Category Archives: Education

Early Childhood Education

Early childhood education aims at the development of one’s cognitive and motor abilities. These skills can best be taught by blending education with fun and play. To know more on this, read on.

Early childhood encompasses the first eight years in the life of an individual. The education that should be given during these years of a child’s life revolves around certain domains of early development. Research has discovered the fact that children tend to learn from whole experiences and that they cannot perceive parts of an experience. Thus the education they are given should be in the form that they can understand. Early childhood education focuses on learning through play. Parents, caretakers, neighbors and preschool teachers play a vital role in the early years of a child’s education.

The first two years in a child’s life are spent in the realization of one’s own identity. These are the years when children gain a sense of self. Children gradually form an identity of their own and learn to associate themselves with the people around them. They gain an understanding of their own thinking and behavior to a certain extent and they begin to know themselves. For these reasons it is suggested that early childhood education during these years should be focused on establishing links between children and their families, their home and their culture. It should be remembered that the education given to children in these years would lead them towards forming a fully developed identity of their own.

During the early years of childhood, one develops motor control. This is one of the most important developmental domains in a child’s life. Early childhood education should deal with the training in motor abilities. Motor control needs to be exercised during the early years of childhood. Motor abilities relate to a child’s ability to use his/her muscles. The ability to hold an object with grip, the ability of co-coordinated walking and synchronized muscle movements to perform various physical activities define the set of a child’s motor skills.

Perception, sensory development and communication are also the important domains of a child’s development. In the phase of early childhood, one learns to perceive things and react to them using the sensory organs. It is during this period that a child learns to use its sensory organs to perceive stimuli. The early childhood years define the period of developing language and communication skills. Language forms the children’s means to communicate with the world around them, to express themselves and say what they think and feel. Children gain the cognitive abilities during the early years of childhood.

The development of an individual starts with the manifestation of one’s motor abilities. The intelligence levels increase and gradually begin to be displayed in terms of thinking and imagination. These abilities later develop into logic, accompanied by a general awareness of oneself and one’s surroundings. The social and mental development also takes place during one’s early childhood years. The education given during these years of a child’s development should aim at his/her interpersonal skills too. It is during their early childhood years, that children obtain happiness from a sense of security. Assuring them family security during these years is important for their overall development. The lack of parental interaction during early childhood can negatively impact a child’s development. It is the responsibility of the parents and caretakers to assure the children of a mental and social security to help them develop their personalities.

Early childhood education programs should consist of training in reading abilities, motor skills, language and communication skills. The need of the day is to familiarize a child to technology during his/her early years of childhood. Apart from the basic skills, it has become necessary to acquaint children with modern technology. Teaching children through narratives and moral stories is an effective way to inculcate in them, the principles of life. Teaching them the basic math and alphabet helps them in their school activities. Some children might exhibit certain natural talents, which need to be recognized at the right time and nurtured. Early childhood is the time to understand children and make them understand their own selves. Education during that period should serve this purpose.

Importance of Art Education

While both school and parents underscore on the importance of academics for the development of young minds, they, however, pay little attention to art education.

Have you ever thought why do we send children to school? Or what is the importance of education? Firstly, schools teach the necessary values to children which are needed to become good citizens. Secondly, schools provide skills and prepare students to get a job. And lastly, perhaps the most important, schools teach students how to be better human beings, how to be creative and aware, and to enjoy and understand the deeper forms of beauty. Art education, be it in the form of drawing or music or dance, does exactly that.

The importance of art education in the development of a child’s overall personality and skills is undeniable. Still, it is seen that when it comes to cost-cutting, art and craft programs are the first things that are discontinued in schools. Maybe the school authorities as well as parents need to understand why is art education important. Given below are some of the advantages of art education for students.

Importance of Art Education in Schools
It is observed that children who are engaged in art activities, develop a better understanding of other subjects, right from languages to geography to even science. Studies have shown that students who are exposed to any of the forms of creative expression, be it music, painting, or drama, on an average achieve higher scores in standardized tests. Some other findings suggest that students engaged in an arts program in school are much more unlikely to drop out of school compared to those who are not into any kind of arts.

Creativity
During art programs, students are often given materials and asked to draw whatever they feel like. Such free-flowing art activities foster creativity in children and help in developing their imagination as well as decision-making skills.

Interpretation Skills
During art appreciation classes, students are made to interpret and draw conclusions from various pieces of art. This strengthens their interpretation skills, and they can use the same in other subjects as well as in all other aspects of life.

Critical Thinking and Communication Skills
Art develops a child’s intelligence. Studies have shown that exposure of children to art helps in promoting brain activity. A child learns how to solve a problem. He also learns how to convey his thoughts and ideas in numerous ways. During art classes, various pieces of art are discussed in detail. This discussion makes the students capable of expressing themselves well during debates or in speech classes.

Personality Development
Art forms such as drama activities develop the overall personality of a child. They build a child’s self-esteem and make him disciplined. A child due to his engagement in art becomes much more creative and innovative. He develops motivation and also learns how to cooperate with others.

People Skills
The importance of art education for children can be understood from the fact that engaging in art activities gives the child a better understanding of human nature. A child develops sensitivity and becomes considerate enough to think from the other person’s point of view. He starts respecting other people’s feelings and thoughts.

Observational Skills
Art activities for children improve their observational skills. For example, skills that are required to draw a sketch of a house are the same as that required to understand the solar system or to figure out why a particular classmate is behaving in so and so manner.

Inquisitive Spirit
Kids’ art activities make them curious. A child learns how to question things by participating in arts. After drawing a sketch, if a child does not like the final outcome, he erases and re-draws certain portions. Thus, he learns “trial and error” through art and uses the same in real-life situations.

The importance of art education can be understood from the fact that the whole of human history that we know of today, has been conveyed to us through various art forms such as literature, music, visual arts, dance, and drama. Art transcends all boundaries – be it geographical or cultural. Art can bring imagination to life and give life to imagination. So to conclude, it can be said that engaging in art activities is a must for children for their social, emotional, intellectual and personal development.

Disadvantages of Bilingual Education

This article aims to illustrate the disadvantages of bilingual education without deeming it worthless. A consensus has to be reached on the best teaching methods that would promote the cause of all sections of society.

Bilingual education is practiced in many countries throughout the world. It refers to the system of providing education to a child in two languages, where one of the languages, invariably is the child’s arterial language. The aim of bilingual education is to ensure that a child, who is proficient in his/her mother tongue, acquires the same level of comfort and expertise in the other language. Most countries felt the need for bilingual education due to adjustment issues faced by minorities and immigrants. It was also essential in the erstwhile British and French colonies, who — after regaining independence — opted for a system of education that provided recognition and respect for their language and culture. This, especially is true in case of countries in the South Pacific. Although English/French is the official language, children are instructed in their native language, too.

Flashback

In the U.S., the need for bilingual education arose in the year 1864, when Congress prohibited the native American children from receiving instructions in their own language. It was 70 years later that the verdict of Congress was defeated, and bilingual education was accepted as a basic human right. The United Nations General Assembly Convention of 1989, de facto, stated that a child’s education should be directed toward developing his/her cultural identity. Article 30 also furthered the cause of this form of education by stating that children had the right to use their ethnic language. In 1998, the Linguistic Society of America affirmed that all children would be educated in a manner that acknowledged their native language and ensured their eventual grasp of English. Since then, bilingualism has been encouraged in the U.S. in order to help minorities and immigrants.

History bears evidence to the conflicts in the realm of bilingual education. The proponents of a single medium of instruction have furthered the cause of a unilingual system of education by elaborating on the disadvantages of bilingual education.

The Demerits

Unsuccessful Attempt at Integration into Society
Bilingual education was deemed necessary since it was supposed to help integrate the children of immigrants and minorities into society. The system of bilingual education demanded separate teachers and classrooms and believed in gradual integration into society by allowing children to receive education in their native language for a period of three or more years. Proponents of a single medium of instruction opposed bilingual education, since they believed that separate teachers and classrooms would widen the already existing gap between citizens and immigrants. They further proposed that encouraging children to interact within their own community for a period of three years, would delay the process of adjusting to the ways of life in a new country.

School Dropout Rates
Over the years, the dropout rate in various schools across North America has reduced significantly. The medium of instruction in the above-mentioned schools is English. However, there has been no reduction in the dropout rates for schools offering bilingual education. Most people feel that a dropout rate of 35% doesn’t justify the costs involved in providing this form of education.

Unavailability of Teachers
Bilingual education requires a number of trained teachers who are proficient in both English and their native language, assuming that English is one of the mediums of instruction. There is a wide gap between the demand and the supply for teachers, who are both confident and capable of handing the intense pressure associated with managing a class of students requiring special attention.

Lack of Classrooms
There is a dearth of classrooms that can accommodate students, who require instructions in both English and their native language. Students are expected to sit together in one class regardless of their age and the variations in the required level of education. This poses a great problem for teachers, who, in addition to being well versed in two languages, have to exhibit a certain level of comfort in handling different levels of education, simultaneously.

Lack of Funds
The aforementioned issues bring us to the crux of the problem: lack of funds to promote bilingual education. The debate would be redundant had there been sufficient funds to promote its cause. Had the means to satisfy the wants of various sections of society been unlimited, we would be debating a moot point.

Bilingual Education Is Costly
Education viably becomes unobtainable, when a language that is not dominant in nature is to be taught. The scenario becomes economically feasible, when multiple languages commonly used, are taught. An education system ought to be aware that the noble sap of education and literacy lies in understanding the language in which knowledge is imparted. The content and context of the subject becomes oblivious, if the student is not well acquainted with the language employed.

Apparent Loss of Identity
Mental and perceptive flexibility retracts when bilingual education steps to the fore. People with hooked-down ideologies are of the view that encouraging bilingual education hook, line and sinker would debilitate and sump the identity of their own language. This stream of thought insinuates a sense of commitment toward their first language and bars them from adopting the bilingual form of education.

Bilingual education can be advantageous to some, but disadvantageous to the society as a whole. Immigration and cultural integration are not easy issues to deal with. Immigrants and citizens have different views on what would be best for their community. Since the ultimate aim of bilingual education is to integrate the various sections of society by furthering communication in a language that is foreign to some and native to many, would it not be better an idea to initiate the process sooner? ..

Tips to Motivate Your Child to Study

If your child shows lack of interest towards studying, here is an article that tells you ways to motivate your child so that he/she willingly shows interest in learning.

Parents want their children to succeed in life and they know that success comes with adequate knowledge. That is why, parents admit their children in good educational institutions to prepare them for life. The duty of parents is not just to get a good school for their child’s education, but to encourage them from time to time so that their interest in learning stays on. Some children are self-motivated towards learning and are self-driven to take up challenging tasks with positive attitude. Once their goal is set, they strive hard to achieve it without having to be prodded.

On the other hand, there are children who show least interest towards learning. They are not self-motivated to learn new things in life and tend to stick to easy tasks which require less effort. They need a lot of prodding to begin with something and their negative attitude leads to disinterest in learning. Parents of such children need to take that extra effort to encourage their child to study. A systematic, strategic approach is required to inculcate interest in such children. If your child is also facing this problem, it’s better to know how you can motivate your child to study so that he/she can excel in every sphere of life.

Ways to Motivate Your Child to Study

Provide a Good Study Environment
A good environment is very essential for proper learning. Disruptions and noise often disturb a child’s concentration and create difficulty in studying. A quiet room with minimum disturbance and adequate lighting should be provided so that your child feels like studying in such an environment. Creating a good study environment is in the hands of parents and they must make sure to provide one to their child.

Help in Setting Achievable Goals
Helping the child set achievable goals will not only provide a clear picture to the child about what must be accomplished in a set time frame, but also help in measuring achievements. The realization of meeting the set targets will instill a sense of confidence in the child and indirectly motivate to strive for new ones.

Set Reasonable Expectations
Many parents have the habit of setting unreasonable expectations from the child, which creates undue pressure on the child’s mind and results in depression when he/she fails to meet them. Therefore, parents should understand their child’s ability of learning and set reasonable expectations, which can be achieved with little effort. On meeting the parent’s expectations, the child will feel satisfied and work harder to perform better.

Teach the Importance of Learning
Students who lack interest in learning, usually do not know the importance of learning in their lives. That is why, they often consider it secondary and do not pay much attention to it. A child with such a mentality should be taught the importance of studies and made aware of why parents think studies are important.

Use Interesting Learning Techniques
Making learning an interesting activity can be of great help. Children usually get bored with routine study procedures, which makes them lose their interest in studies. Using techniques like fun activities and games can bring back the lost interest and motivate the child to study more often.

Concentrate on High Interest Areas
Every child has specific interest areas. Identify these areas and start with these subjects so that the child sits to study. Between the sessions of such interesting topics, include small sessions of less interesting topics so that the child gains knowledge about them as well.

Encourage the Child
Encouragement can work wonders for a person lagging behind. If a child is under depression or has failed to achieve set goals, do not complain, rather, encourage to instill a never-die-attitude in the child. Once this attitude develops, the child will work harder each time he fails and will be able to succeed.

Aid in Studying
Parents must accompany their child during studies to help them out wherever they are stuck. Many a time, children do not like to study simply because they don’t understand the subject. If parents help them in solving their problems and make them understand the subject, they will definitely like to learn some more of it.

Encourage Competition
Competition can encourage a child to put in that extra effort. It is easy to encourage boys by this means because they like to stay ahead of their friends or classmates. Getting a better score can motivate the child to achieve good results.

Appreciate and Reward
A pat on the back works wonders for motivating a child. Even if the achievement is small, praise and say that you are proud. These positive words are great ways of encouragement for children. Sometimes, rewarding can also be used as a motivator. However, be sure to give reasonable rewards otherwise, they can turn heavy on the pocket.

Lack of motivation in students is a serious concern. Teachers and parents play a significant role in motivating a child to study. A little attention and encouragement can help a child to overcome reluctance towards studies and move ahead in the path of success.

Ethical Issues in Education

Education is a novel pursuit and imparting education is even more so. However, there are certain ethical issues in education that must be kept in mind and pondered upon from time to time to assess the real value that is being added to society via the media of education.

Indeed, education is an ongoing process. We are always receiving and passing it on, adding something in the process, sometimes even taking certain things, impertinent from time to time, away from it while passing it on further. However, the industry of education is a serious one, requiring well-defined ethics and values, well-bound in visible legal outlines to regulate its exchange and distribution. Let us take a brief look at some of the most common issues of ethics in education.

List of Ethical Issues in Education
Following are some of the most common moral, legal and ethical concerns in education that are most often faced by the givers and receivers of education, along with the education institutes, management thereof and, sometimes, parents and guardians of students.

Educational Resources With Respect to Special Education
The passing of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975 by the Federal Government marked the first milestone in special education of children with disabilities. Prior to this act, handicapped children had no other recourse but to attend general public schools and curriculum which were not appropriate given their special requirements.

Post this act, funds were given to states for the development of educational curricula for children with disabilities and the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, 1975, made available to all handicapped children between 3 years and 21 years of age the right to a Free, Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

Choice of Teacher
The eternal contention between a principal and the parents regarding which teacher the child in question should be assigned to the following year is one of the major moral issues in education. There are two, very predictable outcomes to this debate – either the principal uneasily resigns to parental logic or the former evade the latter’s request by making a blanket statement saying it is not in school policy to honor parents’ opinion as far as choice of teaching faculty goes.

School Uniforms – Should They be Made Compulsory?
As is generic to every controversy, this one also has two sides to it. Arguments in favor of imposing uniforms observe what the lack of a uniform dress code has done to school campuses nationwide – immodest piercings, provocative or too casual attire, outrageous hair colors and styles, etc. Advocates against imposing school uniform argue that clothing has no effect, whatsoever, on education and what one wears to school has no bearing on what is taught at school.

Also, state the latter, it is not necessary that all students are able to afford a uniform – would they be denied education for want of a uniform? A happy mid path between these two school uniform debates could be to enlist a strict dress code, enumerating what NOT to wear at school, failing to follow which would invite fine or suspension. This is better than either imposing a complete compulsion of school uniforms in public schools or holding a way too liberal stance on what to wear at school.

Discipline Issues
To put it in short, it is the age-old zero tolerance policy vs. give-em-another chance policy. Both policies should work side-by-side in all educational or other institutes. Zero tolerance policies should be imposed upon aggressive and anti-social and behavioral in-disciplinary actions such as bullying and carrying firearms to institutes.
Second-chance policies may be used to encourage better academic performance and instill the habit to try harder the next time. The opportunities, however, should not be kept unlimited for the same default by the same individual. Giving second chances does not translate into spare-the-rod-and-spoil-the-child attitude!

Addressing Diversity
With students from socially and ethnically diverse backgrounds seeking admissions in schools today, the issue of whether or not to address diversity poses a serious question. Racial inequality and ethnic differences have been an issue in public schools since the time public schools were founded. The foremost step towards addressing diversity in schools should come from the curriculum itself.

Involving different ethnic sports and multicultural festivals at schools would mark the beginning of an attempt to combine students from diverse backgrounds into a bond of institutional unity. Moreover, including prominent historical annals derived from different ethnicity as part of a collective study of world history would encourage students to get familiar with each others’ racial, cultural and ethnic differences.

Grading – Linking Parameters with Purpose
What do grades reflect? Rather, what should grades reflect? Should they just cover the academics? Then again, what, in academics should they reflect? Should grades be considered for assessing learning capabilities, information grasping prowess, discipline in meeting academic deadlines or all of these? Then again, should failure by a student to live up to these standards be considered as laxity on the student’s part or should it be blamed upon the incompetency of the teacher?

Should class participation be considered in overall grading? If so, then wouldn’t that kill the idea of respecting the individuality of shier or quieter students who may be equally good (maybe better) at academics as their more outgoing counterparts? An unbiased standardization of the grading system would require careful consideration of all angles of these queries and dilemmas to arrive at an objective conclusion that leaves no room for ambiguity.

Besides the above mentioned ethical issues in education, there are other noteworthy issues – teacher evaluation, sex education, value education, tracking and random drug tests in campuses – that prevail surrounded by controversy. Each of these issues require fine scrutiny and deep understanding but even then, there would always be that “depends upon the situation” factor that would decide which way the verdict rests.

Educational Psychology

Psychology is the study of human psyche and mind wherein the mental processes and behavior is analyzed and a relationship is established in the functioning and working of the brain and the influence of daily incidents of life on the functioning. Psychology gives a concrete shape to feelings and it is approached scientifically. Psychology handles with the concept of emotion, personality, concentration, memory, attentiveness and relationships with other people. Nowadays Psychology is considered as an applied science than a mere theory, which was the perception of many conservative thinkers previously. Now psychology is split into specialized divisions of study like prenatal psychology, child psychology, educational psychology, social psychology, industrial psychology and many more which help in understanding the problem related to a specific field and its solution. Here we will discuss educational psychology, which is relevant in today’s competitive world where there is immense pressure on everybody to prove him or herself.

What is Educational Psychology?

Educational psychology, as the name suggests, deals with the education of humans and the various aspects like the conditions in which the effectiveness can be enhanced. Various schools and colleges appoint Psychologists so that they can better the environment, the style, syllables and enhance the intake of knowledge by the students. Educational Psychologists also determine the contents of a syllabus since they can analyze the necessary and unnecessary parts of the same.

What is the scope of Educational Psychology?

This field is vast as it deals with the behavioral and social development of an individual. It also helps in the structuring of individual perspective, which in turn leads to the development individualities ad personality traits. Educational Psychology states that the development of the human brain can be traced and classified in four stages, which are levels of the child’s relationship with the surroundings. In these four stages a child develops cognitive abilities and social understanding. These four stages also determine the abilities of creativity, intelligence, morality and motivation in a child. This field also studies the much-debated Heredity versus Environment aspect of a child’s mental and behavioral development. There are instances when children of the same class have varied levels of understanding regarding a concept; in this case educational psychology aims to analyze the reason for the difference.

Educational psychology defines the primary and secondary needs of a child and provides him or her effective methods of learning so that the learned content is registered in the memory of the child. Creativity is also one aspect which is dealt with in this field, and the latter encourages the development of the former. A school should definitely have an educational psychologist to ensure the all round development of its students motivating them, guiding them and counseling them in regular intervals. It has been observed that the use of educational psychology helps enhance the power of observation, understanding, listening, responding and application.

Uses of Computers in Education

Computers have become an inseparable part of our lives to a great extent. Particularly in the field of education, their uses are manifold. Let us understand them further.

Over the years, computers have changed the way the world works. They have proved to be an asset not only for the corporate sector, but also in other sectors such as medicine, architecture, communication, research, sports and education. Speaking of which, computers have taken over the field of education, bringing over its influence in every possible manner. These very machines, which were once used only in research laboratories and government offices have now become a common sight in schools across the world. Today, computers have touched the lives of several students living in the remotest part of our planet, be it directly or otherwise.

There is no denying the fact that computers completely rule the life of an average student in any corner of the world, be it in the form of hand-held devices, or printed textbooks (thanks to the use of computers in printing). What follows are some instances of the utility of computers in education.

e-Learning Gets Real
Let’s begin with stating the obvious. Without computers, learning would be restricted within the walls of institutions, and nothing could possibly be more unfair. Knowledge and education is empowering, and the best way to make is accessible to everyone is through computers. Working professionals, stay-at-home parents, senior citizens, even curious minds benefit from online education. e-Learning is accessible and affordable, not to mention extremely doable, be it a professional looking to hone his management skills or a college student wanting to learn a foreign language.

Making Knowledge Interesting
We all know how learning about the depth of the Mariana Trench in geography class can be a little dowdy for young children. However, by introducing the audio-visual method of learning, computers have made education interesting. As communication systems enhance, education will change for better – computers will make our children more curious, knowing that the answers to their questions are at hand.

Bringing the World Closer
Computers are shrinking our world, and from what we’re seeing, it appears to be a mixed bag. While social networking is a boon for those who wish to use it to expand their academic horizons, it does come with implications. But, focusing on the positives of networking – it bonds people around the world, helping students reach out to scholars and vice versa, making connectivity worthwhile.

Presenting Creative Options
With all the creative software at hand, it has become easy for students to jazz up their assignments and projects; basically, assignments have become activities that students look forward to, from their earlier mundane form. From a higher perspective, the usage of computers in aiding learning is prominent in almost every field, from botanical sciences to fine arts.

Being a Source of Knowledge
The internet is now what once used to be the library. What’s more, it is easier to access, along with being a convenient and fairly reliable source of information. With bulky computers now being popularly reduced to hand-held devices, students literally have information at their fingertips. Again, free knowledge that is easily available does have its pitfalls, but looking at the larger picture, it is definitely more beneficial.

Reducing Paperwork
Computers have more or less eliminated paperwork in the administration section of education. Thanks to websites, we can do away with printing brochures, application forms, admission and other administrative documents, resulting in procedures that are cost-effective and environment friendly. Tests have also become online, making assessment procedures easy for teachers and professors.

There is no questioning the impact of computers in education; their usage has completely revolutionized the way education is imparted, received, communicated and processed. In the years to come, more changes are expected, changes that will further refine the field of education.

Home Education In Town For Children

What are you looking for? Primarily, it is important to recognize what you and your children need and want from a group. Are you looking for purely social session or would you like the group fulfill some of your child’s education? Will you want to involve experts from the local community to give talks and workshop? Most parents want a group that meet the need of their children, to  make learning into a fun and joyful family experience.

And here are some tips to raise a hom education in town:

Link up with others. Connect with other home educators in the area to find out if they are interested in the group that you are starting up. Start with like minded families who can provide support during the early stages. Even if it’s just one other home educating family that you regularly go on trips with, it can be a great experience for you all.

Organize yourselves. Once you have a group of interested individuals get together to talk about your plans. You can take steps to ensure that everyone’s needs and wishes for the group are heard   by using a talking stick. This can be passed around for everyone to share their views. Alternatively, ask interested parents to formulate their thoughts and needs on paper beforehand and bring them to the meeting.

Where to hold it. Home education groups are often held in community spaces such as church halls but you may want to start small and host the first sessions at someone’s house. It is important to set some ground rules, especially if meeting at a member’s house. Things such as areas that are out of bounds, noise levels and respect for one another are rules that you may like to set. When we met in the park we didn’t have a set of rules but when the weather turned colder and we found a community Centre to meet in every week, we set out some boundaries. The children we came up with these during the brainstorming session and they ranged from the sensible.

Set responsibilities. Encourage the members of your group to identify their strengths and play to them. For example, one member might be very good at making a whiz websites for education and  essay writing service and be able to set you up a website for your group. Allow each member to feel like a vital part of the functioning of the group, making for a stronger more cohesive whole.

Tips To Teach Young Children

Elementary education becomes even more important as the years go by, because everyone realizes how it sets the foundation of much more learning to follow. This puts even more pressure on elementary school teachers in their quest to succeed with each child in their class. Here we shall take a look at how elementary education has changed for both students and teachers of this age group.

Elementary education is something we have all gone through, and it is something that may have shaped our lives forever. Through the elementary school program we all began to learn more about ourselves and the world, as our horizons were extended beyond the home to take in the school environment, and from there, the world grew even more as we discovered and were taught about other cities, and other countries.

So how does elementary education shape a child’s life? When a child attends elementary school, the world of the child changes. Having depended on their parents from birth, suddenly they have someone else in their lives, their class teacher. This teacher holds the future of that child in their hands to some extent, because how the child reacts to that teacher, and vice versa, can influence the child, his or her ability to learn, and his or her love of learning.

When children attend kindergarten, their learning begins in earnest, with learning the basics like the alphabet and the number system, and the learning continues at a fast pace for most of the children. However, if there is a dislike between the child and his teacher, then this may result in the child not learning as well as he should.

Knowing as we do that education is a like a tower of building blocks, we know how important those first few blocks are. The rest of the education of each child is built on the first few years, and how the child handles learning and how to deal with mistakes really can affect him well into his future.

This means that the role of the kindergarten teacher and the first grades is so important. There has to be plenty of encouragement with all aspects of learning, and the children have to learn that mistakes are often made by most people, but they can be corrected, and can learn from them. The very basics that are taught there need to be learned thoroughly in the first grades, so that they can be built on effectively. We all know, for example, that it is important to start reading at an early age, and children who cannot read do tend to struggle in the school system where so much depends on reading and writing.

And of course the value of knowing the number system, and being able to use numbers correctly is also of great importance, since these are used more and more as the children grow older. For children to progress, they need to understand the basics, and without this, they can become a problem in the classroom as they get bored and are unable to accomplish tasks set for them.

This makes the job of the elementary school teacher extremely important, and that in turn means that the training of these teachers has to be thorough, giving student teachers the skills they need to cope with the ever changing classroom dynamics. At one time, the life of a teacher was easier, in that all the children in a class spoke the same language, but nowadays, any one classroom can have children who speak a different language at home, so not only are they having to learn to read and write in the elementary classroom, but they also have to learn another language, one that is not necessarily used at home.

For English as a second language students, the teacher has to be able to encourage their use of English at school, and somehow, find the time to give them individual attention. If any of these children struggle with any of the basics, the elementary school teacher needs to help that child as much as possible so that they do not start to fall behind the rest of the class.

The result of all of this is that the elementary teachers have a great deal of responsibility for getting their class successfully through the necessary curriculum, so that the following year, the next teacher can do the same, building on the knowledge of the previous year. Should any child fall behind, through sickness, or any other reason, then every effort has to be made by the teacher to help that child catch up and understand the lessons that have been missed.

But the life of an elementary school teacher is not all about imparting knowledge. Elementary education also involves helping children become good citizens, which requires the elementary school teacher to spend time helping students with this important aspect of education. This means that the elementary teacher has a great deal of responsibility, an enormous task, and a task that is not always appreciated by others who consider the life of a teacher to be a very easy job. A teacher’s life can be very stressful, dealing with children from widely differing backgrounds, helping them with language difficulties, and helping the parents too understand what is happening in their child’s life at school. Of course with language difficulties, this becomes even more of a challenge for the elementary teachers.

As you can see, elementary education is full of challenges, for the school teachers as well as the students, but they are challenges that are eagerly faced by teachers and students alike.

Tips to Become a Child Life Specialist

Child life is a unique field that helps connect with children at a whole new level. Here’s how to become a specialist in this field, and understand and help children who are under immense physical and emotional trauma.

A child life specialist is someone who helps a child deal with the emotional trauma associated with physical illness. As someone who works in a hospital or a health care facility, the specialist will help a child cope with the stress of undergoing surgery, or any other complicated medical procedure. She/he may also have to work to convince a child to get a blood test done. These specialists are also communicators between the family and the health care professionals involved in child care. As we take a look at how you can pursue this career, we will also help you decide whether or not this is the career for you.

Before we take a look at the educational requirements, you should know about certain personal abilities and skills you ought to possess when considering child life as a career. For one, you have to simply love children to do this job. And this doesn’t just mean loving kids’ cute qualities. It means dealing with their tantrums, their fears, and their general impatience, without losing your patience. It also involves dealing with the families of children undergoing treatment. Sometimes, you may have to watch children who are terminally ill come in, and perhaps watch them pass before your eyes. For this, you must have a strong heart. As you are one of the members of the health care team who will be closest to the child, it is likely that you will get attached to her/him. Moving on despite this attachment is absolutely essential. Certain leadership and management skills are also essential to advance to higher positions in the field. You will need to complete the following educational requirements to pursue this profession:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Training starts at the undergraduate level itself. While you may be able to come across a specific degree in few colleges, getting a degree in the field of child psychology, counseling (that includes grief counseling), family studies, child care, education, child development, or early childhood education. All these fields will help you gain a better understanding of dealing with children and their needs in the health care setting. You will also be taught appropriate professional and medical ethics during your course. In any case, choosing a degree that is as close to the field of child life is always going to be more beneficial.
  • Certificate Program in Child Life: While it is not always necessary, obtaining a masters in the field of child life or the aforementioned associated fields will definitely improve, not only your understanding of the field, but also increase your chances of employment in this field. Also, a post-baccalaureate program in child life, or a certificate program in this field is available to those who have completed their bachelor’s in the above mentioned fields. The program lasts for a year, and gaining entry to it may require you to provide your GRE scores, a statement of purpose, and several letters of recommendation. In the course of this program, you will also be give an internship opportunity that will prepare you for the real job.
  • Internship in Child Life: It is ideal that in the course of your education, or after your bachelor’s, you take up jobs that will introduce you to the field of child life and care. These jobs include volunteer programs, camps, and health care facilities. You must complete at least 480 hours of an internship, and gain clinical experience under the guidance of a certified specialist, to be able to qualify for certification in the field. Working in a hospital setting, specifically in the pediatrics department, is perhaps the best option to get you introduced to this field.
  • Certification: The next step is to apply for the child life specialist certification that is issued by the Child Life Council. It is an examination that you have to get through to be able to start practicing as a qualified professional in the field. You should also have completed 10 college level courses related to the field of child life, or in child life itself, and the appropriate internship duration, when you apply for licensure. This exam is conducted twice a year, and is a rigorous exam that tests for the best in the field. In fact, it is always a good idea to go through the exact eligibility requirements for certification, so that you follow the appropriate path in the course of your education.

A certified child life specialist’s salary, as stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is at an average of $40,000 per year. These figures will of course change based on your experience and the quality of your work. To get the best jobs and maintain them, it is important that you continue educating yourself in this field, and make yourself more aware of newer techniques to cope with the demands of this field.