Reflection: Knowing Your Students

Reflection: Knowing Your Students

The learning experiences children bring to the classroom are very important as you develop and implement your curriculum. Constructivist theory does not embrace the “one size fits all” approach to learning, but rather posits that children themselves are the authors of the classroom curriculum. To provide the optimal learning environment for young children, you must tailor your activities and lessons to what the children already know and allow them to guide your intentional teaching. This assignment will prompt you to think critically about not only the developmental milestones for various ages in the cognitive and social-emotional domains, but also about the many influences in each child’s environment that may impact learning.

Articles 1-4 in Growing Minds (Copple, 2012) provide an overview of cognitive development from birth through age eight. Review all four articles, paying close attention to the article that addresses the age level of your students or future students. Next read articles 5, 9, and 10. Article 5 discusses the various influences on children’s approaches to learning while articles 9 and 10 focus on the development of self-regulation and private speech.

Using APA guidelines, write a 2- to 3-page critical reflection based on these readings. Include the following:

Respond to one of the following:
Compare and contrast the developmental level of the students that you currently teach or have taught in the past based on the articles on cognitive development (articles 1, 2, 3 or 4), self-regulation (article 9), and private speech (article 10).
Choose an age or grade level (ages 3 through third grade) and describe the developmental level of your future students based on the articles on cognitive development (articles 1, 2, 3 or 4), self-regulation (article 9), and private speech (article 10).
What influences do your students bring to their learning OR what influences might your future students bring to their learning based on the demographics of the school where you would like to teach (see article 5)?
What intrigued you as you read these articles? Why?
What questions did you formulate as you read the information?
How will you apply this information to your classroom or future classroom?


Early Childhood Curriculum: A Constructivist Perspective (Branscombe, Castle, Dorsey, Surbeck, & Taylor, 2014)

Chapter 3: Learning and the 3 Kinds of Knowledge
Growing Minds: Building Strong Cognitive Foundations in Early Childhood (Copple, 2012)
Note: Pay close attention to the article that addresses the level of your current students:

Cognitive Development in the First Three Years of Life (Zero to Three, 2012), pages 5-12
Cognitive Development in the Preschool Years (Tomlinson & Hyson, 2012), pages 13-24
Cognitive Development in the Kindergarten Year (Tomlinson, 2012), pages 25-32
Cognitive Development in the Primary Grades (Tomlinson, 2012), pages 33-40
Becoming Enthusiastic and Engaged (Hyson, 2012), pages 41-62
Recognizing and Supporting the Development of Self-Regulation (Bronson, 2012), pages 97-104
Thinking Out Loud: Development of Private Speech and the Implications for School Success and Self-Control (Bailey & Brookes, 2012), pages 105-110

Theories of Learning (CustomTeach, 2009) [Video] [Transcript]

Overview of Learning Theories (Berkeley Graduate Division: GSI Teaching and Research Center, n.d.) [Website]
NAEYC & NAECS/SDE. (2003). Where we stand on curriculum, assessment, and program evaluation [PDF]. Retrieved from
NAEYC. (2003). Early childhood curriculum, assessment, and program evaluation: Building an effective, accountable system in programs for children birth through age 8 [PDF]. Retrieved from

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