Childhood Education Innovations

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Childhood Education: Innovations is an education magazine that provides unique, stimulating information about educational programs around the world. Articles explore solutions to specific challenges affecting schools, teachers, and learners and showcase the most recent innovations being developed and implemented to address those challenges. Readers will find inspiration for transforming education to better serve children and society. Published 6 times a year, CE Innovations provides a window into the work being done to bring quality, equitable education to all children. It stands alongside the Journal of Research in Childhood Education as one of our signature publications.

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November/December 2023

“Weaving It All Together: The Arts, Literacy, Adults, and Kids”
Arts learning in early childhood is natural! This article looks at the why and how of established practices, and an effective way to weave together elements that lead to success for all students, including those with different needs, learning styles, and circumstances — an approach that addresses post-COVID needs. The more experiences children have, the more capacity they develop for learning through poetry, dance and movement, music, visual art, storytelling, and drama.

“Wanted: Educators for a Healthier Next Generation”
We need more food-literate and conscious consumers, as well as critical systems thinkers and innovators who will be able to find solutions and create more sustainable and healthier food systems. A wide range of topics and issues need to be discussed, reframed, and rethought for this to happen; without question, teachers have to play a key role in this process. FoodEducators program offers easy-to-use, ready-made, free lesson plans for food educators around Europe and beyond. The goal is to empower teachers to feel confident talking about complex issues, such as food systems and food science, and showing students the vivid and colorful world of agrifood careers.

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“Inspiring Children’s Interconnectedness With Nature: Tony Johnston’s Picture Books”
Children’s literature traditionally has been replete with pastoral, animal, and wilderness stories — and island adventures, of course — that nurture a sense of wonder and excitement about the world we share. Such literature encourages a high regard for the environment and enhances a child’s capacity for empathy toward all forms of life. The informal, yet intact, nature curriculum found in compelling books for children helps them understand the manner in which nature sustains life itself in so many distinguishing ways. It also fosters realizations about current environmental issues that must be confronted by the global society.

“The Mimamoru Approach: Supporting Young Children’s Problem-Solving Skills in Japan”
Japanese early childhood teachers use the mimamoru approach, letting children develop their sense of right and wrong in a group-oriented environment where they are accountable to others. To promote children’s internalization of appropriate behavior, teachers ask questions rather than reprimand, and they delegate authority to children so they are responsible for their own actions. Although many teachers do not force children to participate in activities,
they do communicate their wishes through non-verbal gestures.

“Awakening to the Climate Crisis: A Call to Action”
The climate crisis raging around the world challenges each of us to do whatever we can to help our children, our communities, and the planet. As educators, we have an opportunity to respond in a thoughtful, empathic, action-oriented way. How can we help our students come to understand that their everyday actions affect those in other countries? How might we invite them to empathize with migrant children who have suffered disproportionately from this climate crisis? Most importantly, how might we empower our students — as well as their parents and our community leaders — to take action to address the climate crisis?

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“Alif Laila Book Bus Society and the Camel Library Project in Pakistan
During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, two Pakistani sisters who oversee the Female Education Trust in Pakistan researched ways to promote literacy during the lockdown. One of them, Raheema Jalal, also serves as the principal of a Girls High School and the other, Zubaida Jalal, is a politician who served as the Pakistani minister for defense production. The Jalal sisters had heard about camels being used by Save the Children to promote literacy in Ethiopia and began collaborating with the Alif Laila Book Bus Society to develop a similar initiative in Pakistan.

“Supporting Educators’ Mental Health From a Ukrainian Bomb Shelter”
A community of practice in Ukraine, together with the Center for Professional Learning and the Ukrainian Institute for Educational Development, created free, open educational courses to support the well-being and development of teachers experiencing war and displacement. These courses provide knowledge and skills in the topics of mental health, trauma-informed practices, psychosocial support, social-emotional learning, and child and adult well-being.

“The Transformative Power of Parent Communications”
Rocket Learning is building early childhood and foundational skills at scale in India, connecting the government system and parents, and driving community change by systemically leveraging technology, media, and social incentives or influencers. They are building on top of low-tech apps that parents and caregivers already use, such as WhatsApp and YouTube, to help preschool and anganwadi teachers (day-care center workers) reach parents every day with contextualized content in the local language.

Playful STEM Learning”
STEM education is an integrated, cross-disciplinary approach to teaching that primarily focuses on developing a problem-solving mindset with skillsets that will benefit children in all aspects of life, including whatever work they may do in the future. Unfortunately, STEM is rarely taught well in schools, if taught at all, especially in the early grades.

“Philosophy versus Approach in the Student-Centered Classroom: The 5E Learning Cycle”
The concept of a student-centered classroom has been shown to reap benefits for learning in the classroom when compared to traditional lecturing. Furthermore, the student-centered classroom, as a set of active learning strategies, fosters student agency and improves learning attitudes that may serve students well in the future workforce. However, a clear distinction must be made between student-centered teaching as a philosophy and student-centered teaching as a specific set of instructional strategies.

“Enhancing Assessment and Personalized Learning Through Artificial Intelligence”
Despite the benefits of assessment for informing teaching practice and enhancing student learning, it remains one of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks for teachers. It was certainly no easy feat for early childhood teachers to conduct student assessments using technology during the unconventional remote instruction necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, some did effectively navigate this novel assessment terrain by leveraging technology to their advantage and many continue to capitalize on technology to make assessments more effective and efficient. In this article, the authors discuss the use of Amira, an assessment and instructional program, for assessing and facilitating the progress of language and literacy development in children.


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