Singapore University of Social Sciences

Developmentally Appropriate Early Childhood Practices in Beijing (OEL322)

Synopsis

The main objective of OEL322 is to provide students with the conceptual tools and learning experiences to develop a deeper understanding of developmentally appropriate early childhood pedagogies in Beijing. This is achieved through a combination of experiential learning, e-learning, classroom activities, and participation in an overseas trip to Beijing, China. The approaches to early childhood education in Beijing are quite varied although kindergartens all follow the Beijing Ministry of Education’s framework and learning goals for kindergarten, reflecting a focus on child-centric, active learning curriculum that is in line with current international trends in ECE curriculum. Each of the three schools that have been identified has adopted very different practices in their interpretation of this framework within the city of Beijing. As such, they offer good opportunities for our students to see how a child-centric curriculum that is developmentally appropriate, is translated into practice within socially and culturally diverse settings, allowing them to compare between these Chinese practices and that of Singapore. As an elective in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) programme, OEL322 builds upon its pre- and co-requisite courses in requiring students to review, consolidate and apply knowledge acquired from such courses and from selected assigned readings for the trip to broaden and deepen their understanding about teaching and learning for young children. The immersion in a different socio-cultural context helps to strengthen the development of the link between theory and practice for early childhood pedagogies, through getting students to observe and interact with teachers and children in ECE settings in the host country, and through their participation in the latter’s communities of learning (COL). By working with local practitioners on education-related projects in Beijing, students will get to port over what they have learnt not only through comparing how historical, economic, and socio-cultural factors shape educational development and early childhood education practices in the host country and in Singapore, but also through reflecting on the relationships between developmentally appropriate practices and cultural vs. universal conceptions of childhood development.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every July

Topics

  • Experiential and inquiry learning
  • Key historical and socio-cultural developments in early childhood education in the host country
  • Selected issues relevant to early childhood education in the host country, e.g. social, cultural, or pedagogical
  • Developmentally appropriate practices
  • Universality versus cultural particularity within ECE
  • Preparation and design of the overseas experiential learning project: liaising with local community partner(s), safety and emergency response, cultural sensitivity

Learning Outcome

  • Compare the socio-cultural circumstances shaping the ECE practices in the host country to that of Singapore
  • Examine how the issues and challenges faced by preschool teachers in the host country are similar and/or different from those faced by preschool teachers in Singapore
  • Apply ECE theories to relate DAP to cultural vs. universal conceptions of childhood development
  • Modify their own image of the child and of the teacher based on this cross-cultural experience
  • Analyse the universality and particularity of the development of critical thinking dispositions
  • Assess the extent to which DAP is observed in the classrooms in the host country.
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