Early Childhood Education: Policies, Principles and Practices

Early Childhood Education (ECE) is the teaching of children of ages up to eight years.

Early Childhood Education (ECE) aims to engage students in learning about developmentally and culturally appropriate experiences and practices for young children that foster their overall development. It caters to the age group of 3 to 8 years, comprising the preschool and early primary years of schooling. The four courses offered in the ECE area will draw upon the distinctive nature of curricular and pedagogical knowledge required for working with this age group, the principles and policies that build the understanding of the domain, and discourses such as care and inclusion in the early years. The courses will introduce the students to the domain of ECE, address the critical importance of early years in development, the curricular and pedagogical strategies for this age group, and policies and perspectives related to ECE. The significance of care and diversity in early years’ development will be emphasised throughout the courses. Emergent skills in literacy and numeracy and preparation of young children for schooling, will form significant components of the courses. This will help students develop capabilities to work with young children as well as with practitioners, parents and the community involved in various capacities with the education of young children.

The first course titled Early Childhood Education: Principles, Perspectives and Policies introduce students to the domain of ECE- the significance of early years, the historical trends, emerging perspectives and principles that govern the field of ECE, as well as major policies and programmes such as the ICDS. In the second set of two courses titled Curriculum and Pedagogy in Early Years Part 1 and Part 2, students will build on their knowledge of the theories related to different developmental domains and its implication for curriculum and pedagogy, with an emphasis on the role of play and the use of environment in enabling activity based learning. Students will also critically examine the various approaches and models of curriculum planning. Emergent literacy and numeracy skills along with other curricular and pedagogical linkages between pre-primary and primary education in mathematics, language and EVS will be introduced. The courses will help students reflect on the purpose, nature and design of curriculum plan and assessment for children’s learning and development.

The final course titled Planning and Management of Early Childhood Centres will familiarise students with different kinds of centre-based programmes such as crèches/​day cares, Anganwadis, Balwadis, private preschools and centres run by voluntary organizations. The course will elucidate the principles and processes of planning and managing these centres. Students will engage with field practitioners to understand the annual and everyday processes of an ECE setting, role and preparedness of various personnel and the community in functioning of the centres. Further, students will engage in material development for young children drawing upon the principles of learning, development, curriculum and material design for young children.