NAEYC Standard 6 Descriptors
The NAEYC standard 6 provides support to teaching staff to promote professionalism, knowledge, and educational qualifications which are required to foster children’s learning and their development, as well as the support of diverse needs and interests in families. Teachers need to understand the children they work with and their family backgrounds in order to provide the necessary support for their academic growth. For this to happen, educational institutions offering early childhood education need to have teachers who are specifically prepared, and have the requisite knowledge and skills in early childhood education and child development. Such teachers are more likely to offer stronger positive interactions to the students, to enhance the richness of language experiences and to develop quality learning environments for the children they work with. Standard 6 from the NAEYC standards provides specific descriptors that ought to be looked out for in order to ensure that teachers possess the necessary educational and professional training to work with children in early development.
Standard 6 Descriptors and how they are conveyed
Standard 6 descriptors mainly cover the expectations that teachers should deliver within an early childhood classroom. According to NAEYC (2019) the first descriptor is that teachers need to identify with and involve themselves with the early childhood field. This descriptor implies that early childhood teachers ought to consider themselves as part of that field and thus be completely immersed in the goings-on in the field. Accordingly, the teachers would not only be trained in early childhood education, but would also demonstrate individual and innate interest in working with the children. Secondly, the teachers should be knowledgeable about the ethical standards and other professional guidelines of early childhood education. Understanding the ethical standards and professional guidelines can help the teachers to align their behaviors with the professional expectations. The ethical standards provide a guideline on what to do and what not to do. The third descriptor is that teachers should engage in continuous and collaborative learning through the use of technology with the children, peers as well as using technology as a professional resource.
Another descriptor relates to the use of knowledgeable, reflective and critical perspectives in early childhood education (NAEYC, 2019). Early childhood education can be challenging in that teachers are required to not only be knowledgeable, but also to apply reflectivity and critical thinking in making decisions that would affect others. Early childhood educators often act as the decision makers in their early childhood classes, and they should have sufficient capacity to apply wisdom and critical thinking. The application of critical thinking could also promote the achievement of the fifth stage, which is to engage in informed advocacy for the young children as well as the early childhood profession. Advocacy can only bear fruit if conducted in a knowledgeable manner and from a background of information, without which the teachers may find it difficult to communicate to students and to other professionals.
There are specific activities that can be used within the classroom setting to realize each of the descriptors to early childhood education. Identifying and involving oneself with the field can be achieved through constant interactions with the students at the receiving end, engagement in the actual activities that students are practicing, and accessing further trainings on early childhood education can also help to develop greater skills in the teacher to work with children. Knowing about and upholding ethical standards on the other hand could be achieved through reading to refresh the mind about the ethical standards, practicing favorable classroom management practices such as in handling negative behavior, and promoting professionalism in coordinating and communication with the students. The third descriptor can be achieved through in-service training of teachers to further develop their skills in dealing with children; use of emerging technologies to disseminate educational materials; and fostering classroom discussions about recommended practices on child care. Activities that require creativity, information sharing and motivation can help the teachers towards achieving the fourth descriptor. The use of practices such as positive reinforcement is also recommended as part of the factors that can help teachers to focus on the integration of knowledge, critical thinking and early childhood education in the existing business relationship. The last focus can be achieved through development of programs to enable children recognize their progress in early childhood learning. Additionally, teachers may also initiate inter-disciplinary panels that foster talent growth among young children within the early childhood education setting.
Early childhood education requires the consideration of multiple sources of knowledge and understanding. Through the NAEYC standards, early childhood educators can build sufficient skills and capability to foster child development. Standard 6 offers a description of different aspects that need to be pursued by early childhood education providers, to enable them not only share knowledge with the young children, but also to continuously grow them into better performing early childhood educators. Reviewing the five subsets (descriptors), it is clear that certain activities can boost performance in different aspects of early childhood growth and development.
NAEYC (2019). The 10 NAEYC program standards. National Association for the Education of Young Children. Retrieved from www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/10-naeyc-program-standards#6