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Edu1st Menu

Contributors

Ana Maria Fernandez

Edu1st.Team - Ana Maria Fernandez

CEO & President - Edu1st.

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Gilberto Pinzon

Gilberto Pinzon

Vice president - Edu1st.

Full profile

 

 

Natalia Pinzon

Edu1st.Team - Natalia Pinzon

 

Wellness Program Coordinator - Edu1st.

 

 

Blog Post Index

Edu1st.Blog

Blog

We have to enhance the education system in order to incorporate the skills needed to be able to excel in the dynamic future that lies ahead.

The age of information has come to an end. In the past International Conference of Thinking in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the world acknowledged the beginning of a new era in the history of human development: The Age of Intelligence. We are living in exponential times. In this new era where technology connects the mind and ideas of an individual with the minds and ideas of millions around the world, society evolves at a sometimes frightening speed. It is pivotal for every segment of modern society to keep up with the other. However, the educational system in the United States still educates under the parameters of an era that ended more than 50 years ago (the industrial age), where children are raised to be workers and not thinkers. If we want our children to be competitive, not only with the person next door but with everyone else around the world, it is imperative that the U.S. make some serious revision in the education we are providing our children. 

The top ten in-demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004.

 

Important Facts: 

  • The amount of technical information is doubling every two years (half of what a student in a 4-year technical degree learns the first year will be outdated by his third year of study).
  • Digital information doubles every 11 hours.
  • The performance power of computers doubles every 18 months.
  • India has more honor students than America has students.

The advantages of being bilingual include wider communication within the community, a deeper sense of multiculturalism, greater tolerance for and understanding of others, increased educational achievements, and future employment benefits.

Every parent faces various uncertainties when deciding what is best for their child. Education is, of course, one of the major concerns. What school is best? Which program will suit my child better? When should a second language be introduced and how? Keeping in mind, the world is changing so quickly that promoting the ability for creative thinking and promoting cultural adaptability is essential. “We don't have a clue about what the world will be like in the future” as Sir Ken Robinson said in one of his conferences on creativity and education.

Thousands of children all over the world are bilingual, there is no evidence of a language delay or disorder proven to be caused by bilingual exposure, on the contrary, research states that learning a second language at an early age makes special and more complex neural networks and connections between both hemispheres. It also trains the phonological system, gestures, and sounds in children’s mouth, to make the phonetic sounds unique to each language; skills that becomes more difficult to master later on.

Research has shown that positive cognitive gains are associated with learning a second language in childhood (Bialystok 1991). Children exposed to a bilingual education learn to explore language better, become more creative and improve their problem-solving skills not to mention all the social advantages that a child can have when being able to communicate in a multilingual environment. For children it is simple, they discover there is more than one way to express themselves, more than one way to solve a problem and more than one way people can understand each other.

But children do not just “absorb” a language: The environment, support and the teaching strategies used will determine the quality and proficiency of the language acquired. School, curriculum, teachers and families need to work together so children will “get to think” in both languages.

Edu1st’s progressive preschool’s offer children great opportunities. We offer youngsters a warm, challenging environment and a high-quality curriculum with an emphasis on bilingual education.

Their program offers various characteristics parents need to look for in a bilingual preschool:

  • Preschools need to have a friendly atmosphere where each child will feel secure, loved and happy. Where families are welcome at any time and are encourage to becoming active participants in their child’s education.
  • Preschools must have a hand crafted comprehensive curriculum that contemplates the developmental needs of each child and that will allow teachers to challenge each of them to their maximum potential while promoting their creativity.
  • Preschools’ curriculum needs to reflect the understanding that there is not just one way of learning, therefore, there is not just one way of teaching. A variety of pedagogical strategies needs to be used on a daily basis in each classroom.
  • Teachers must have a degree in Early Childhood Education or related fields; this will guarantee the quality of the approach to specific needs a child may have during the year.
  • Teachers need to be trained on strategies to work with multicultural and multilingual children and families and they need to keep a culture of constant professional development.
  • Preschools need to have a well-equipped environment so children can find a variety of challenges in science, language, geography, history, music, art, math, physical development etc.
  • Parents need to see evidence of a variety of life experiences offered in the preschool.

What is of utmost importance is how that information is used in an intelligent, responsible and ethical manner.

Experts, like Dr. Mark Rosenzweig, professor emeritus at the University of California, highlight that not only is there vast cognitive development during the first five years of age, it is also the time where neural networks, on which all complex future learning will be based, are developed. Because of this, it is essential to offer preschool age children with a wonderful experience, but also a high quality educational program that promotes learning and social skills.

This article seeks to help parents with the difficult task of choosing a preschool, giving them a description of the different educational methods available on the market: Traditional Education, the Montessori Method, the Reggio-Emilia approach and Edu1st (New Model of Education).

Traditional Education

This is the best known method and emphasizes language skills and mathematics. In a traditional classroom, students are grouped by age and they are all taught the same material. Learning, though achieved through multiple sources nowadays, depends heavily on the experience of the teacher, who directs and controls the flow of information in class. In a traditional classroom, the teacher knows what they will teach at each stage and what a child needs to learn in class.

The Montessori Method

Its creator, Maria Montessori (1870-1952), based her educational theories on the observation of activities preferred and engaged by children. She identified that children have an innate love for learning and a keen enjoyment for the experience that ensues from completing tasks that they have freely chosen.

A Montessori classroom is conceptualized as an environment that helps children develop as integrated and independent individuals. In this environment children learn for themselves, using materials specifically designed by Montesorri that besides being attractive, self-correct. In a Montessori classroom students of different ages are grouped together in a non-competitive environment, where each child can choose their own activity and work at their own pace.

The teacher in a Montessori classroom is known as director and besides acting as a guide or facilitator by showing new activities and materials to children one-on- one or in small groups, the director also observes and monitors their progress to help and guide them in their activities and interests.

Reggio Emilia

The Reggio Emilia Approach was developed by Loris Malaguzzi (1920-1994) in the northern Italian city of Reggio Emilia and was originally created as the municipal daycare with education programs for children younger than six. In this approach a child is seen as a competent, clever, curious, imaginative and inventive individual who desires to interact and communicate with others.

In the Reggio approach, a child is an active apprentice who develops through interaction with others, including parents, teachers, classmates and the community. The “Reggio Vision” develops its curriculum guided by a child’s interests and their interaction with the needs of their community. Because of this, schools that follow this approach are said to be “Reggio inspired” because their cannot be two exact schools. The © Education First Inc. 2010 interests of the children, the interpretation of teachers and the needs of the community will always be different.

The environment acts as a third teacher and because of this the Reggio approach greatly values the integration of the graphic arts as tools in cognitive, linguistic and social development. Teachers are in charge of organizing atmospheres that invite children to explore and problem-solve through collaboration. Additionally, documentation of a child’s work is viewed as an important tool for children, teachers and parents in order to visualize the learning process.

Besides being a learner alongside the children, the teacher is a teacher-researcher, a resource and guide as she/he lends expertise to the children. Within such a teacher-researcher role they listen and observe the children carefully to be able to provoke and stimulate learning. Teachers of this approach are committed to reflection about their own teaching and learning.

Edu1st - New Model of Education

Edu1st arises from the imminent need to recognize that education has to cease being an isolated entity and must prepare individuals for the world in which we live and will live; with its necessities and dynamics. Ethical, thinking, pro-active individuals who are knowledgeable, social, open-minded and happy.

The Edu1st model understands that information grows and changes exponentially every minute and it is only in a “mouse-click” away. It understands the technological, social and cultural challenges of our era; it keeps itself constantly up-to- date with the latest discoveries on the mind, brain and education and is conscious that our children are preparing themselves for an unknown and fascinating world.

It is not only important to stay up-to- date in regard to information, what is of utmost importance is how that information is used in an intelligent, responsible and ethical manner. For these reasons the Edu1st program focuses on the development of habits of mind and thought processes that allow children to discover themselves, develop their enormous creative capacity, their ability to comprehend and process patterns easily and explore their world from different points of view.

Edu1st is an integrative program inspired by the Reggio approach (previously mentioned) and other methodologies and approaches like Visible Thinking and Thinking Routines from Harvard University, conceptual maps, the Philosophy for Children approach, art programs to promote thinking, problem-solving theories and strategic thinking and the education standards of England and Australia, among others.

Children educated under this model discover a passion for understanding and learning through significant experiences that allow them to actively explore, question, research, hypothesize and seek individual and collective comprehension, in a fun and multi-sensory environment. They discover the value of teamwork, the value of having different points of view and acquire productive thinking tools that will be useful to them throughout their lives.

This article, while focusing on four preschool education models, does not wish to demerit other models. Each approach has its own strengths.

Please Contact us for more information.