Kindergarten today is not like it used to be – a place characterized by engagement with social skills and exploring through play. Over the past twenty years Kindergarten has become much more concentrated on academics as a result of federal, state, and local policies as well as parental concerns that emphasize acquisition of basic skills and passing standardized tests. In fact, there’s research that supports the idea that . In response, preschools have become more academic, especially promoting early reading and math skills. Children now know more than they ever have at this age about these subjects.
Top 20 Principles
It’s the first day of class and Marie is a brand new teacher. She has just finished her professional degree and has had some experience as an assistant teacher, but this is her first time being the head teacher in an early childhood setting and being fully responsible for the children in her care. During her training she learned about developmentally appropriate practices and working with families and children from diverse backgrounds, but nevertheless she feels overwhelmed and underprepared to deal with the day-to-day challenges of being an early childhood educator. Marie is expected to provide a high-quality experience for her children but her own anxiety and stress is getting in the way of her ability to provide the children in her classroom with a nurturing and positive educational environment. Her anxiety sometimes spills over into her interactions with other teachers and parents which in turn affects the behavior and learning of the children under her care.
Social and emotional learning as a field of inquiry has gained tremendous momentum in academic research over the past decade. School leaders, looking for theoretical constructs to build successful school communities, find the pro-social data that supports social and emotional learning (SEL) in the classroom hard to ignore.
Teachers are exposed to a constant barrage of methodologies that promise to improve both instructional strategies and student learning through institute days, team meetings, seminars and the media. While some of this information is helpful, some of the suggestions have little or no empirical data to support their effectiveness. The Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education (CPSE), a group of psychologists and psychology teachers within APA, recently announced the publication of the “Top 20 Principles from Psychology for pre-K to 12 Teaching and Learning.” The Top 20 document was created by psychologists representing a wide range of divisions, including those focused on education, school, developmental, social, cognitive, psychometrics, media, counseling and clinical psychology. Each of the contributors has some expertise in the application of psychological science to early childhood, elementary, secondary, gifted or special education; social/emotional learning; or school climate.