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Our Teachers:

Knowledge:  A strong educational background in Early Childhood enables teachers to teach with intention and developmentally appropriate practice.  It allows teachers to identify their student’s individual needs and address them in the classroom.  Knowledge about literacy, cognitive, social/emotional, self help, gross and fine motor benchmarks help teachers to scaffold their students to greater understanding and ability. 
Experience:  The more time a teacher spends in the classroom the more she or he learns about children and their cognitive, physical and social development.  While education provides the tools and foundations for success in the classroom active teaching allows knowledge and theory to be put into practice.  Only so much can be learned through books the rest develops over time as a teacher works together with her or his students to create learning experiences.
Resourceful: Teachers are resources to their students, their student’s families, and the community as a whole.  Parents are the most important and influential teachers to their children.  Teachers form relationships with many different children, we understand typical behavior and are able to help parents understand what to expect and what is developmentally appropriate.  As teachers we have access to community information though our personal connections to our families and our professional connections. 
Love:  To be successful as a teacher, love is the key ingredient that makes it all come together.  Love for your job, love for your students and love for the community you serve.  We help children develop a lifelong love of learning through our love of teaching.
Advocacy: As an early childhood professional it is important to endeavor to advocate for the early childhood education profession, the children, and the families that we all serve.  Connections to  community schools, resources, town events and workshops provide opportunities for students, teachers and parents to expand their circle of learning and engagement.  Affiliations with local and regional early childhood organizations provide parents, students and teachers with additional knowledge, opportunity and information.  

 
 

What is Scaffolding and the Zone of Proximal Development?


Vygotsky theorized about a child’s abilities and explained them through a term he called “the zone of proximal development” (ZPD).  The zone of proximal development is the distance between what a child knows, and what she is capable of learning at that time.  The “development of a behavior occurs on two levels which form the boundaries of the ZPD” (Bodrova, Leong, p.35).  The beginning level of a child’s zone of proximal development begins with the child’s “independent performance” (Bodrova, Leong, p.35) ability.  The top most boundary in a child’s zone of proximal development is “the maximum level a child can reach with help”, otherwise known as “assisted performance”. (Bodrova, Leong, p.35)  Assisted performance can take place at all different degrees and levels. A child’s zone of proximal development is fluid over time as the child continues to develop and learn. 
Teachers, parents and older peers can often help the child reach a new understanding through the use of scaffolding.    Scaffolding is a teaching technique that allows the child to move upward in her zone of proximal development.  “What the learner does is made easier with assistance” from a more knowledgeable peer or teacher.  (Bodrova, Leong, p.35)  With each level of achievement “the child becomes capable of learning more and more complex concepts and skills.”  (Bodrova, Leong, p.37)  For example, in a tools of the mind classroom often children will draw up a plan about how to make use of their play time.  A teacher will then sit with the child to help the child write down what he plans to do based on his drawing.  This assistance takes place at all different levels as the child’s literacy skills develop and helps the child reach a new level in his zone of proximal development.  If a child is beginning to learn letter sounds but has not advanced to reading full words a teacher will help the child sound out the first letter of each word.  As time goes on the child will eventually be able to sound out an entire word. 
Bodrova, E., Leong, D. J. (1996).  Tools of the mind: The Vygotskian approach to early childhood education.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ:  Prentice Hall.