both social competence and the ability to exploit learning opportunities.

Furthermore, research on early childhood curricula and pedagogy has implications for how early childhood programs can effectively promote development:

  • Cognitive, social-emotional (mental health), and physical development are complementary, mutually supportive areas of growth all requiring active attention in the preschool years. Social skills and physical dexterity influence cognitive development, just as cognition plays a role in children’s social understanding and motor competence. All are therefore related to early learning and later academic achievement and are necessary domains of early childhood pedagogy.

  • Responsive interpersonal relationships with teachers nur ture young children’s dispositions to learn and their emerging abilities. Social competence and school achievement are influenced by the quality of early teacher-child relationships, and by teachers’ attentiveness to how the child approaches learning.

  • While no single curriculum or pedagogical approach can be identified as best, children who attend well-planned, high- quality early childhood programs in which curriculum aims are specified and integrated across domains tend to learn more and are better prepared to master the complex demands of formal schooling. Particular findings of relevance in this regard include the following:

  1. Children who have a broad base of experience in domain-specific knowledge (for example, in mathematics or an area of science) move more rapidly in acquiring more complex skills

  2. More extensive language development—such as a rich vocabulary and listening comprehension—is related to early literacy learning.

  3. Children are better prepared for school when early childhood programs expose them to a variety of classroom structures, thought processes, and discourse patterns. This does not mean adopting the methods and curriculum of the elementary school; rather it is a matter of providing children with a mix of whole



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