Essay on Early Childhood Education

11470 Words Apr 3rd, 2014 46 Pages
Early Childhood Research Quarterly 19 (2004) 375–397

The early childhood classroom observation measure
Deborah Stipek∗ , Patricia Byler
School of Education, Stanford University, 485 Lasuen Mall, Stanford, CA 94305-3096, USA

Abstract This study assesses a new measure of early childhood classroom practice in 127 kindergarten- and first-grade classrooms. The measure was designed to be appropriate for classrooms serving children from the age of 4–7 years. It assesses the nature and quality of instruction as well as the social climate and management of the classroom. Two separate scales assess the degree to which constructivist, child-centered and the degree to which didactic, teachercentered instructional practices are implemented.
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0885-2006/$ – see front matter © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2004.07.007


D. Stipek, P. Byler / Early Childhood Research Quarterly 19 (2004) 375–397

Although achievement test results are not usually monitored for children below the second grade, pressure to ensure success on achievement tests is being pushed down to the earlier grades and even to preschool. The increased emphasis on young children’s academic achievement is evident, for example, in the current House version of the Head Start reauthorization (H.R. 2210), which makes children’s prereading, premath, and language skills a priority. Federal efforts to improve academic achievement of disadvantaged children have a long history, but substantial interest in reading and mathematics instruction in preschool and kindergarten is new. Traditionally kindergarten has focused more on social- and schoolreadiness skills, and although preschool programs like Head Start have had a cognitive component, reading and math skills have not been a priority. Instruction – defined here as purposeful efforts to improve students’ academic skills in subject areas such as reading, math and science – has heretofore not been emphasized in early childhood education. Indeed, until recently, many early childhood experts warned against emphasizing academic skills, partly out of

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