As a busy preschool teacher, it can be difficult to stay on top of trends in early childhood education while you’re focused on teaching and nurturing your young flock and balancing the pressures of complying with various administrative mandates thrown your way.
The industry is evolving, and it is essential for educators to evolve with it to serve their students best and to foster engagement with classroom parents and guardians too.
Thankfully, you don’t have to scour the internet for the latest relevant trends because we’ve done the legwork for you.
We’ve mapped out an overview of current trends in early childhood education so you’ll know what to look out for, along with links to further resources and studies and professional development options to increase your knowledge and readiness.
THE BIG PICTURE
Early mental health awareness: Of the many conversations the pandemic forced onto our collective plates, mental health has surely been top of mind as one of the foremost trends in early childhood education, especially as in-person learning got us all back together. Young children are no exception to feeling the emotional and mental upheaval of isolation, social distancing, and a changed home life dynamic. What is your role as a teacher? You can be a true beacon, the first line of defense as teachers. The National Institute of Mental Health offers some tips on identifying the potential signs of mental health issues in young children to help you navigate one of the most complicated current trends in early childhood education.
Early literacy: The trend toward teaching preschoolers the fundamentals of literacy will continue, following the mantra that it’s never too early to begin academic-style learning. Leading to another time-tested educational adage: literacy is the gateway to learning. The U.S. Department has an easy three-step recommendation for boosting early literacy in your classroom: talk, read, and sing together. Plenty of online resources offer detailed tips for implementing one of the most engaging and interactive current trends in early childhood education.
Technology, technology, technology: Technology is one of the trends in early childhood education that’s not trendy – i.e., it’s not a fad or flash in the pan. The latest advances in technology will continue to transform the average preschool setting, so there’s plenty of incentive to boost your technology acumen as a teacher while staying ahead of the curve. Think of it as opening Pandora’s Box in a good way, as technology allows greater access to an ever-expanding range of online educational tools for your students – and you’ll be the master of these tools.
This leads us directly to…
THE HI-DEF PICTURE
Remote/hybrid learning: While the pandemic necessitated remote/distance learning in many areas, it also showcased the capabilities and, unfortunately, the vulnerabilities of teaching students via video conferencing. According to Education Week, remote learning is here to stay, but it needs to improve. What is more likely, save for another pandemic or similar disaster, is a shift to hybrid learning models for preschoolers, meaning that some remote learning days are built into the in-person schedule – we’re already seeing this in coastal districts that are impacted by severe weather. This is, of course, a monumental challenge for preschool teachers, but thankfully the National Association of State Boards of Education has updated its policy for Remote Learning in Early Childhood Education to provide an effective model for school boards and educators.
Artificial Intelligence: With Artificial Intelligence (AI) helping your banking transactions via virtual assistants and getting you a quote on car insurance, it’s no surprise to discover AI tools being increasingly utilized in the area of early childhood education. The intent, of course, is to enhance the development and learning of young children and aid in teaching as well. And since it is one of the most prolific technology trends in early childhood education, it is imperative that AI is on your radar as a preschool educator. Introducing children to AI at a young age boosts their readiness for STEM, which in turn cultivates their overall academic growth.
Mobile Device Use/Apps: It’s not simply computers and smart boards; technology trends in early education are also taking advantage of those on-the-go devices that have become ubiquitous with adults – tablets and apps. Your district or school may have recommended and/or approved apps that can be used in your classroom, but there are many more resources available of the best educational apps for kids, some of which are appropriate for preschool-aged children.
THE CONTINUING PICTURE
Now, it’s time for some homework. For further reading, here are some scholarly works, studies, and other resources related to trends in early childhood education, as well as technology trends in early childhood education.
Want an easier way to keep up with current trends in early childhood education, including technology trends?
If this article has piqued your interest and you’re ready to invest in furthering your education, consider taking one, or several, of our courses designed to help preschool professionals keep pace with current trends in early childhood education. That includes:
- Coding in Early Childhood Education, which provides you with an understanding of how to support young children’s learning of coding and computational thinking through hands-on, playful, and creative ways. Additionally, you will learn what coding is and how it can be used to support self-expression and creativity during the foundational early childhood years.
- Robotics In Early Childhood Education: Hands-On and Playful Approaches, which provides you with an understanding of the benefits of using educational robotics kits in early childhood settings. The course explores foundational facts about robotics, programming, and engineering, and you will also discover ways to incorporate robotics activities to support creativity, play, and hands-on learning in your classroom.
- Technology and Social Media Policy in the Early Care and Education Environment, which examines the impact of digital technologies, the Internet, and social media on the early care and education environment and offers recommended strategies and best practices for using technological tools.
If you want to stay up to date on trends in early childhood education, CCEI has you covered with a catalog of 150+ online courses that can be accessed 24/7/365. Visit CCEI online to learn more about our entire range of offerings so you can be the best educator possible!