ERIC Number: EJ787743
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Reference Count: 7
Another Look at What Young Children Should Be Learning
Katz, Lilian G.
Exchange: The Early Childhood Leaders' Magazine Since 1978, n180 p53-56 Mar-Apr 2008
All teachers of all subjects at all levels have to address the question: What should be learned? Their answers to this question depend in part on the ages of the learners. Teachers' answers at the secondary school level are typically formulated in terms of the specific subjects they teach. Those teaching at the primary school level usually respond not only in terms of subjects, e.g., social studies, or science, etc., but also in terms of the basic skills involved in becoming proficient in reading, writing, and mathematics as well. But, how should preschool teachers answer this question? The recent introduction of state standards for teaching and learning in the early years is one way of responding to that question. These standards tend to be strongly linked to what knowledge and skills are considered essential to be ready for school. Most of the standards are stated very broadly. Reaching agreement on such broad goals or benchmarks is fairly easy. However, the younger the children, the more challenging it is to arrive at meaningful statements about what should be learned. And making plans with the intention of achieving such standards on any particular day with every child in the group is not so easily achieved. Frequently, discussions about desirable outcomes, standards, and benchmarks refer to what children should "know and be able to do." Rarely is reference made to the idea that the children not only know, but also that they understand what they know. In this article, the author suggests that it is helpful to consider the aims and goals of education at every level in terms of four different kinds of learning goals: (1) Knowledge and understanding; (2) Skills; (3) Dispositions; and (4) Feelings.
Descriptors: Educational Objectives, State Standards, Preschool Teachers, Early Experience, Early Childhood Education, Young Children, Preschool Curriculum
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A