The Learning Environment
A part of earning your Child Development Associate credential, is demonstrating competence in various areas. As an early childhood educator, provides specific assignments geared for educating CDA teachers and educators in these competency areas. One such important area of focus, is the learning environment.
Early childhood daycare centers and family center homes, need to provide a learning environment conducive to child growth in all areas. In order to make this happen, a teacher should consider his/her environment. This does not just include the “physical” aspects of the classroom, but the classroom as a whole. For example, setting routines and providing structure that is consistent, can allow for easier transitions. Knowing that children do not have a grasp on time, being consistent with routines and expectations can ease tantrums or oppositional behavior during time of transition. When children know what to expect, it becomes common place for them, and they are more likely to just “go with the flow.”
Be sure to start your day off with a consistent arrival schedule. Proper greeting, quick check-in, and allowing time for the child to warm-up to the day, can alleviate possible meltdowns later in the day. It may even help with saying goodbye to mommy or daddy! Allow children to have some free choice time after arrival so they can ease their way into their day.
Large group circle time is important for young children. This teaches many skills such as listening, following the speaker, how to sit and be a good audience, etc. But be sure to not drag out the circle time with too much information at once. You will want to break it up in chunks of time when we need to be quiet (such as story time), time we can participate in answering, volunteering, asking questions, etc., and time to move with music or movement activities.
No matter how you schedule your day, just be sure it is one where children feel welcome and safe. You are a teacher, an educator, and someone children will spend most of their day with. Be sure to allow those children the opportunity to grow not only academically, but social-emotionally too!