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The Rigid Curriculum Of Early Childhood Educators

885 words - 4 pages

Our current education policy with its extreme focus on standardized testing has single handedly pushed an academic curriculum down into the kindergarten level and violating young children’s right to be children. The majority of kindergarten children today are spending more of their time in teacher directed activities, especially in literacy and math, and a minimal time for activities of their own choice. Teachers are being pressured to follow a prescriptive curriculum that is aligned with standardized test and the heavily didactic instruction is pushing exploratory play out of kindergarten. The notion that play is just a waste of time is compounded by the general assumption that the earlier students begin to grasp the basic elements of reading, such as letter recognition, phonemic awareness and blending , the more likely they will be successful in school. However, findings from many studies and research have proven just the opposite; expert believes that academic pressure in kindergarten contributes to failure, retention, and behavior problems.
Young children by nature are explorer beings and their exploratory play leads to discovery learning that promotes motivation, autonomy, independence and the development of creativity for problem solving skills. Early childhood educators are concerned that a young child’s enquiring mind might be hampered by a curriculum that is rigidly linked to standardized test, and that the learning process experienced by students will be compromised. According to Bruner (1977), learning should serve us in the future and that the knowledge students learned should create skills that can be transfer to later activities.
As it stands right now, the prescriptive curriculum will take students to a place where they need to be in order for them to pass the grade, however the critical thinking process that will enable them to transfer the learned skills for future application will be severely impeded. In this rigid environment the learning process of very young children is being unjustly oppressed and their right to take pleasure in the joy of learning is taken away. The prescribed curriculum is oppressive and its content is decided by the powerful people who never set foot in a public school’s classroom. They dictate what is learned in school and inevitably society internalized it as that which is valuable to learn. Freire stated (1993), that one of the vital element of the connection between oppressor and oppressed is prescription. The law makers argued that standardized testing represents an ideology of equality in that all students are set the same tasks, learning the same things, within the same framework, therefore leveling the playing field for everyone. However, the narrowed curriculum does not give children a chance to think about their...

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