28 Ağustos 2011 Pazar

An Observation in American Robert College Child Study Center

I. About Robert College Child Study Center

The education in American Robert College Child Study Center is based on Active Learning. Moreover, the educational program includes Multiple Intelligence, Values Education and GEMS (Great Explorations in Math&Science) programs. In order to foster overall development of children, High/Scope Key Experiences are used. Activities are planned in a line with these key experiences. These together with the direct experiences of children result in cognitive restructuring. Multiple Intelligence Theory aims to assess the individual differences, abilities, and interests of children. [1]

In addition, in Child Study Center there are English courses in each day of the week. Moreover, there is gymnastics lesson, art lesson, music lesson, drama lesson, and dance lesson, in a day of the week. Children learn traditional Turkish child games each week, too.

II.Observation of learning environment of an early childhood classroom

The Robert College Child Study Center Environment [2]

The physical environment in the classroom has a profound effect on individual children, the group as whole, and the teacher. It can be easily said that The Robert College Study Center has a comprehensive and appropriate approach to fostering the development of the whole child in terms of the learning environment. During my observation (16 children, 5-year-olds) in the College, I noted some points related to the learning environment:

- Furniture in the class was clean and well maintained. Bright colors were used selectively on neutral-colored walls to highlight interest areas. There were natural lights as much as possible. There was a mirror reflected light and allowed children to look at the environment from a different perspective. Therefore, children felt that: “This is a good place to be.” Nevertheless, even though an incorporate softness in to the environment wherever possible, however chairs in the class should have been better in terms of softness.

- The furniture in the class was child-size and in good condition. Each child’s work was displayed and protected. Moreover, pictures of the children were displayed in the class. Therefore, children felt that: "We belong here." However, I think, it would be better that pictures of the children with their families should have been displayed.

- Equipment and materials in the class were arranged consistently. Routines such as transitions, eating, and toileting were consistent. Place materials and toys were on low shelves at children’s eye level. The containers were used such as plastic dishpans, baskets to hold materials and toys with small pieces. Therefore, children felt that: “This is a place we can trust.” However, using photos or pictures of toys were good ways to know children what were where, there were any labels in the classroom. Children could interestingly know where to find the things they needed even though there was no label.

- There were computers that allowed for individual using. There were quiet spaces where children could go to get away and be alone when they needed some private time. So, children felt that:There are places where we can be by ourselves when we want to.

- Materials were stored on low shelves so children could reach them without help. The names of seasons and the dates were not in the home language but English. Therefore, children felt that: “We can do many things on our own here.”

- Materials in the class were displayed attractively, inviting children to use them. Protected floor space building with blocks was clearly defined and out of the way of traffic. Moreover, the outdoor was fences in and protected. Therefore, children felt that: “This is a safe place to explore and try out my ideas.”

- There was no problem related to physical setting such as running classroom, wandering around, intruding other workspaces. However, a few students had fighting over toys. Teacher (Miss İnci) warned them and they stopped fighting. She sat limits on children’s behavior. Moreover, girls preferred housekeeping center in dramatic play corner and boys preferred block center.

- There was no access to water in the classroom and toilets are outside of the classroom. In addition, the shape of the room was rectangle and the size of the activity area is enough. The meals were produced under hygienic and healthy conditions. Moreover, there was a 24 hours open infirmary with a doctor, nurses, and an ambulance.

- Outdoor space was not located next to the classroom. There was a balance of sunny and shady areas. In addition, there was a large, covered grassy area. Outdoors were used for academic learning. There were areas for children’s exploration. Buckets of water and large brushes to paint the external walls and walk ways were provided. Children collected and used natural materials with their teachers during the outside time activity.

III. Observation of teacher’s role in an early childhood classroom

A.Teacher’s Role in Preschool Classroom in the Robert College Child Study Center

A child has many ways of expressing himself and teachers can begin to understand what he is experiencing and the meaning he brings to his experiences by observing him, listening to him and ultimately recording these observations. In the context of a pre-kindergarten class, these observations help the teacher and other staff to create a more responsive program for each child and for the classroom community. [3] During my observation (16 children, 5-year-olds) in the College, I noted some points related to the teacher’s role in early childhood classroom:

- Teacher of my observation class was Miss İnci. She was a pretty woman and she was looking after all children as they were unique. Miss İnci had an assistant and they were good at being a preschool teacher, I think.

- It could be easily observed that Miss İnci was a model for students. Her sayings were always true for them. Children were trying not to make her unhappy or angry. She has built a relationship with each child since beginning of the term.

- She was talking to children respectfully and sensitive to children’s feelings. While two boys were fighting over toys, Miss İnci was equitable about making decisions of who was right.

- I noticed that, Miss İnci was trying to give their students a self esteem. For instance, when students wanted a help from Miss İnci about a work that could be easily done by same students; she said that: "Come on my darling! You can easily do that! You do not need my help!" After, students tried to do that job and generally they achieved it. Miss İnci told them: “You got it by yourself! That was a hard job and you did it. You did not give up!"

- I want to point out a dialogue between Miss İnci and one of her students (Luka) who wanted to explain his feeling around the same time:

Miss İnci: Darling, how do you feel today?
Luka: Hmm… I feel… I am happy today. Because…
Miss iNci: Because, what?
Luka: Because today my father will came here and take mo to home.
Miss İnci: It is a wonderful new! You must be so happy, ha?
Luka: Yes, I am happy but I want to see my mother, too.
Miss İnci: You know that your mum is busy today, Luka. She cannot come here.
Luka: Yes İnci, you are right, but… I am angry with my mum because of not coming here.
Miss İnci: Hmm, it would not be a good thought my darling. I am sure, if your mum were convenience, she would come here.
Luka: Yeah, OK. It is true. I love mum. I am not angry with her. She is busy. I understood.
Miss İnci: Well-done my darling! I knew that you would understand it!

- Thanks to the dialogue, it can be easily seen that Miss İnci maintained a positive relationship with her student. She became sensitive to Luka’s feelings and she explained what the best was.

- Miss İnci was also good at inviting her students: “Come and see what I am doing here!" - "Check out the new materials in the dramatic play. I saw a toy I’m sure you will enjoy!"

- After or during a work, she was talking with children about their work. “Hmm, Ateş. What is this called?” / “Damla, you have spent a long time on this picture. Tell me about it.”

IV. Observation of small group and whole group activities and the daily schedule in an early childhood classroom

A.Large and Small Group Time in the Robert College Child Study Center 

*Large Group:

In the morning, Miss İnci divided the children to 2 groups. She was interested in one of the groups while the other teacher (her assistant) was looking after the other group. That’s to say, each teacher worked simultaneously. Children were eager to talk about a variety of topics – what happened at home, their new siblings, their mum or father, or who they are going to take them from the school to the home. Teachers asked them: “How do you feel today, my darling? Also tell me please the date of today?” While children were answering that question, teachers wrote the date of that day and students’ answers on a paper. For example, Ayşe answered: “Today is 5 November and Friday, and I feel today cheerful because I will watch TV with my mum.” Upon Ayşe’s answer, Miss İnci wrote “I feel today cheerful because I will watch TV with my mum.” on Ayşe’s paper and then Miss İnci said that: “Ayşe, now I want you to draw a picture which tells why you are happy today on your paper, OK?”Miss İnci asked the same question to every child and they answered. After finishing drawing their pictures, Miss İnci wanted them to explain their pictures.

*Small Group:

Event 1 - Introducing new concepts and individual needs: Ceren asked Miss İnci: “İnci, by what is my toy made: glass or plastic?”Miss İnci answered: “It is made by plastic, look at here: it is written under your toy. Hmm, Ceren... Look at here... Also it is written that it is produced in Italy. Look at, can you see it? Come with me! I will show you where Italy is.” After, they went to the map and Miss İnci said: “Ceren, look. Here is Turkey and we are in İstanbul in Turkey now. (She was pointing the countries on the map) Italy is there. Can you see your toy came here from a far country?”

Event 2 - Interests and learning style: There was a boy called Hüseyin. Interestingly, he wanted to play alone. While his friends were playing together in the dramatic play corner or in the block centers, he was alone in the science corner and was dealing with puzzles and numbers. Miss İnci never forced Hüseyin to play with his friends because Hüseyin’s interests and learning style was different.

B. Establishing a Structure for Each Day in the Robert College Child Study Center

Theoretically daily schedule should include attendance, choice time, transition times, meal times and rest time (also large group time and small group time which are analyzed above). To take attendance, teacher used the photos of students. Those photos were taken on the first day of the school. Each student’s name was written on each photo. After attendance, there was the choice time. In this time, students worked and play whatever they wanted. In transitions time, Miss İnci said that: “Come on sweets, now we are going out. To go out, we should be ranked, OK?” While students were being aligned, assistant gave them their jackets. So, two jobs (going out and wearing the jackets) became simultaneously thanks to transition activity (being ranked). After outside activity, students had a lunch. They would eat macaroni and soup. They invited me to have lunch together but I refused them because I had to catch your class and I had no time. :)


Feldman, J. R. A Survival Guide for the Preschool Teacher.The Center for Applied Research in Education. West Nyack: New York.

Kostelnik, M.J., Soderman, A.K., and Whiren A.P.Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum: Best Practices in Early Chilhood Education. Third Education. Upper Saddle River. New Jersey: Columbus, Ohio.



[1] www.robcol.k12.tr
[2] Please look at the Appendix 1 that is at the end of the work.
[3] http://www.bankstreet.edu/ecp/observing_recording.html

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