ECE 624 Ashford Univeristy Looking Ahead Becoming a Whole Teacher Worksheet

In order to effectively piece together what we know about child development and developmentally appropriate practices and how both work together to help us become effective teachers, we must first develop a plan to help us meet our goal of becoming a Whole Teacher. The first discussion of this course is designed to help you map out that plan.

Initial Post: To complete the Whole Teacher matrix, include each of the following components:

Column 1: Choose eight tips from the “Tips for Teachers” provided in figure 1.1, page 9 of your course text. The tips you choose should hold meaning to you and in your work with children.Column 2: Reflect on ways in which you can uphold the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct (Links to an external site.) for each teaching tip. You are required to reference and cite from the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct for each section of this column. Column 3: Explain specific strategies you can utilize to incorporate social justice into each of the teaching tips you chose in the first column. To help you organize your thoughts for this column, review the article, “Embracing a Vision of Social Justice in Early Childhood Education (Links to an external site.).”Column 4: Organize the five suggested priorities from Chapter 16 of the course text with each of the teaching tips you chose that they correlate with. Note that some priorities will fit into more than one category.Summation: In a paragraph, summarize how you will use this matrix to develop your philosophy of education statement and why it is important to have a well-written philosophy of education statement. Please refer to the instructor guidance for tips for completing this section of your discussion. POSITION STATEMENT
Code of Ethical Conduct
and Statement of Commitment
Revised April 2005,
Reaffirmed and Updated May 2011
A position statement of the National Association for the Education of Young Children
Endorsed by the Association for Childhood Education International and
Southern Early Childhood Association
Adopted by the National Association for Family Child Care
NAEYC recognizes that those who work with young
children face many daily decisions that have moral and
ethical implications. The NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct
offers guidelines for responsible behavior and sets forth a
common basis for resolving the principal ethical dilemmas
encountered in early childhood care and education. The
Statement of Commitment is not part of the Code but is a
personal acknowledgement of an individual’s willingness to
embrace the distinctive values and moral obligations of the
field of early childhood care and education.
   The primary focus of the Code is on daily practice with
children and their families in programs for children from birth
through 8 years of age, such as infant/toddler programs,
preschool and prekindergarten programs, child care centers,
hospital and child life settings, family child care homes,
kindergartens, and primary classrooms. When the issues
involve young children, then these provisions also apply to
specialists who do not work directly with children, including
program administrators, parent educators, early childhood
adult educators, and officials with responsibility for program
monitoring and licensing. (Note: See also the “Code of Ethical Conduct: Supplement for Early Childhood Adult Educators,” online at
pdf. and the “Code of Ethical Conduct: Supplement for Early
Childhood Program Administrators,” online at http://www.
Core values
Standards of ethical behavior in early childhood care
and education are based on commitment to the following core values that are deeply rooted in the history of
the field of early childhood care and education. We have
made a commitment to
• Appreciate childhood as a unique and valuable stage of
the human life cycle
• Base our work on knowledge of how children develop
and learn
• Appreciate and support the bond between the child
and family
• Recognize that children are best understood and supported in the context of family, culture,* community, and
• Respect the dignity, worth, and uniqueness of each
individual (child, family member, and colleague)
• Respect diversity in children, families, and colleagues
• Recognize that children and adults achieve their full
potential in the context of relationships that are based
on trust and respect
* The term culture includes ethnicity, racial identity, economic
level, family structure, language, and religious and political beliefs,
which profoundly influence each child’s development and relationship to the world.
Copyright © 2011 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct
Conceptual framework
The Code sets forth a framework of professional responsibilities in four sections. Each section addresses an area
of professional relationships: (1) with children, (2) with
families, (3) among colleagues, and (4) with the community and society. Each section includes an introduction
to the primary responsibilities of the early childhood
practitioner in that context. The introduction is followed
by a set of ideals (I) that reflect exemplary professional
practice and by a set of principles (P) describing practices that are required, prohibited, or permitted.
The ideals reflect the aspirations of practitioners.
The principles guide conduct and assist practitioners in
resolving ethical dilemmas.* Both ideals and principles
are intended to direct practitioners to those questions
which, when responsibly answered, can provide the
basis for conscientious decision making. While the Code
provides specific direction for addressing some ethical
dilemmas, many others will require the practitioner to
combine the guidance of the Code with professional
The ideals and principles in this Code present a
shared framework of professional responsibility that
affirms our commitment to the core values of our field.
The Code publicly acknowledges the responsibilities
that we in the field have assumed, and in so doing supports ethical behavior in our work. Practitioners who
face situations with ethical dimensions are urged to seek
guidance in the applicable parts of this Code and in the
spirit that informs the whole.
Often “the right answer”—the best ethical course of
action to take—is not obvious. There may be no readily
apparent, positive way to handle a situation. When one
important value contradicts another, we face an ethical
dilemma. When we face a dilemma, it is our professional
responsibility to consult the Code and all relevant parties to find the most ethical resolution.
Section I
Ethical Responsibilities to Children
Childhood is a unique and valuable stage in the human
life cycle. Our paramount responsibility is to provide
care and education in settings that are safe, healthy,
nurturing, and responsive for each child. We are commit-
Revised May 2011
ted to supporting children’s development and learning;
respecting individual differences; and helping children
learn to live, play, and work cooperatively. We are also
committed to promoting children’s self-awareness, competence, self-worth, resiliency, and physical well-being.
I-1.1—To be familiar with the knowledge base of early
childhood care and education and to stay informed
through continuing education and training.
I-1.2—To base program practices upon current knowledge and research in the field of early childhood education, child development, and related disciplines, as well
as on particular knowledge of each child.
I-1.3—To recognize and respect the unique qualities,
abilities, and potential of each child.
I-1.4—To appreciate the vulnerability of children and
their dependence on adults.
I-1.5—To create and maintain safe and healthy settings
that foster children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and
physical development and that respect their dignity
and their contributions.
I-1.6—To use assessment instruments and strategies
that are appropriate for the children to be assessed,
that are used only for the purposes for which they
were designed, and that have the potential to benefit
I-1.7—To use assessment information to understand
and support children’s development and learning, to
support instruction, and to identify children who may
need additional services.
I-1.8—To support the right of each child to play and
learn in an inclusive environment that meets the needs
of children with and without disabilities.
I-1.9—To advocate for and ensure that all children,
including those with special needs, have access to the
support services needed to be successful.
I-1.10—To ensure that each child’s culture, language,
ethnicity, and family structure are recognized and valued in the program.
I-1.11—To provide all children with experiences in a
language that they know, as well as support children
in maintaining the use of their home language and in
learning English.
I-1.12—To work with families to provide a safe and
smooth transition as children and families move from
one program to the next.
* There is not necessarily a corresponding principle for each ideal.
Copyright © 2011 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct
P-1.1—Above all, we shall not harm children. We shall
not participate in practices that are emotionally damaging, physically harmful, disrespectful, degrading,
dangerous, exploitative, or intimidating to children.
This principle has precedence over all others in
this Code.
P-1.2—We shall care for and educate children in positive
emotional and social environments that are cognitively
stimulating and that support each child’s culture, language, ethnicity, and family structure.
P-1.3—We shall not participate in practices that discriminate against children by denying benefits, giving special
advantages, or excluding them from programs or
activities on the basis of their sex, race, national origin,
immigration status, preferred home language, religious
beliefs, medical condition, disability, or the marital
status/family structure, sexual orientation, or religious
beliefs or other affiliations of their families. (Aspects of
this principle do not apply in programs that have a lawful mandate to provide services to a particular population of children.)
P-1.4—We shall use two-way communications to involve
all those with relevant knowledge (including families
and staff) in decisions concerning a child, as appropriate, ensuring confidentiality of sensitive information.
(See also P-2.4.)
P-1.5—We shall use appropriate assessment systems,
which include multiple sources of information, to
provide information on children’s learning and development.
P-1.6—We shall strive to ensure that decisions such as
those related to enrollment, retention, or assignment
to special education services, will be based on multiple sources of information and will never be based
on a single assessment, such as a test score or a single
P-1.7—We shall strive to build individual relationships
with each child; make individualized adaptations in
teaching strategies, learning environments, and curricula; and consult with the family so that each child
benefits from the program. If after such efforts have
been exhausted, the current placement does not meet
a child’s needs, or the child is seriously jeopardizing
the ability of other children to benefit from the program, we shall collaborate with the child’s family and
appropriate specialists to determine the additional
services needed and/or the placement option(s) most
likely to ensure the child’s success. (Aspects of this
Revised May 2011
principle may not apply in programs that have a lawful
mandate to provide services to a particular population
of children.)
P-1.8—We shall be familiar with the risk factors for and
symptoms of child abuse and neglect, including physical, sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse and physical,
emotional, educational, and medical neglect. We shall
know and follow state laws and community procedures
that protect children against abuse and neglect.
P-1.9—When we have reasonable cause to suspect child
abuse or neglect, we shall report it to the appropriate community agency and follow up to ensure that
appropriate action has been taken. When appropriate,
parents or guardians will be informed that the referral
will be or has been made.
P-1.10—When another person tells us of his or her
suspicion that a child is being abused or neglected, we
shall assist that person in taking appropriate action in
order to protect the child.
P-1.11—When we become aware of a practice or situation that endangers the health, safety, or well-being of
children, we have an ethical responsibility to protect
children or inform parents and/or others who can.
Section II
Ethical Responsibilities to Families
Families* are of primary importance in children’s development. Because the family and the early childhood
practitioner have a common interest in the child’s wellbeing, we acknowledge a primary responsibility to bring
about communication, cooperation, and collaboration
between the home and early childhood program in ways
that enhance the child’s development.
I-2.1—To be familiar with the knowledge base related to
working effectively with families and to stay informed
through continuing education and training.
I-2.2—To develop relationships of mutual trust and create partnerships with the families we serve.
I-2.3—To welcome all family members and encourage
them to participate in the program, including involvement in shared decision making.
* The term family may include those adults, besides parents, with
the responsibility of being involved in educating, nurturing, and
advocating for the child.
Copyright © 2011 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct
I-2.4—To listen to families, acknowledge and build upon
their strengths and competencies, and learn from
families as we support them in their task of nurturing
I-2.5—To respect the dignity and preferences of each
family and to make an effort to learn about its structure, culture, language, customs, and beliefs to ensure
a culturally consistent environment for all children and
I-2.6—To acknowledge families’ childrearing values and
their right to make decisions for their children.
I-2.7—To share information about each child’s education and development with families and to help them
understand and appreciate the current knowledge base
of the early childhood profession.
I-2.8—To help family members enhance their understanding of their children, as staff are enhancing their
understanding of each child through communications
with families, and support family members in the continuing development of their skills as parents.
I-2.9—To foster families’ efforts to build support networks and, when needed, participate in building
networks for families by providing them with opportunities to interact with program staff, other families,
community resources, and professional services.
P-2.1—We shall not deny family members access to their
child’s classroom or program setting unless access is
denied by court order or other legal restriction.
P-2.2—We shall inform families of program philosophy,
policies, curriculum, assessment system, cultural practices, and personnel qualifications, and explain why we
teach as we do—which should be in accordance with
our ethical responsibilities to children (see Section I).
P-2.3—We shall inform families of and, when appropriate, involve them in policy decisions. (See also I-2.3.)
P-2.4—We shall ensure that the family is involved in significant decisions affecting their child. (See also P-1.4.)
P-2.5—We shall make every effort to communicate effectively with all families in a language that they understand. We shall use community resources for translation and interpretation when we do not have sufficient
resources in our own programs.
P-2.6—As families share information with us about their
children and families, we shall ensure that families’ input
is an important contribution to the planning and implementation of the program.
Revised May 2011
P-2-7—We shall inform families about the nature and
purpose of the program’s child assessments and how
data about their child will be used.
P-2.8—We shall treat child assessment information confidentially and share this information only when there
is a legitimate need for it.
P-2.9—We shall inform the family of injuries and incidents involving their child, of risks such as exposures
to communicable diseases that might result in infection, and of occurrences that might result in emotional
P-2.10—Families shall be fully informed of any proposed
research projects involving their children and shall
have the opportunity to give or withhold consent
without penalty. We shall not permit or participate in
research that could in any way hinder the education,
development, or well-being of children.
P-2.11—We shall not engage in or support exploitation
of families. We shall not use our relationship with a
family for private advantage or personal gain, or enter
into relationships with family members that might impair our effectiveness working with their children.
P-2.12—We shall develop written policies for the protection of confidentiality and the disclosure of children’s
records. These policy documents shall be made available to all program personnel and families. Disclosure
of children’s records beyond family members, program
personnel, and consultants having an obligation of
confidentiality shall require familial consent (except in
cases of abuse or neglect).
P-2.13—We shall maintain confidentiality and shall respect the family’s right to privacy, refraining from disclosure of confidential information and intrusion into
family life. However, when we have reason to believe
that a child’s welfare is at risk, it is permissible to share
confidential information with agencies, as well as with
individuals who have legal responsibility for intervening in the child’s interest.
P-2.14—In cases where family members are in conflict
with one another, we shall work openly, sharing our
observations of the child, to help all parties involved
make informed decisions. We shall refrain from becoming an advocate for one party.
P-2.15—We shall be familiar with and appropriately refer
families to community resources and professional support services. After a referral has been made, we shall
follow up to ensure that services have been appropriately provided.
Copyright © 2011 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct
Section III
Ethical Responsibilities to Colleagues
In a caring, cooperative workplace, human dignity is respected, professional satisfaction is promoted, and positive relationships are developed and sustained. Based
upon our core values, our primary responsibility to
colleagues is to establish and maintain settings and relationships that support productive work and meet professional needs. The same ideals that apply to children also
apply as we interact with adults in the workplace. (Note:
Section III includes responsibilities to co-workers and to
employers. See the “Code of Ethical Conduct: Supplement for Early Childhood Program Administrators” for
responsibilities to personnel (employees in the original
2005 Code revision), online at
A—Responsibilities to co-workers
I-3A.1—To establish and maintain relationships of respect, trust, confidentiality, collaboration, and cooperation with co-workers.
I-3A.2—To share resources with co-workers, collaborating to ensure that the best possible early childhood
care and education program is provided.
I-3A.3—To support co-workers in meeting their professional needs and in their professional development.
I-3A.4—To accord co-workers due recognition of professional achievement.
P-3A.1—We shall recognize the contributions of colleagues to our program and not participate in practices
that diminish their reputations or impair their effectiveness in working with children and families.
P-3A.2—When we have concerns about the professional
behavior of a co-worker, we shall first let that person
know of our concern in a way that shows respect for
personal dignity and for the diversity to be found
among staff members, and then attempt to resolve the
matter collegially and in a confidential manner.
Revised May 2011
P-3A.3—We shall exercise care in expressing views
regarding the personal attributes or professional
conduct of co-workers. Statements should be based on
firsthand knowledge, not hearsay, and relevant to the
interests of children and programs.
P-3A.4—We shall not participate in practices that discriminate against a co-worker because of sex, race, national origin, religious beliefs or other affiliations, age,
marital status/family structure, disability, or sexual
B—Responsibilities to employers
I-3B.1—To assist the program in providing the highest
quality of service.
I-3B.2—To do nothing that diminishes the reputation
of the program in which we work unless it is violating
laws and regulations designed to protect children or is
violating the provisions of this Code.
P-3B.1—We shall follow all program policies. When we
do not agree with program policies, we shall attempt
to effect change through constructive action within the
P-3B.2—We shall speak or act on behalf of an organization only when authorized. We shall take care to acknowledge when we are speaking for the organization
and when we are expressing a personal judgment.
P-3B.3—We shall not violate laws or regulations designed to protect children and shall take appropriate
action consistent with this Code when aware of such
P-3B.4—If we have concerns about a colleague’s behavior, and children’s well-being is not at risk, we may
address the concern with that individual. If children
are at risk or the situation does not improve after it has
been brought to the colleague’s attention, we shall report the colleague’s unethical or incompetent behavior
to an appropriate authority.
P-3B.5—When we have a concern about circumstances
or conditions that impact the quality of care and
education within the program, we shall inform the
program’s administration or, when necessary, other
appropriate authorities.
Copyright © 2011 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct
Section IV
Ethical Responsibilities to Community
and Society
Early childhood programs operate within the context
of their immediate community made up of families and
other institutions concerned with children’s welfare.
Our responsibilities to the community are to provide
programs that meet the diverse needs of families, to
cooperate with agencies and professions that share the
responsibility for children, to assist families in gaining
access to those agencies and allied professionals, and to
assist in the development of community programs that
are needed but not currently available.
As individuals, we acknowledge our responsibility to
provide the best possible programs of care and education for children and to conduct ourselves with honesty
and integrity. Because of our specialized expertise
in early childhood development and education and
because the larger society shares responsibility for the
welfare and protection of young children, we acknowledge a collective obligation to advocate for the best
interests of children within early childhood programs
and in the larger community and to serve as a voice for
young children everywhere.
The ideals and principles in this section are presented
to distinguish between those that pertain to the work of
the individual early childhood educator and those that
more typically are engaged in collectively on behalf of
the best interests of children—with the understanding
that individual early childhood educators have a shared
responsibility for addressing the ideals and principles
that are identified as “collective.”
Ideal (Individual)
1-4.1—To provide the community with high-quality early
childhood care and education programs and services.
Ideals (Collective)
I-4.2—To promote cooperation among professionals and
agencies and interdisciplinary collaboration among
professions concerned with addressing issues in the
health, education, and well-being of young children,
their families, and their early childhood educators.
Revised May 2011
I-4.3—To work through education, research, and advocacy toward an environmentally safe world in which
all children receive health care, food, and shelter; are
nurtured; and live free from violence in their home and
their communities.
I-4.4—To work through education, research, and advocacy toward a society in which all young children
have access to high-quality early care and education
I-4.5—To work to ensure that appropriate assessment
systems, which include multiple sources of information, are used for purposes that benefit children.
I-4.6—To promote knowledge and understanding of
young children and their needs. To work toward
greater societal acknowledgment of children’s rights
and greater social acceptance of responsibility for the
well-being of all children.
I-4.7—To support policies and laws that promote the
well-being of children and families, and to work to
change those that impair their well-being. To participate in developing policies and laws that are needed,
and to cooperate with families and other individuals
and groups in these efforts.
I-4.8—To further the professional development of the
field of early childhood care and education and to
strengthen its commitment to realizing its core values
as reflected in this Code.
Principles (Individual)
P-4.1—We shall communicate openly and truthfully
about the nature and extent of services that we provide.
P-4.2—We shall apply for, accept, and work in positions
for which we are personally well-suited and professionally qualified. We shall not offer services that we do not
have the competence, qualifications, or resources to
P-4.3—We shall carefully check references and shall not
hire or recommend for employment any person whose
competence, qualifications, or character makes him or
her unsuited for the position.
P-4.4—We shall be objective and accurate in reporting the knowledge upon which we base our program
P-4.5—We shall be knowledgeable about the appropriate use of assessment strategies and instruments and
interpret results accurately to families.
Copyright © 2011 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct
P-4.6—We shall be familiar with laws and regulations
that serve to protect the children in our programs and
be vigilant in ensuring that these laws and regulations
are followed.
P-4.7—When we become aware of a practice or situation that endangers the health, safety, or well-being of
children, we have an ethical responsibility to protect
children or inform parents and/or others who can.
P-4.8—We shall not participate in practices that are in
violation of laws and regulations that protect the children in our programs.
P-4.9—When we have evidence that an early childhood
program is violating laws or regulations protecting
children, we shall report the violation to appropriate authorities who can be expected to remedy the situation.
P-4.10—When a program violates or requires its employees to violate this Code, it is permissible, after fair
assessment of the evidence, to disclose the identity of
that program.
Revised May 2011
Principles (Collective)
P-4.11—When policies are enacted for purposes that do
not benefit children, we have a collective responsibility
to work to change these policies.
P-4-12—When we have evidence that an agency that
provides services intended to ensure children’s wellbeing is failing to meet its obligations, we acknowledge
a collective ethical responsibility to report the problem
to appropriate authorities or to the public. We shall be
vigilant in our follow-up until the situation is resolved.
P-4.13—When a child protection agency fails to provide
adequate protection for abused or neglected children,
we acknowledge a collective ethical responsibility to
work toward the improvement of these services.
Copyright © 2011 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct
Revised May 2011
Glossary of Terms Related to Ethics
Code of Ethics­. Defines the core values of the field and
provides guidance for what professionals should
do when they encounter conflicting obligations or
responsibilities in their work.­­
Values­­. Qualities or principles that individuals believe
to be desirable or worthwhile and that they prize for
themselves, for others, and for the world in which
they live.­­
Core Values­. Commitments held by a profession that
are consciously and knowingly embraced by its
practitioners because they make a contribution to
society. There is a difference between personal values and the core values of a profession.­­
Morality­­. Peoples’ views of what is good, right, and
proper; their beliefs about their obligations; and
their ideas about how they should behave.­­
Ethics­­. The study of right and wrong, or duty and
obligation, that involves critical reflection on morality and the ability to make choices between values
and the examination of the moral dimensions of
Professional Ethics­­. The moral commitments of a
profession that involve moral reflection that extends
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a nonprofit corporation, tax exempt under
Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, dedicated to
acting on behalf of the needs and interests of young children.
The NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct (Code) has been developed in furtherance of NAEYC’s nonprofit and tax exempt
purposes. The information contained in the Code is intended
to provide early childhood educators with guidelines for working with children from birth through age 8.
An individual’s or program’s use, reference to, or review
of the Code does not guarantee compliance with NAEYC
Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Performance Criteria and program accreditation procedures. It is
recommended that the Code be used as guidance in connection with implementation of the NAEYC Program Standards,
but such use is not a substitute for diligent review and application of the NAEYC Program Standards.­­
NAEYC has taken reasonable measures to develop the
Code in a fair, reasonable, open, unbiased, and objective
manner, based on currently available data. However, further
and enhances the personal morality practitioners
bring to their work, that concern actions of right and
wrong in the workplace, and that help individuals resolve moral dilemmas they encounter in their work.­­
Ethical Responsibilities­­. Behaviors that one must
or must not engage in. Ethical responsibilities are
clear-cut and are spelled out in the Code of Ethical
Conduct (for example, early childhood educators
should never share confidential information about a
child or family with a person who has no legitimate
need for knowing).­­
Ethical Dilemma­. A moral conflict that involves
determining appropriate conduct when an individual faces conflicting professional values and
Sources for glossary terms and definitions
Feeney, S., & N. Freeman. 2005. Ethics and the early childhood
educator: Using the NAEYC code. Washington, DC: NAEYC.
Kidder, R.M. 1995. How good people make tough choices: Resolving the dilemmas of ethical living. New York: Fireside.
Kipnis, K. 1987. How to discuss professional ethics. Young Children 42 (4): 26–30.
research or developments may change the current state
of knowledge. Neither NAEYC nor its officers, directors,
members, employees, or agents will be liable for any loss,
damage, or claim with respect to any liabilities, including
direct, special, indirect, or consequential damages incurred
in connection with the Code or reliance on the information
NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct­­
2005 Revisions Workgroup
Mary Ambery­, Ruth Ann Ball, James Clay, Julie Olsen
Edwards, Harriet Egertson, Anthony Fair, Stephanie
Feeney, Jana Fleming, Nancy Freeman, Marla Israel,
Allison McKinnon, Evelyn Wright Moore, Eva Moravcik,
Christina Lopez Morgan, Sarah Mulligan, Nila Rinehart,
Betty Holston Smith, and Peter Pizzolongo, NAEYC Staff­­
Copyright © 2011 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct
Revised May 2011
­Statement of Commitment*
­ s an individual who works with young children, I commit myself to furthering the
values of early childhood education as they are reflected in the ideals and principles of the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct. To the best of my ability I will
• Never harm children.
• Ensure that programs for young children are based on current knowledge and
research of child development and early childhood education.
• Respect and support families in their task of nurturing children.
• Respect colleagues in early childhood care and education and support them in
maintaining the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct.
• Serve as an advocate for children, their families, and their teachers in community
and society.
• Stay informed of and maintain high standards of professional conduct.
• Engage in an ongoing process of self-reflection, realizing that personal characteristics, biases, and beliefs have an impact on children and families.
• Be open to new ideas and be willing to learn from the suggestions of others.
• Continue to learn, grow, and contribute as a professional.
• Honor the ideals and principles of the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct.­
* This Statement of Commitment is not part of the Code but is a personal acknowledgment of
the individual’s willingness to embrace the distinctive values and moral obligations of the field
of early childhood care and education. It is recognition of the moral obligations that lead to an
individual becoming part of the profession.
Copyright © 2011 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
1.1 Realize You Are Part of a Noble Profession
Early childhood education has a rich history that has led to an understanding of the importance of initial
experiences. From that understanding stems the growth of high-quality programs that benefit millions
of children today.
The Legacy of Friedrich Froebel
Early childhood education in the United States can trace its beginnings to the philosophy of Friedrich
Froebel, who founded the first German kindergarten in 1840. Froebel’s kindergartens were based on
allowing children free-choice activities, creativity, social participation, and motor expression in a
welcoming and stimulating environment prepared by the teacher.
In the late 19th century, American children often began working at the age of 10 after completing 3
years of school. Susan Blow, an educator in St. Louis, devoted her life to the education of young children
and opened the first public kindergarten in 1873, based in Froebel’s theories, in order to improve
children’s lives. Many of the best practices in early education today have roots in these early
kindergartens. Play was viewed as a primary means for children’s learning, children were seen as
progressing through developmental stages, and the teacher set the environment and stimulating
activities to enhance learning. When today’s teachers encourage children to sing songs, build with
blocks, express themselves through creative activities, and engage in “free play,” they are employing the
educational philosophy and methods developed by Froebel more than two centuries ago (Elkind, 2012;
Froebel, 1826/1887; Frost, 2010).
Twentieth-Century Children’s Advocates
Interest in the study of children and awareness of the value of educating their parents in wholesome
child-rearing practices began to grow around the beginning of the 20th century. Along with the
burgeoning interest in child development came a companion interest in preschool education and child
care. This began abroad, where such leaders as Maria Montessori and the McMillan sisters pioneered
child care as a means of improving the well-being of children of the poor.
Maria Montessori
In 1907 Maria Montessori, an ardent young reformer-physician, began her Casa dei Bambini (Children’s
House). That child care center was originally founded as part of an experiment in refurbishing slum
housing in an economically distressed quarter of Rome (Loeffler, 1992). Supporters of that cooperative
housing venture found that young children left unattended during the day while their parents were
away at work were getting into trouble and destroying the property that people had worked so hard to
restore. They therefore wanted to work out some way for the children to be cared for. Under
Montessori’s guidance, Children’s House emphasized health, cleanliness, sensory training, individual
learning, and the actual manipulation of materials (Elkind, 2012; Hainstock, 1997; Montessori, 1912).
Since Montessori believed that individual self-learning comes before other learning can take place, she
focused on specially designed, self-correcting materials that the child uses alone. Language experience,
the use of imagination, and dramatic play were not recognized as being of much importance (Beatty,
The McMillan Sisters
In England, too, the pathetic condition of young slum children was being recognized. In 1911 two English
sisters, Margaret and Rachel McMillan, founded their open-air nursery school. The McMillans had been
interested in socialism and the women’s movement. Through these concerns they came to know the
condition of the London poor. They were horrified to discover that many children were running around
shoeless in the London slums, suffering from lice, malnutrition, and scabies. Like Children’s House, their
school stressed good health, nourishing food, and adequate medical care. Unlike Children’s House, it
emphasized the value of outdoor play, sunshine, sandboxes, and regular baths. The McMillans
advocated teaching children together in small groups. They stressed building independence and selfesteem. They also believed that young girls had natural gifts for working with children, so they gave
them paid, on-the-job training as they worked with the children (Bradburn, 1989; McMillan, 1929).
John Dewey and Progressive Education
In the United States, childhood education witnessed a flowering of interest in the early 1900s as well.
Progressive education, one of the most influential movements in the early childhood field still today,
was developed at the University of Chicago Laboratory School under the direction of John Dewey at the
beginning of the 20th century. Progressive education prevailed in elementary schools, yet many of the
practices currently used in preprimary programs grew out of Dewey’s then-radical philosophy of “childcentered education.” Dewey believed that education should stem from the child’s interests and real
experiences in the world, help the child think critically, and meet all the child’s needs—physical, social,
emotional, and intellectual—to develop into a moral citizen and member of a democratic community
(Elkind, 2012; Mooney, 2000). Dewey’s influence on the field of early childhood education can be seen
in the similar goals that are espoused in developmentally appropriate practice (DAP), which is discussed
later in this chapter.
Many early childhood programs today use child-centered, play-based, hands-on teaching practices that
stem from the theories of Froebel and Dewey.
Nursery Schools and the Growth of the Early Childhood Teaching Profession
“Nursery” education began to blossom in this country in the early 1920s. A group of women at the
University of Chicago began the first parent cooperative nursery school in 1916. In 1919 Harriet Johnson
opened the City and County School, which later metamorphosed into Bankstreet College of Education
(one of today’s most renowned teacher education facilities and its affiliated School for Children) in New
York City. Abigail Eliot began the Ruggles Street Nursery School in Boston in 1921—the same year that
Patty Smith Hill founded a laboratory nursery school at Columbia Teachers College (the oldest and
largest graduate school of education in the United States today).
As interest in nursery-level education grew, the academic community began to offer training in the field,
and professional associations were formed. For example, at the Merrill Palmer School of Motherhood
and Home Training (which later became the prestigious Merrill Palmer Institute), a nursery school was
provided where students participated in an 8-hour laboratory experience each week. They studied child
care management, health, nutrition, and social problems—not very different from what students do, at
least in part, today.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children
In 1925 Patty Smith Hill (1942/1992) called a meeting of early leaders in the field to discuss issues of
concern in the care of young children. In 1929 the National Association of Nursery Education was
founded. That association has continued and is now known as the National Association for the Education
of Young Children (NAEYC). It has grown to more than 100,000 members and provides an annual
conference attended by 24,000 people (NAEYC, 2010). For over 25 years, NAEYC has developed an
accreditation system designed to ensure high-quality standards in early childhood programs. Over 7,000
preprimary centers were NAEYC accredited in 2010. In addition to promoting the educational philosophy
of developmentally appropriate practice, the organization provides professional development resources
and seminars, publishes books and journals, and is a leading advocate for public policy issues that affect
children and families (NAEYC, 2010). Information about NAEYC is included in the Related Organizations
and Online Resources section at the end of this chapter.
“The NAEYC national conferences are completely mind-blowing. To be surrounded by tens of thousands
of early childhood professionals—attending workshops, making connections, hearing what the
researchers and movers and shakers are up to—makes me feel I am part of an important community. I
always come away inspired.”
The field of early childhood education has a noble history that has resulted in a proliferation of
programs designed with the very best intentions for young children. People who enter the field usually
do so out of a genuine sense of caring about children—certainly not for a love of money! (The issue of
compensation will be discussed later in this chapter.) Most of us in early childhood education—like John
Dewey or Maria Montessori or Patty Smith Hill—want to make a difference in children’s lives and, by
doing so, help to create a better society. Nevertheless, these questions have probably crossed every
early childhood teacher’s mind: Is all our hard work effective? Can we really make a difference?
Biological and psychological research, as well as our own observations and common sense,
confirms how much the work of families and teachers matters in the early years. We must
think carefully about what we are providing in the way of experiences and how we are
providing them as we plan the curriculum for the whole child. Which learnings are more
important, and which less so?
For example, is it more important that children experience joy and verve when learning or
that they learn to sit quietly and not interrupt the teacher? Is it more significant that they
speak fluently and spontaneously or that they speak Standard American English? Is it more
valuable that they be able to think about problems and feel confident about their ability to
solve them or that they be able to pick out all the things in the room that are shaped like
It is not that any of these values are reprehensible or should not receive attention: It is a
question of deciding which goals should receive primary emphasis. The teacher who elects
to foster joy and verve is likely to employ a different teaching style from one who believes
that quietly paying attention is vital to classroom success.
Intentional teachers are mindful of their teaching goals and strategies—ever on the lookout for
teachable moments and assessing the effects they have on the children, families, and educational
community. Rather than discounting standards and assessment, intentional teachers use them for
the betterment of the children and for appropriate planning for the individual learners in their care.
Intentional teachers have a sense of purpose and devote careful thought to the curriculum, the
educational environment they help to create, and most important, the relationships they nurture
within the classroom. Through caring and intentional teaching, the curricular goals that have been
suggested throughout this text can be addressed: inclusion of children with disabilities, family
involvement, enhancement of the developing five selves, learning standards and assessment, and
meeting academic goals.
By now it should be clear that each child’s development is unique. It is important to know
where each child fits on the developmental continuum so as to teach at the appropriate
level and inspire the child to go just a bit further. In addition to being knowledgeable about
typical development, the teacher must use a variety of assessment techniques throughout
the year. We need to know which are areas of strength and which are areas where we can
help the youngster gain competence. By incorporating DAP in our teaching, we ensure that
each child’s needs are considered and met. Whether children are physically disabled,
developmentally delayed, or intellectually gifted, whether they are overweight or
hyperactive, we are able to provide an educational experience that is suited to their
interests and abilities and encourages optimal growth.
In working to revise the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
position statement of developmentally appropriate practice, Copple and Bredekamp
(2008) found widespread agreement in the field that the following aspects are fundamental
to DAP:
• Curriculum and experiences that actively engage children
• Rich, teacher-supported play
• Integrated curriculum
• Scope for children’s initiative and choice
• Intentional decisions in the organization and timing of learning experiences
• Adapting curriculum and teaching strategies to help individual children make optimal
progress (p. 54)
Supporting the child’s active engagement is a primary concept of DAP and the
underpinning of emergent curriculum, which will be discussed in further detail. By
developing a curriculum that focuses on children as active participants rather than as
passive recipients of information from the adult, we enhance their view of themselves as
capable and encourage a positive attitude toward school, which is very important for future
academic success.
One of the first American educators to propose an integrated curriculum was John Dewey
(1916), founder of the progressive education movement. Integrated curriculum is based on
the premise that natural human learning does not occur in isolated segments; it spans
different learning domains at the same time. Discrete subject matters are not studied one at
a time; instead, they are combined and intentionally linked. Language, literacy, social
studies, music, art, math, science, physical movement, and other subjects can be combined
in curriculum investigations and activities.
Early childhood educators frequently use integrated curriculum. For example, when we
read a book that includes counting, in addition to literacy skills, we teach the social skill of
listening and answering, basic counting skills, and one-to-one correspondence. In The
Whole Child, we have proposed that there are five selves of the child, all warranting special
attention from the teacher: the physical self, the emotional self, the social self, the cognitive
self, and the creative self. Using an integrated approach that combines subject matters—at
group time, in learning centers, or in projects—is one of the best ways to ensure that all
these areas of development are addressed.
Integrated curriculum also supports Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, which was
introduced in Chapter 15. The multiple-intelligences theory proposes that individuals have
seven types of intelligence, and that teachers should attempt to teach to all of them
throughout the curriculum (Gardner, 1983, 1999, 2004):
1. Linguistic intelligence involves the ability to communicate with spoken and written
2. Musical intelligence involves the ability to appreciate, perform, and compose music.
Musical intelligence includes paying attention to patterns, pitches, tones, and
3. Logical-mathematical intelligence involves the ability to use logic, analyze problems,
perform mathematical operations, experiment, and investigate issues scientifically.
4. Spatial intelligence involves perceiving the visual world accurately, performing
transformations on the initial perception, and then mentally “seeing” or figuring out
the effects.
5. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence involves using the body in a highly differentiated and
skilled way for expressive and goal-directed purposes. Use of tools and mechanical
abilities are also involved in bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.
6. Interpersonal intelligence involves the ability to attend to and understand other
7. Intrapersonal intelligence involves the ability to be self-aware and understand one’s
own emotions, fears, and motivations. It is our sense of self that informs our
behavior and relation to the world.
Priority 4: Find Ways to Encourage Child-Centered Active Learning; Use an Emergent Curriculum
Sometimes novice teachers assume the term emergent means that every idea must emerge from the
children and that the curriculum must be entirely unplanned and spontaneous to fulfill the criteria of
emerging. However, in this text emergent means that the direction a topic takes develops as the
children and the teachers investigate it together—each contributing his or her own ideas and
possibilities as they evolve, in somewhat the same way the children and the teachers in Reggio Emilia
do. The teachers do make plans in advance and have ideas for possible topics, just as the children do,
but as Rinaldi (1994) put it so well, “These plans are viewed as a compass, not a train schedule.”
This image of a curriculum plan serving as a compass indicating direction and intention rather than being
a predetermined schedule is particularly useful in the emergent approach. After all, if the curriculum is
seen as gradually emerging, it cannot be completely scheduled in advance, but it certainly does require a
sense of direction and purpose.
If it’s snowing outside and the children want it to snow inside, provide materials and activities for them
to make their ideas come true. In this way, the curriculum is based on the children’s interests.
If we carry the image of a compass a little further, it also clarifies why we, like Loris Malaguzzi (1992),
the founder and architect of the Reggio Emilia preprimary schools, prefer the term pathway to the term
project in describing the development of a topic: Pathway conveys the sense of a continuing journey,
rather than a unit that has a preplanned end or goal in mind from the start. As teachers and children
venture down the pathway together, learning stems from the social interaction and collaboration that
takes place along the way (Edwards, Gandini, & Forman, 1993, 1998; Gandini, Hill, Cadwell, & Schwall,
2005; Hendrick, 1997, 2004; Rinaldi, 2002; Scheinfeld, Haigh, & Scheinfeld, 2008; Wien, 2008; Wurm,
As this idea of a collaborative, learning-together approach has gained impetus, interest has also grown
(in Reggio Emilia as well as in the United States) in the work of a Russian psychologist named Lev
Vygotsky because of his emphasis on the value of collaborative work between the child and a more
knowledgeable person. It makes sense to take a moment here to consider some of Vygotsky’s most
basic ideas.
Some Basic Concepts of Vygotskian Psychology
During his brief life (he died in 1934 from tuberculosis, at age 37), Vygotsky contributed some insightful
ideas about cognitive development and how it takes place. He maintained that language and cognitive
ability do not appear automatically as the child passes through landmark stages; rather, they develop in
part because of interaction with other people—peers, adults, and even imaginary companions as the
child grows. As the title of his book Mind in Society (1978) suggests, the mind develops as the result of
society’s action on it. Since mental development cannot be separated from the social context in which it
takes place, this theory about children’s mental development is often spoken of as a sociocultural or
sociohistorical theory. All this means is that society (and its past development—hence “historical”) and
the culture it generates have great influence on what children learn and the means by which they learn
Perhaps the most familiar Vygotskian concept is the idea of the zone of proximal development (ZPD).
Vygotsky (1978) defined the ZPD as “the distance between the actual development level [of the child] as
determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined
through problem solving under adult guidance in collaboration with more capable peers” (p. 86).
Vygotsky pointed out that with the assistance of a more knowledgeable person, the child can advance
closer to the farther edge of her or his potential ability. In other words, there’s a difference between the
current or actual level of development and the child’s potential level of development. The possibility of
maximum advancement depends on the assistance lent to the learner by a more knowledgeable
person—either an adult or another child.
This concept of the ZPD, as it is affectionately called, has encouraged teachers who are striving to put
the emergent curriculum into practice to, first, assess a child’s current level of ability and begin there;
then, by offering questions and cues, as well as more tangible assistance, the teacher collaborates with
the child to extend his or her mental abilities a bit beyond what they were before.
The other aspect of Vygotsky’s theory of particular importance to early childhood teachers is his
emphasis on the significance of spoken language as the mediator between the world, the children’s
minds, and their ability to express, understand, and explain to other people what they know. Vygotsky
theorized that by using the tool of language, children are able to master themselves and gain
independence and control of their own behavior and thought. It is certainly true that many of us who
work with 2-year-olds have heard examples of their attempts to use language to regulate behavior that
support this contention. Who has not witnessed a child of that age say, “No! No! Baby!” while reaching
simultaneously for the scissors?—or dealt with a 4-year-old reporting prissily on another’s misdeeds in
the sandbox?
A warning concerning the use of language with young children: While acknowledging its indispensable
value, teachers must also remember not to substitute it for real experiences. For language to have
meaning, it must be tied to the concrete world, and for the world to acquire meaning, the child must
have language.
“Vygotsky’s theory of the zone of proximal development is one I find very practical. In fact, I use it every
day. If I observe a child having difficulty with a task, I’ll tell him to go ask a friend who has more skill to
help. That’s the theory of ZPD in action!”
The Reggio Approach
The Reggio approach, which was introduced in Chapter 1, is an emergent curriculum approach that has
been in use in the preprimary schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, since the 1960s. Americans have been
studying the Reggio approach since it first landed at the NAEYC national conference in the early 1990s
(with one conference presentation!). Since that time, Newsweek magazine has cited the Reggio schools
as “the best in the world,” thousands of teachers have taken study tours there, and there is now an
entire Reggio track at the annual NAEYC conference with well over 20 presentations each year.
There has been discussion of the Reggio approach throughout The Whole Child, but it has given you only
a small taste of a deeply thought-out and philosophical method of teaching. Once teachers witness the
full beauty and passion of that city’s educational system for young children, most feel inspired to
provide the best learning experiences for our children in U.S. cities as well. It is hoped that you will feel
inspired to explore the Reggio approach further as you develop your own set of best practices in
teaching. Figure 16.1 highlights some of the basic principles that underlie the Reggio Emilia approach.
Take a moment to reflect on what you have learned about young children’s development
and learning, and on your role as their teacher. By embarking on a teaching career you have
joined the ranks of many educators in history, from John Dewey to Jean Piaget, from Maria
Montessori to Loris Malaguzzi, to your favorite teacher in elementary school (hopefully
there was at least one!). The work of early childhood educators is valuable and long-lasting;
if we do our job well, we will be appreciated and remembered by the children, families,
coworkers, and community members with whom our teaching lives intersect.
With an overemphasis on academic achievement and testing comes the temptation to rush
children in their development—just as teachers often rush from topic to topic, filling the
day with requirements until there is no room for recess. It is helpful to take a pause,
breathe deeply, and reflect on the meaning of teaching. What are our basic goals for
education? What goals do you have as a teacher? As Noddings (2006) points out, a wider
goal beyond academics is the foundation of American education:
Some people argue that schools are best organized to accomplish academic goals and
that we should charge other institutions with the task of pursuing the physical, moral,
social, emotional, spiritual, and aesthetic aims that we associate with the whole
Those who make this argument have not considered the history of education. Public
schools in the United States—as well as schools across different societies and
historical eras—were established as much for moral and social reasons as for
academic instruction. (p. 2)
Noddings goes on to suggest that happiness be included as one of our basic educational
aims: “We incorporate this aim into education not only by helping our students understand
the components of happiness but also by making classrooms genuinely happy places” (p.
It is rare today to hear much talk about happiness in the public discourse about education.
With a focus on funding and academic performance, the idea of teaching to improve the
quality of a human life and creating well-adjusted, happy members of society has gotten
lost. It is hoped that The Whole Child will prove valuable to you in your teaching career and
that you will find enjoyment and happiness along the way.

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