Seeing children holistically – using the bigger picture

Just found my pedagogy statement from 2014, for those who like long winded, for those who don’t it says believe in children and let your care and curriculum fit the individual – be present.

Pedagogy Statement
I believe children are competent and capable of creating their own knowledge from their socio cultural surroundings as in Vygotsky and Piaget’s learning theories, these are also reflected in Waldorf, Montessori, Reggio Emilia and Te Kohanga Reo approaches (Berk, 2009; Isaacs, 2012; Krogh & Slentz, 2001; Nicol & Taplin, 2012; NZQA, 2011). My belief that children’s interests should be observed and responded to as emergent curriculum is reflective of the theories of Montessori, Reggio Emilia and Rudolph Steiner (New Zealand Tertiary College [NZTC], 2014).

Brunner developed the theory of scaffolding building on Vygotsky’s idea of the zone of proximal development, this is how I view the teacher /child relationship, with teachers facilitating learning by giving support to achieve the next level of ability, raising children’s self esteem and confidence to learn more as they achieve each milestone (Berk, 2009; MacNaughton & Williams, 2009). These ideas also support my philosophy that children learn best in socio cultural environments such as the whanaungatanga approach of Te Kohanga Reo or cooperative approach of Reggio Emilia (NZQA, 2011; Rankin, 2004).

The teacher’s role should be to work in partnership with families and children in providing safe, respectful and challenging environments as in Kohanga Reo and Reggio Emilia philosophies where the inclusion and respect of family as knowledgeable first teachers is key to children’s learning (NZQA, 2011; Rankin, 2004). Providing open ended resources to encourage imagination and the creation of working theories is where I follow Reggio Emilia’s philosophy that children should be encouraged to develop their own learning outcomes (Drew & Rankin, 2004).

Teachers should provide an environment that is interesting and welcoming as it encourages children’s curiosity and wellbeing through a feeling of belonging (Ministry of Education [MoE], 1996). I believe that by including some resources with set outcomes such as those valued by Montessori, teachers promote resilience and perseverance in children as they grow their problem solving skills. I believe that using different approaches creates a good balance in curriculum creation, such as using parts of the Montessori and Reggio Emilia approaches (Drake, 2008).
My philosophy is to be “present” and child centred while facilitating the
learning and use of problem solving and negotiation skills. I believe that to know and teach children you must see them holistically as being part of a wider community as described in Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model (MoE, 1996). Through a close association with family and the community teachers can be culturally sensitive and collaborate in implementing curriculum for each individual as they value the learning community’s aspirations (MoE,1996; NZQA, 2011).

I believe teachers should be facilitators of learning, guiding and scaffolding children’s own ideas, allowing them to extend their skills and understandings at their own pace. I believe that all children have the ability to achieve and succeed with the support, care and positive guidance of all those in their learning community. As a teacher I believe in learning through reflection, seeking better ways to empower children to become lifelong learners. I believe that teachers should observe, listen and be responsive within cooperative environments to facilitate children’s developing as confidence and competence.

Reference List

Berk, L. E. (2009). Child development (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
Drake, M. (2008). Developing Resilient Children After 100 Years of Montessori Education Retrieved January 28, 2014, from http://www.redorbit.com/news/education/1390115/developing_resilient_children_after_100_years_of_montessori_education/#ZtUPHl0Spm1ExpvF.99
Drew, W. F., & Rankin, B. (2004). Promoting creativity for life using open-ended materials. Retrieved January 28, 2014, from http://www.rediscovercenter.org/pdf/promoting_creativity1.pdf
Isaacs, B. (2012). Understanding the Montessori approach (pp. 46-65). Oxon, UK: Routledge
Krogh, S. L., & Slentz, K. L. (2001). Early childhood education: Yesterday, today and tomorrow (pp. 42 – 72). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc
MacNaughton, G., & Williams, G. (2009). Techniques for teaching young children: Choices in theory and practice (3rd ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia
Ministry of Education. (1996). Te Whāriki: He whāriki mātauranga mō ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa/Early childhood curriculum. Wellington: Learning Media.
New Zealand Tertiary College, (2014). B301: Curriculum approaches study guide. Auckland, New Zealand: New Zealand Tertiary College.
Nicol, J., & Taplin, J. T. (2012). Understanding the Steiner Waldorf approach (pp. 13-28). Oxon, UK: Routledge.
NZQA. (2011). Report of External Evaluation and Review 2011. Retrieved January 28, 2014, from http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/nqfdocs/provider-reports/9381.pdf dec 17
Rankin, B. (2004). The Importance of Intentional Socialization Among Children in Small Groups: A Conversation with Loris Malaguzzi. Early Childhood Education Journal, 32(2), 81-85.

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