Preparation of Instructional Strategies for Early Childhood Educators in Punjab,Pakistan

Written by admin on October 1st, 2011


Early Childhood is an age, which is denoted differently by different educationists, psychologists, scholars and scientists. To some, it consists of the age three to six (Sahu &Wikipedia) and to some, it spans the human life from birth to age eight (NAEYC). Whatever the duration may be, these are the years, in which all aspects of one’s personality are developed, i.e. physical, mental, emotional, social, linguistic, analytical and creative. Over eighty percent of the human personality, including its attitude and aptitude is shaped before the age of six (Sahu, 2004). Fifty percent of the intelligence measured at age seventeen, is achieved by age four (Bloom).

ECE prepares children for the primary. It lays the foundation for the development of reading, writing and number work. It encourages interaction with the environment, participation in-group activities and enhances creativity and problem solving in children. ECE is a combination of moral, intellectual and social lessons for physical, mental, social, emotional and linguistic growth and development of early childhood age children.

The role of the teacher in ECE is significant, as he is responsible to make the children ready for schooling and providing base for the child’s complete development. Froebel compared the child to a seed and likened the teachers or caregivers to gardeners. The teachers have two functions according to Harlen, i.e. encouraging the child’s curiosity and provide real learning activities.

At this stage, there is coordination between what the children want to do and what he is able to do. The role of early childhood educators is to encourage each child’s development by accepting their prior experiences. They need to observe constantly the children’s growth patterns and development of the motor skills in them and employ different kinds of plays.
According to Piaget’s description, the children during the age level of 2 to 6 are pre-operational. His approach Social Constructivism emphasizes the active role of the children in constructing their own understanding. According to Vygotsky, the role of the adults in cognitive development of the children is much more important rather the activities of the children chosen by themselves. Early childhood educators should lead children’s learning by giving them chance to learn what they may not be able to learn by themselves.
During these years, the children’s interactions within themselves and with the elders, as well as teachers take on new dimensions. Much of the play is decided through interaction and negotiation. They need to have solitary as well as cooperative play. Many educators emphasize the provision of playing opportunities for social and emotional development of the children. They should be given open ended experiences, choices at mealtimes and flexibility in indoor / outdoor experiences (Arthur et all, 1998). Educators should be aware of the development of the concepts in the children. Individual differences and diversity should be positively handled.
The language is taught from the time the first the child enters the class room in the morning until the last child goes home. The teacher teaches both directly, through activities and experiences and indirectly through her own speech, language and behavior. (Preface, Mathew, 2005).
Much of the understanding of moral values during this age level is based on the notion of fairness. Meaning that what is considered to be fair and good is morally acceptable. Negotiation not only enhances children’s ability to solve problems but also encourages them to adopt the perspectives of others.

According to Ministry of Education (2006) objectives of early childhood education are, i.e. to develop child potential to learn and grow, provide an appropriate environment ensuring safety, use play way method and concrete experience in teaching and learning, prepare a child for formal schooling and to develop awareness of basic cultural values and norms.

Importance of Early Childhood Education

ECE assists many at risk children in avoiding poor outcomes such as dropping out of the school. Global Monitoring Report on Education For All(2005) reports:

“Good quality ECE not only enhances children’s physical well being, cognitive and language skills, social and emotional development, but also lays the foundations for subsequent education.”

ECE develops in children the love for knowledge, activity and questioning. They are encouraged to do things themselves. They are prepared for the school life. Learning opportunities in early childhood provide benefits by promoting later achievement in school and further life long learning.
Early years are critical in the formation of intelligence, personality, social and physical development. These years lay the foundation of all these aspects, which will persist through the life course. (woodhead, 2006). Early year’s brain development influences the long term cognition, imagination, behaviors and skills of the individuals. (Mustard, 2002). Early childhood has been described as the key investment phase in improving outcomes through out the life course (Hunzai, 2007).

In Pakistan, Islamic or Quranic education is emphasized from an early age. This education is imparted through three modes i.e., formal, non-formal; and informal either in mosques, madrassahs or at home. Even in the farthest areas, Quranic education is considered to be “compulsory” by tradition and an effective way to inculcate moral values and teach life skills at an early age. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of children in the age group 4-10 years receive Islamic education in this way.

ECE has existed in Pakistan since 1970s in formal primary schools. In public schools, the qualification required for teaching in katchi class is the same as that for primary school i.e., higher secondary education certificate with one-year teaching certificate. In Katchi Classes, a part of the class one curriculum of the National Curriculum is taught. The Teachers Resource Center (TRC) which has developed the national ECE curriculum has been engaged to provide support to teachers’ training and classroom material development and distribution of ‘taleemi bastas’, learning kits for ECE and early primary years.

 A study by Juma(2004) shows that, children were taught in a traditional way with the teacher standing at a blackboard directing the children. Rote memorization was encouraged. In the private sector there were early childhood provisions, which mainly used Montessori approaches fulfilling only to the needs of the elite and the upper-middle class of the society.  It is observed that the teachers do not involve themselves in teaching. Some times, they do not know the principles of growth and development of children. Often, they do not try to attract the children to teaching learning process. They just give lesson to the children and order them to memorize these words without understanding. It is very boring, especially for this age level children, as, this is the age to play with toys, enjoy the company of the peers, imitate the elders and make things themselves.

Private work in ECE is comparatively hopeful with reference to the achievements of the public sector. Children’s Resource International (CRI); the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF); the Teachers’ Resource Centre (TRC) and the College of Home Economics, Lahore have developed various kinds of teaching and learning aids such as blocks, charts, posters, handbooks, flashcards, teachers’ guides; planners; teachers’ kits; etc.

Pakistan is committed to the Dakar Framework of Action, adopted in an international conference on “Education for All”, held in 2000 A.D at Dakar. The first goal was to expand and improve comprehensive early child hood care and education for all children, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children. Pakistan accepted this challenge and formulated National Plan of Action (NPA) in 2001. Punjab government has also invested in ECE out of its own budget in its Provincial Plan of Action in 2003. The focus is on providing ECE by means of material resources, but the role of teacher in ECE is very much important, and it is being neglected. For the first time, government has contributed separate attention to it in the National Education Policy, 1998-2010 and in 2009 policy as well.

Theories regarding early childhood education


The theories already in vogue all over the world for ECE have all the basics to prepare instructional strategies for early childhood education. The most common theories are, Behaviorist orientation (Locke, Skinner etc), Maturations orientation (Rousseau, Freud, etc) and Constructivist orientation (Dewey, Piaget and Montessori). (Dopyera, 1993).The behaviorist orientation works employing principles of reinforcement i.e., positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, non reinforcement, and punishment. Maturation orientation works employing principles of growth and development and Constructivist orientation works keeping cognitive structure of students in concern.

According to Carten &Allen(2003)

“The foundation for all curricula is developmental theory or beliefs about how children develop and learn. These beliefs guide our view of teaching and supporting children as learners”.

Ref: Jack man H.L(2005).

According to Siddiqi, theoretical perspectives for ECE are 1) Maturationist, 2)Learning and 3)Interactionist. Here is an insight into these theories:

Theoretical perspectives

Curriculum objectives

Curriculum content

Instructional techniques

Key concepts

Thinkers of this theory



Social, moral and cognitive development. preparation for the

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