Friday, August 23, 2019

// // Leave a Comment

10 Hot Topics in Early Childhood Education (That Weren't Necessarily Issues 10 Years Ago!)

In 1999, Nokia sold the first mobile phone with a WAP browser. Ten years ago smartphones were just becoming commonplace; today they come with cameras that take better pictures than many point-and-shoots! If you had told me 10 years ago that I could carry a phone in my pocket that is as powerful as a computer and has a camera on it, I would not have believed you! Yet, here we are!! You can see just as dramatic changes in topics that early childhood educators are studying now compared with what was important 10 years ago! If you're a parent or in an ECE classroom, some of these will probably resonate with you, and if you're just getting started in the field they are critical topics to be informed about and have opinions on!

Here are 10 trending topics that ECE teachers are studying today that they wouldn’t have 10 years ago, according to ChildCare Education Institute, and ways that you can use CCEI to learn more about those topics: 

1- Children on Devices: In the 80's we discussed, wondered, and researched how healthy television was for kids. Now technology has found its way into almost every aspect of our children's lives. Is this healthy? Is it safe? Your opinions on these issues will determine how you structure your day and what activities your kiddos will do. CCEI’s (CHD103: The Child’s Digital Universe: Technology and Digital Media in Early Childhood) online course shares the latest research and recommendations regarding children's use of technology and digital media and ways in which digital devices are reshaping childhood and early childhood education. 

2- STEM and Robotics: Children are growing up in an increasingly digital world, and technology, coding and robotics in schools are getting a lot of attention. Young children LOVE both STEM and robots! There are a lot of learning activities you can do to help encourage that love and teach topics that your kids are already excited about. Did you know that there are robotics kits designed specifically for young children? CCEI’s course CUR123: Robotics in Early Childhood Education: Hands-On and Playful Approaches explains some of these kits and teaches ways to use robotics to create a hands-on, playful early learning environment! And did you know that you can use art in STEM? CCEI's course CUR113- STEAM: Enhancing STEM Education with the Arts includes a variety of art activities and teaches you to integrate them into STEM learning!

3- Trauma Informed Care: Trauma is not a new topic, but some of the social stigma that at one time surrounded mental illness is now being talked about and supported more in our society. ECE providers work with diverse groups of students from all walks of life, and need to be prepared to work with children who have had traumatic experiences. Statistics show that 26% of children living in America will experience some sort of trauma in their life prior to the age of four. CCEI offers SOC108: Establishing Trauma Informed Practices in Early Learning Environments which focuses on ways to incorporate trauma informed practices into the environment and interactions with children. The course explains what trauma is, how it can affect young children, and practical ways to create a safe environment for all children to thrive in. 

4- Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a topic that has been around for a long time, but is becoming more accepted in public spaces. Mindfulness practices can prevent instances of undesired behavior, increase focus and engagement and promote a feeling of ownership and empowerment for children. As an additional benefit, classroom communities tend to be more empathetic and kind. CCEI offers SOC106: The Value of Mindfulness in Early Childhood which explores calming and reflective approaches when working with young children. The course first explains the need and benefits for mindful practices in early childhood, and then includes lots of activity ideas and ways that teachers can immediately implement mindful practices and ways to teach social emotional skills.

5- Spirituality: Dictionaries tell us that spirituality includes non-physical aspects of ourselves like emotions and character topics that can sometimes be challenging to teach preschoolers! CCEI’s CHD109: Supporting Spiritual Development in Early Learning Environments is based upon the work of Deborah Schein, author of the book titled Inspiring Wonder, Awe and Empathy – Spiritual Development in Young Children. The course explores what spiritual development is and why it is important to overall development. Participants will also learn how to create moments within their learning environments that promote spiritual development in young children.

6- Caring for Allergies: Child food allergies are on the rise in the United States and continue to be a public health concern. CCEI’s CCEI119: Food Allergies in the Early Care Setting online course provides an overview of food allergies and basic safety principles to employ in the early care setting. Upon completion of this course, teachers will be able to provide a safe environment for children and staff who suffer from food allergies, identify the eight major food allergens, list the theories associated with the rise in food allergies and identify the importance of food labeling and packaging.

7- Dual-Language Learning: Okay, so this was a big deal 10 years ago, but it's still so important that I had to include it. In some areas, non-native English speakers may make up the majority of a classroom, but even if you only have one dual-language student, it is important to be able to meet his or her needs! All early childhood educators need to be prepared to meet the challenges of guiding a child toward English fluency while maintaining fluency in (and respect for) their home languages and culture. CCEI offers CHD102: Dual Language Learning in the Early Childhood Environment to provide early childhood professionals with strategies and tools for helping young children develop language and early literacy skills in both English and their native language. The course also includes the benefits of dual language and ways to engage the families of children to create rich language development for all children.

8- Attention Disorders: The numbers of preschoolers and other children diagnosed with attention disorders are rising, and both parents and teachers can benefit from a little extra training in this area. CCEI offers courses like SPN102: Attention Deficit Disorders to help child care providers understand the symptoms, sub-types and common treatment strategies associated with attention disorders.  It also includes a wide variety of classroom modifications that can be used to help young children with attention disorders be successful.

9- Diversity and Inclusion: We are seeing more conversations than ever about diversity and inclusion, and it is a wonderful thing--even at the preschool level! CCEI’s CCEI640: Creating a Multicultural Environment online training course helps teachers define the goals of multiculturalism, plan and implement a classroom that avoids bias, incorporate multiculturalism into learning centers and other classroom activities and promote cooperative social skills in diverse classrooms.

10- Bullying in the Classroom: Although bullying has also been around for years, today’s teachers are more proactive about reducing bullying. CCEI’s GUI100: Bullying in the Preschool Environment online course helps teachers bring empathy and compassion to the classroom as a way of reducing bullying behaviors. It also teaches educators how to identify bullying and positive guidance strategies to help both bullies, victims, and other children.

I've shared a lot of information about ChildCare Education Institute's select courses in each of the topics above because they are a wonderful source of accredited, online professional development for teachers and education for parents.

ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI) is the industry leader for online professional development for early childhood educators. You can take individual courses, have a subscription to their entire course catalog for one year, or complete certificate programs with them! a CCEI's courses are super user-friendly, research-based, cover important topics, and always end with a short assessment so you can review everything you just learned. They are instrumental in teaching important ECE information in a friendly and convenient way! And 99% of students would recommend CCEI to others, so you are sure to be in good hands! You can see more details about some of the courses I have personally taken like CCEI122: Active Learning in Early Childhood and CCEI440: Sensational Science or visit the ChildCare Education Institute website to learn more! I have absolutely loved all of the courses I have taken with them and am happy to recommend them to other educators!

Do you have strong feelings about any of these topics? I would love to hear from you! Let's keep the conversations about important issues going!

Disclosure: This article is sponsored by ChildCare Education Institute. As always, you get my real opinions, and I only recommend companies that I love!

Happy Educating,

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!