Curriculum planning is the formulation of a curriculum. A curriculum refers to the subject matter that a particular group of learners ought to be taught over a given duration of time. This aspect of education encompasses the concept of growth and development. These two concepts are related but not similar as most people may portray them to be. They are crucial in curriculum planning since they have a direct effect on the process of formulating the subject matter. The purpose of this paper is to explain how developmental delays and the environment affect the learning needs of children and the importance of educators to understand typical behaviors when planning the curriculum. This paper will also address the components of a pre school curriculum that make programs effective.
Section 1–impact of developmental delays on learning needs of children
Growth refers to a general increase in the child’s physical structures such as increased height. Growth is influenced by multiplication of cells in the body. Development, on the other hand, refers to a change in the complexity of the body structures. The sequence of development in children is similar, but the rates of development differ from child to child (Allen & Marotz, 2009). Some children however, experience developmental delays. This may be attributed to environmental factors, as well as congenital factors. Genetic defects, such as Down’s syndrome and spina bifida cause developmental delays in children. This section will address the effects of delays in development on children especially in learning.
As a child develops, some milestones need to be learnt. If they do not reach, these milestones at the same time as other children of similar age, they are said to have developmental delays. Such milestones include taking a first step or sitting for the first time. Developmental delays may occur in the following areas in children: language, cognitive, fine motor, gross motor and social aspects (LeComer, 2006). If the child has, developmental delays in specific areas it will affect his or her ability to learn. Delays in cognitive function, for example, will affect the ability of the child to learn. Cognitive function refers to thinking skills such as problem solving and understanding. This forms the basis of education since it is expected for one to understand the concepts taught.
The most influential developmental delay is that concerning cognitive functions. This delay may be caused by congenital anomalies such as Down’s syndrome. Most of these anomalies are hereditary and should be anticipated by the parents of the child if there has been a previous history in the family. The effects include delayed cognitive function and physical growth. The children with this condition also have a specific set of facial features such as a flat, broad face, large tongue and small chin. Such children’s learning ability to learn will be affected. This is because they take a longer time to understand the concepts that are taught. They are admitted in special needs schools. This is because they need a lot more care and attention than the ordinary children do.
Delays in language are one of the most common developmental delays. They may be rectifiable with age if they are detected early, but in some cases, they persist until old age. Language, developmental delays may be caused by a variety of factors. Such factors include hereditary conditions such as autism. The cause of this condition is not entirely known is a controversial subject in the field of research medicine. Autism is a neurological disorder mainly characterized by impaired communication and social interaction. Symptoms should become apparent before the age of three for one to be certain that the child is suffering from autism (Benaron, 2009). This condition affects learning because the child cannot express him or herself clearly in words. They will not be able to tell their educators if they have understood the concepts or not.
Developmental delays in social skills also affect the learning of the child. Social skills include interaction with family members, teachers and friends. A child should be able to cooperate with other children and respond to the feelings of others. If a child lacks these skills, his or her learning process will be impaired. This is because the child will be excessively withdrawn. They will have minimal participation in class and will not tell their teachers what they have not understood. The relationship of the child with his or her classmates will be strained. It would not be surprising that the autistic child will not have friends. This will make them fell like outcasts and will affect their education. Such children are taken to special schools where their specific needs are met. Such schools do not follow the same curriculum as the ordinary schools.
The section addressed the effects of developmental delays in children on learning. A delay in development in children has remarkable consequences in the learning process of the child. As stated before developmental delays vary in every child. In the case of a delay in cognitive function, for example, children with Down’s syndrome, their learning ability will be dramatically slowed down. For children with autism, their language skills will be altered. This makes them require special schools where they are taught in a special way. Delays may also occur in the case of children who lack social skills. Such children require a lot of attention, as they tend to be extremely withdrawn. These factors are quite fundamental in the preparation of their curriculum. This is because the educators need to understand the needs of the children they intend to teach.
Section 2- importance of educators understanding typical behaviors in children
Educators are required to understand typical behaviors in children when planning the curriculum. Typical behavior of a child refers to the ordinary manner in which they conduct themselves on a day-to-day basis. Such behaviors pinpoint the normality of the child in question. Some atypical behaviors may develop in a child, that is, they are not to be expected. Such behaviors warrant correction from the parents. However, some behaviors cannot be corrected and are instead controlled. Educators need to understand these behaviors in order to create an appropriate curriculum for children. This section of the paper will address the reasons why the educators should consider the matter of behavior before creating the curriculum. Atypical behaviors that they should look out for include throwing tantrums, aggressiveness and self-injurious behavior (Matson & LoVullo, 2008).
In the case of children with aggressiveness, they will tend to kick, bite and hit other children unnecessarily. This will affect the victim’s learning in class as they are under constant attack from the other child. Educators should, therefore keep this in mind when creating a curriculum. This will enable them to cater for the needs of both children in question. The aggressive child will be under greater supervision while the other child will be at peace in class and will be able to concentrate during the lesson. The curriculum of the aggressive child will be developed in such a way that they will be taught how to keep their aggressive nature in check. Such knowledge in the case of the educator will enable the child in question to amend his or her behavior in order to maintain a healthy relationship with other people around.
Educators should look out for characteristics such as self-injurious behavior. This trait is quite dangerous, as it does not manifest itself as the other behaviors do. This characteristic involves behaviors that lead to inflicting harm to oneself. Such behavior entails head banging, biting and cutting oneself. This is considered the most dangerous behavioral trait because it may take a long time before the parents or educators realize it. This trait mostly is associated with children with autism. Most children depicting this behavior are often withdrawn. In the case of their education, it is affected because they never participate in class. In addition to this, their concentration levels are low. The educator’s knowledge of this enables him to create a suitable curriculum for the affected child. If the educator was to ignore this fact, the children may eventually harm themselves irreparably. The suitable curriculum will educate the child on the cons of his or her behavior as well as the effects on the family and friends.
Throwing tantrums is another example of atypical behavior in children. This behavioral trait includes crying and yelling in response to aversive stimuli for instance a change from one activity to another one. Many parents and educators often dismiss the characteristic thinking that it is one of the typical behaviors in children. There is no specific way to tell if this behavior is atypical or not and this may be why most parents dismiss it. This trait is often associated with children suffering from autism. In the case of education, such children will disturb their classmates especially during the transition from one lesson to the other. Educators should create different curriculums for such children. These curriculums will have smooth transitions from one subject to another. This technique will minimize the tantrums as well as train them on accepting change. If the educators were to omit this curriculum, the net effect will be disturbance of both the children with the problem and those without it.
The former section tackled the question of understanding typical behavior in children while planning the curriculum. This forms a basis for educators to understand what is atypical in children. Examples of atypical behaviors include self-injurious behavior, throwing tantrums and aggressiveness in the child. These characteristics should be addressed in order to help the affected children. Educators need to consider the above traits when formulating the curriculums for learning. This is because the affected children need different curriculums that will address their divergent needs. This is very important because it ensures that the needs of both parties are catered. This will enable the children to change their behaviors in order to mix well with the rest of society.
Section 3- components of a preschool curriculum
A preschool curriculum focuses on children in preschool, aged between four to six years. This section of education is crucial since it forms the educational foundation of the child. If the child does not create a firm basis for his or herself in preschool, it is likely that they will have a hard time integrating what they have learnt into the future concepts they will learn. Creating a suitable curriculum is, therefore, very crucial. Such a curriculum should include matters such as a daily routine, adult-child interaction and the classroom-learning environment.. This section will cover the components of a preschool curriculum and its importance. The preschool curriculum will encompass the teaching of the following subjects, mathematics, sensorial area, practical life, language arts and cultural activities.
The aspect of daily routine is a vital component of preschool curriculums. Daily routine refers to the activities that the children will pursue throughout the learning day. The educators provide a consistent daily routine as well as a conducive physical environment for the children. This makes the learners secure and self-reliant. In the areas of speech and language, due to the feeling of security that the child gets he, or she becomes more interactive during the lessons. Daily routine improves cognitive function of the child as well as their social skills. This is because they gain self-reliance due to the consistent environment they are in on a daily basis. Motor skills are also enhanced due to the aspect of daily routine. Self-reliance enables them to get anything without asking the teacher to get it for them.
Another component of the preschool curriculum is adult-child interaction. This refers to the relationship between the learners (who are the children) and their teachers (the adults). This is an essential aspect because this relationship determines the behavior of the child during the lessons. There should be a good, friendly relationship between them, but it should encompass respect, as well. This is to ensure that the children will learn the importance of respect especially to their elders. This relationship develops the social and cognitive skills of the child. This is because they learn how to maintain relationships with people older than they are.
The final component of the preschool curriculum is the classroom-learning environment. This refers to the aura that the classroom has that is the surroundings of the classroom. Most preschool classes have decorations of toys or cartoon characters. This helps the child relate to the environment faster and to feel comfortable, as well. The speech and language of the child is sharpened since they relate to the environment. Their social skills are also enhanced since they will discuss the various cartoon characters amongst themselves. In addition to this, their cognitive functions are developed since they will have to think in order to determine which programs contain the characters in their classroom.
The section above delved into the matter of the components of the preschool curriculum. This is a key aspect in curriculum planning as it provides the educational basis for the learner. This is because preschool prepares the learner for the subsequent levels in education. This paper addressed the issue of components of a preschool curriculum and the importance of educators to understand typical behaviors in children. The paper also addressed the impact of developmental delays on the learning needs of the children. Education is one of the most important rights to a child and the people creating the curriculum should take their time in order to address all the requirements of the learners.
Allen, E. K., & Marotz, R. L. (2009). Development profiles: Pre-birth through twelve. New York, NY: Cengage Learning
Benaron, L. D. (2009). Autism. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.
LeComer, L. (2006). A parent’s guide to developmental delays: Recognizing and coping with missed milestones in speech, movement, learning, and other areas. New York: Perigee.
Matson, J., & LoVullo, S. (January 01, 2008). A Review of Behavioral Treatments for Self–Injurious Behaviors of Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Behavior Modification, 32, 1, 61-76.