Emerging Trends in Early Childhood Education

trends in early childhood education

There are many different trends in early childhood education. These trends have come up recently. Here are these emerging trends explained in detail.

A new focus on phonics in literacy instruction

A girl smiling for the camera

Today, more focus is put upon explicit, systematic phonics in literacy instruction. In the past two years, more experts and more literacy-focused community groups are acknowledging that big publishing companies have been promoting inadequate curriculum. One of the reasons for the trend toward phonics instruction is the reporting of Emily Hanford. 

How does it affect early childhood education?

A baby sitting in front of a laptop computer

The trouble begins in universities not teaching teachers to understand phonics instruction. Often, student teachers do not adequately understand how words work, themselves. When they secure their jobs, these young teachers rely on district-purchased curriculum to guide them, but far too often those materials use debunked methods that leave far too many readers behind. Since learning to read is connected to success in school and in most of life thereafter—changing this paradigm is a high priority for ECE experts. 

Educating with nature

Scandinavian approaches like the ‘Forest Schools’ movement are starting to have an impact in North American ECE settings.  It’s no wonder. Who wouldn’t be interested in trying to bring some of that light, greenery and fresh air into a school day. This trend is more than a surface appreciation of nature. These sorts of spaces are great sandpits for development—children learn about natural environments, develop fine and gross motor skills, and build a connection to their local ecosystem.

How does it affect early childhood education?

While Forest Schools themselves are becoming more popular—the natural space they require is out of reach for many schools. But the trend of teaching through nature could also show up in other ways, such as teachers making a conscious effort in incorporate natural elements into the classroom or dedicating time for outdoor exploration and play.

Closing the achievement gap under ESSA

The achievement gap refers to the differences in academic achievement of different social and economic groups. This is measured through a variety of metrics, including grade point averages, standardized test scores, dropout rates, college enrollment and college graduation metrics. The gap is measured between low-income and high-income households, white and minority students, males and females, students whose first language is English and students for whom English is a second (or third) language, among other factors.

How does it affect early childhood education?

Assessment of student learning is a crucial element of a successful education, as it can help educators identify learning needs early on. But it is also one of the primary metrics schools have to determine if they are succeeding with their young learners. Early education centers with disadvantaged students—such as children from low-income families, foster children or children who are learning English as a second language—may gain more funding from the state when they can prove academic progress with these students is closing the achievement gap.

Technology in child development

Technology is an ongoing trend in ECE—as it is in pretty much every industry. It’s a constant balance for ECE experts to decide how to teach with technology, while also teaching digital resilience as they know children are likely to interact with devices at home. Like it or not, technology and device usage by young children is a fact of life for large number of children. Children are owning devices and using the internet at a young age—and are spending much more time in front of small screens.

How does it affect early childhood education?

Discovering resources that meet the needs of students can greatly enrich the current material they are learning. Even with the proven effectiveness of technology in the classroom, educators are left with a few questions: What role should technology play in our classrooms? What should we teach our students about using technology?

These are some emerging trends in early childhood education.

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