical and biased. What is stereotyping?

Stereotyping means to treat and think about individuals belonging to the same group as if they are all the same. People are not seen as unique individuals, but because they belong to the same gender, age, racial or cultural group they are thought to be identical. Needless to say, not all people from a particular group are the same and they should not be treated as if they were. COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON What does it mean to stereotype people? When is one biased?

To be biased refers to a preference, or a way of seeing people or things, that is not impartial. A biased person has a mental preference that inhibits impartial judgment. In other words, bias makes it difficult for us to treat people fairly and with an open mind. COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Explain in your own words the difference between being biased and stereotyping people.


PRS101Y/1 Collecting multicultural and antibias resources

Material or resources you can use for multicultural and antibias activities range from posters, games and fantasy play to books, music and even guest speakers. As you start with your collection of multicultural learning materials, be careful that the material does not portray images of the past, rather than a contemporary view. Initially the emphasis should be on helping children to realise that most people (despite different skin colour, traditions or clothing), have similar feelings and take part in activities that are much the same as theirs. As the children develop, they may begin to compare and contrast pictures of people who lived long ago with those from recent times. They might in this way learn about the discriminatory practices of the past and be able to compare them with the more impartial practices of the present.

COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Do you agree that a good starting point for building multicultural learning materials is to gather stories about the traditional lifestyle of different cultures, for example stories about the Zulu king, Dingaan? Give a reason for your answer.

a Photographs and posters Photographs and posters in the classroom should portray the diversity of people in the world. Children and adults should be depicted in a variety of play and work settings. Photographs allow children to notice differences between people in realistic settings. It is a good idea to include family photographs in the material on display. educators can make their own posters or collages by using old calendars or pictures on a particular theme, such as families or children at play. A typical classroom activity, such as having children name what they see in a picture, can become an antibias activity simply by selecting pictures with diversity in mind.

COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Describe, with an example, how you can use a poster or picture to help your group to realise that there is diversity in people.

b Manipulative play materials and games Games and manipulative play materials should be selected with a view to including nonstereotypical characters, scenes and pieces. Although commercial products are not yet ideal, more appropriate products are now becoming available. If you are unable to purchase materials that reflect an antibias approach, create your own. One could, for example, make your own puzzles from suitable pictures. With a little thought even biased materials can be used for an antibias approach. Homogeneous materials could, for instance, still be used to teach the group about diversity by asking the children what they notice about the toys that makes them different from real life. The group could then talk about ways to modify, say, the figurines in a building block set, so that they do not only represent white males.


COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Give three guidelines that an ECD educator can follow to ensure that manipulative games and materials are unbiased and nonstereotypical.

c Fantasy play In the past, fantasy play areas were riddled with stereotypes (too many handbags and high heels and too few briefcases). Fantasy play areas offer children the opportunity to try out both traditional and nontraditional roles. This way children may become more comfortable with differences. Dressing up, ``caring'' for children and others, ``fixing meals'' and ``working'' in different occupations all offer opportunities to both sexes to practise different roles. It is important to try to provide dolls, clothes and accessories that represent all cultural groups. The scope of the fantasy play area should be broadened by avoiding calling ita particular name such as the ``house corner''. Rather call it the ``fantasy area'', thereby extending its possibilities.

COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Give at least three ideas to ensure that the fantasy area is multicultural and that it does not become a mere ``housekeeping area''.

d Books Books offer a rich source for antibias material. Before purchasing new books, think about what you want to achieve with them. Books about particular themes, such as nontraditional families, are often difficult to find. Nonfiction books on different cultures, habits and languages should also be included in the book area. The emphasis should be on the diversity of people, habits and occupations throughout the world, while focusing on the sameness of basic human needs, such as love, belonging, security and respect. Stereotyping in books is discussed in detail in the module on children's literature (PRS2026).

COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Choose any story book suitable for young children which deals about people. Do you think this book is antibias and will enhance the learning outcomes of multicultural education? Give reasons for your answer.

e Music Music offers a variety of opportunities to focus on diversity in unique and enjoyable ways. Listening to, singing, and creating music allow children to experience diversity in a relaxed, unpressurised way. The emphasis should be on experiencing variety in music. Songs and instruments from different cultural traditions can be most enriching. The African tradition of singing rhythmically whilst completing routine tasks could, for instance, be included with great effect.



ANSWER THIS QUESTION BEFORE YOU READ ON How can you use music to help your group to experience diversity in a unique and enjoyable way?

f Guest speakers Guest speakers from different ethnic groups, sexes, ages and occupational groups make a valuable contribution to the children's experience of diversity. Any guest speaker who has a nontraditional role, or who can provide information about a specific culture, or share an experience of prejudice or discrimination, may contribute significantly to the antibias curriculum. While busy with a health-related theme, one could, for example, invite a female doctor to talk about her work.

DO THIS EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON Give your own example of how you can use a guest speaker for a multicultural learning experience.

6.3 Planning activities for a multicultural and antibias approach

There is no right or wrong way to start with a multicultural approach, but it is important to realise that the ideals of multicultural education cannot be achieved by merely including a unit on difference, or using a book containing a nontraditional character, or providing information about a cultural festival. It takes careful planning to infuse the whole curriculum with a multicultural approach. For this reason, when embarking upon a multicultural approach, a educator should: . examine his or her own attitude towards racial, ethnic and linguistic and other culturally based differences . formulate outcomes which include multicultural educational experiences in every theme he or she teaches . select suitable activities and resources to achieve the set outcomes

6.3.1 Ideas for multicultural activities

Keeping the learning outcomes of multicultural education in mind, plan activities that will match the theme and the learning outcomes you wish to achieve. To help you, we now discuss examples of activities aimed at achieving the essential outcomes for the young child. Activities focusing on appreciating being ``the same'' and ``different''

Activities that focus on similarities and differences in people help children to . discover that the way they usually see things is not necessarily the only way to look at them . build a base of knowledge about people with knowledge about a variety of people in a variety of roles, children are less likely to see people as stereotypes

86 To achieve the above outcomes, it is necessary to include activities that emphasise nontraditional ways of doing things, for example princesses who are brave instead of passive, boys (and men) who are sad, mothers who drive nontraditional vehicles like motorcycles or aeroplanes, or fathers who stay at home to look after the children. Most activities in this category should encourage learners to ask: ``Are all people in this particular group the same?'' Other activities may be used to show that those people who are different have sometimes been underrated in the past. The following is an example of an activity where sameness and differences are being investigated: Our families Teachable moment: Suitable activity when children in the group ask questions about each other's families Learning outcome: Children must recognise that families have both different and similar traits Suitable period: Informal discussion Method: (1) Tell your group that each child will have an opportunity to share his or her answer to the question: ``What would you like us to know that is special about your family?'' To help your group, tell them what is special about your own family. Possible answers might be: ``We prefer vinegar instead of tomato sauce on our chips'' or ``We never eat meat'', or ``My mother's milk tart is the best in the world.'' (2) Give each child a turn to answer. Reinforce the concept of similarities and differences by commenting on them. You may say something like: ``Nkopodi's family likes to visit grandma and grandpa. Are there other families who like to do that too?'' Extension: Have the children bring pictures of their families preferable doing a favourite activity and put these on a bulletin board. Activities challenging prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination

Children have to be taught that prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination limit people not only economically and politically, but also by diminishing their self-esteem. Ultimately, children should develop into people who will interrupt and stop prejudiced behaviour whenever and wherever they find it. The following is an example of an activity that will encourage children to be aware of prejudging and to recognise that appearance is not a reliable criterion to use when evaluating something or someone new. Prejudging Teachable moment: Learning outcome: Suitable period: Materials: A suitable activity when children are unwilling to try out something new To encourage children to be aware of prejudging Before refreshments (routine period) Pomegranate, kiwi fruit (or any other unfamiliar fruit)

87 Method:


(1) Place the fruit on the table and ask: ``Do you like ...?'' (2) Show the fruit to the class. Ask those who like the fruit, without tasting it, to go to one side of the room. If any children should ask what to do if they do not know, just say that they have to decide themselves where they want to stand. (3) Without dwelling on the fact that some children prejudged the fruit, talk about prejudging. People often decide they like or dislike food before even trying it. Ask the children why they have decided that they like or dislike the fruit. (4) Discuss why it is important to first taste the fruit before deciding that you like or dislike it. Prejudging is the same as prejudice. Ask the children if they have ever heard the word ``prejudice'' before. Prejudice is a judgment made without reason or experience. (5) Ask your group if they have ever had an experience where someone told them that they could not do something because of being a girl or a boy. Make the point that when people prejudge, they do not allow others to be themselves. People are unique and so not every boy/girl/black/brown/white person has to be exactly the same as every other boy/girl/ black/ brown/ white person just because he or she is a boy/girl/black/brown/ white person. (6) Give each child a piece of the fruit. Note how many children do and do not like the fruit. Compare this with the initial reaction. Discuss the change in opinion resulting from the fact that they have now made a decision based on experience and not prejudgment. (Based on Thomson 1993:138)

6.4 Assessment of a multicultural and antibias curriculum

Assessment in antibias education is largely a matter of assessing whether attitudes are changing or not. When assessing whether you as the educator are having any success with an antibias approach, the following questions may be asked: . Does the child recognise and accept individual differences? . Does the child respond nonjudgmentally to situations and people? . Does the child make decisions about people and situations based on appropriate information, rather than on stereotypes? . Does the child understand that different people may have different opinions? . Does the child understand that each person or group is entitled to a unique perspective?

DO THIS EXERCISE BEFORE YOU READ ON (1) It is difficult to assess whether the learning outcomes of multicultural and antibias education have been achieved, because we have to measure the change in ``attitudes and thinking'' of the child. Do you agree? Give a reason for your answer. (2) Do you think the children have to change their attitudes, or do the adults in the children's lives have to change their attitudes? Can you do anything about adults' ``attitudes and thinking''?

Self-test questions
Now complete the following questions. This should help you to master the competencies set out in the learning outcomes at the beginning of this study unit.

88 Short questions: test your knowledge (1) What are the essential outcomes of multicultural and antibias education in early childhood? (1) (2) Name the three main functions of the educator when working towards a multicultural and antibias approach in teaching. (3) (3) Is the following statement true? Give reasons for your answer. ``In life it is our cultural differences that are the biggest problem in living and working together.'' (4) ``Any feelings of bias or prejudice are not based on facts, but on `I think so!' '' Do you agree with this statement? (1) (5) What advice would you give to a person to help him or her overcome feelings of bias or prejudice? (2) (6) Give examples of stereotyping on the basis of (a) culture (b) age (c) gender (7) Name one important principle to adhere to when collecting multicultural and antibias resources. (1) (8) Very briefly discuss how you could use pictures as a teaching resource in multicultural and antibias education. (3) (9) How can you make sure that the photographs and posters that you use in the playroom are antibiased? (1) (10) Why is fantasy play said to have been very stereotypical in the past? (1) (11) Why is it better to call the fantasy play area the ``fantasy area'', rather than ``the house corner''? (1) (12) Give four guidelines to keep in mind when choosing books for the book corner to promote a multicultural antibias approach. (5) (13) Give one idea of how you can use music in a multicultural atibias approach. (1) (14) ``Multicultural antibias education takes place during a specific period in the daily programme.'' Do you agree with this statement? Give reasons for you answer. (4) (15) Complete the following statement: ``Assessment of multicultural antibias education is largely a matter of assessing ...'' (1) Long questions: test your insight (1) Use the planning procedure for an integrated approach (go back to study unit 5 for information on the planning procedure) and give a detailed outline of your planning for the theme ``My family'' (3 pages). Indicate how you would make sure that (a) the activities and resources are multicultural and antibias (b) you include integrated multicultural activities in your planning (2) Discuss how you would create a playroom that is free of any biased learning materials (3 pages). (3) Plan, in writing, a suitable activity for the middle group (4 to 5 years old) in a centre for early childhood education, to match the following theme: ``Similarities and differences in people'' (2 pages).



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