10 Common Principles of Early Years Education
By Professor Tina Bruce
- The best way to prepare children for their adult life is to give them what they need as children
- Children are whole people who have feelings, ideas and relationships with others, and who need to be physically, mentally, morally and spiritually healthy.
- Subjects such as mathematics and art cannot be separated; young children learn in an integrated way and not in neat, tidy compartments.
- Children learn best when they are given appropriate responsibility, allowed to make errors, decisions and choices, and respected as autonomous learners.
- Self-discipline is emphasised. Indeed, this is the only kind of discipline worth having. Reward systems are very short-term and do not work in the long-term. Children need their efforts to be valued.
- There are times when children are especially able to learn particular things.
- What children can do (rather that what they cannot do) is the starting point of a child’s education.
- Imagination, creativity and all kinds of symbolic behaviour (reading, writing, drawing, dancing, music, mathematical numbers, algebra, role play and talking) develop and emerge when conditions are favourable.
- Relationships with other people (both adults and children) are of central importance in a child’s life.
- Quality education is about three things: the child, the context in which learning takes place, and the knowledge and understanding which the child develops and learns.
“Early Childhood Education”, Tina Bruce, Hodder and Stroughton, 1987