Characteristics of an Early Childhood Programme

An ideal early childhood programme, is where children are viewed as strong, competent, energetic, and fearless beings; who are full of potential. The programme should cultivate independence and social competence, while assisting young children in building independence, and a social identity. They should also be able to identify special needs at an early stage.

An ideal early childhood programme would adopt the following principles of learning:

  1. Multi – sensorial learning
    Where children learn through their five senses
  2. Self – esteem influenced learning
    Where children’s work are acknowledged and recognized for the effort.
  3. Language
    Thinking and talking helps children make sense of their experiences.
  4. Motivation
  5. Self – discovery
    Provide opportunities for children to find answers themselves.
  6. Experience sucess
    Each individual child must be able to experience success measured against their own ability level.
  7. Self-critical
    Children must be able to evaluate their own work.
  8. Co – operation
    Learning from one another, and refining their language skills and thinking skills.
  9. Learning styles
    Everyone has different learning styles.

On the whole, learning should be influenced by the quality of the relationship of the teacher with the children.

1) Positive relationships
Children are most sensitive to their surrounding environment and people, as compared to adults. They feel secure in the environment where adults have a positive relationship. Relationships are promoted through sharing of information.

  • Provide information in a manner than would encourage parents’ to respond.
  • Seek out, share, and use someone elses’ ideas, acknowledge their idea.
  • Children that talk with adults develop language more quickly and fluently. It also helps them widen their vocabulary content.

Be genuine, warm, and understanding.
Respect parents and teachers.

2) Child as the focus
Children should be the central to the planning, evaluating, and carrying out of the programmes.

  • What the child brings to the programme, according to their experiences, abilities and history.
  • Focus on the child to be actively engaged (thinking, planning & communicating)

Children need to experience, to get a depth of knowledge. Experience is gained through application of their learning and understanding process.

3) Content in a curriculum
Integrated inclusive curriculum

  • Where no child is left out
  • One that which encourages knowledge, skills, and attributes
  • Knowledge is constructed through an integrated curriculum

Documentation of each child’s learning experience

  • Reflect and discuss with the children
  • Get them to think, explain, and communicate.

Inclusive education

  • Have materials that are culturally diverse and non – crititcal.

Active family participation

  • Shows the child that the child is valued as part of his or her family, and the preschool values that and accept them.
  • That we acknowledge the background, and family the child is from.
  • Eases transistion from home to school.
  • Parents have more information of the child to contribute.
  • Supports the continuaity of learning, if the family knows of the on – going in your preschool, they would be able to support it outside the preschool hours.

Be fair and just with the way you work with children.

  • Do not exclude any child, be very mindful of social pressures (girls, disabilities, poverty, non-english speaking, children with learning disabilities)

Well-planned environment

  • Safe environment
  • Strategic placement of many resources and materials so that children would be able to access themselves
  • Materials that stimulate all 5 senses
  • Arrangement of indoor and outdoor equipment should be flexible, so that children and teachers can shift them around to suit their current needs.
  • Quiet area
  • Personal spaces for each and every child
  • Area for adults to sit comfortably

Real – life experiences

  • 1st hand experiences, in real situations with real materials, are always far more appropriate than substitution.
  • Visit places and meet people
  • Provide opportunities for children to learn by experiences, observing and trying things out themselves.

Active child participation within safe boundaries

  • Include the child in the planning of making decisions about the environment. Display original work the child has done.
  • Always ensure that there are a huge selection of materials for the child. (crayons, pencils, glue, etc… all re – filled and sharpened)
  • Allow children to make authentic choices, by working over a period of time. Let them be responsibly for their ownselves by doing things themselves.

Play is vital in children’s learning experiences, we should support play by providing adequate time, space, and materials. Children should be allowed to make choices of group play, or playing alone.


  • Encompass all areas of development
  • Balance of daily experiences
  • Variety of complexity, allow children to at times relax and kick back.

Ample choice
Children make choices, even if they wish to participate or not.

Programmes should be stable, but allow flexibility

Extend child’s knowledge, understanding and enjoyment.

Recognize what the children have, and challenge that.

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