Sosyal Bilgileri Okul Öncesi Dönem Çocuklarıyla Deneyimlemek: Erken Çocukluk Döneminde Sosyal Bilgiler Eğitiminin Önemini Gözden Geçirme
AuthorŞükran Uçuş Güldalı
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Sosyal bilgiler eğitimi geleceğin etkin ve nitelikli vatandaşlarını yetiştirme açısından büyük bir öneme sahiptir. Sürdürülebilir ve kalıcı bir sosyal bilgiler eğitimi için küçük yaşlardan itibaren farkındalık kazanılması, bilgi, beceri ve tutumlara sahip olunması eğitimi daha nitelikli hale getirir. Erken çocuklukta (okul öncesi) sosyal bilgiler eğitimi sosyal gelişim alanından beslenerek; tarih, coğrafya, vatandaşlık vb. birçok disiplini içinde barındıran bütüncül bir eğitim alanıdır. Okul öncesi dönem çocuklarıyla (3 yaş - 7 yaş) sosyal bilgileri deneyimlemek ve öğretim sürecinde dâhil etmek Türk okul öncesi eğitim alanında yeni bir disiplindir.Çocukların sosyal alanla ilgili birçok beceri ve yeterliği kazandırmayı amaçlayabilir. Sosyal bilgiler eğitimi için okul öncesi programının; günlük yaşamla ve bireylerin önceki yaşantılarıyla kolaylıkla bağ kurulabilen sarmal bir yaklaşımda olması, disiplinlerarası, tematik ve proje temelli çalışma için elverişli eklektik bir yapıya sahip olması önemli dinamikler olarak ifade edilebilir. Sosyal gelişim alanı kapsamında sosyal bilgiler eğitiminin küçük çocuklar için sosyal becerileri, vatandaşlık becerileri, ulusal ve evrensel değerleri, temel tarih, coğrafya ve vatandaşlık farkındalığı kazandırma gibi önemli bir alanlara hizmet etmektedir.Bu bağlamda kapsamlı bir şekilde ulusal ve uluslararası literatür taraması yöntemiyle erken çocuklukta sosyal bilgiler eğitimi; eğitim programı, eğitimsel yaklaşımlar, öğretmenin rolü, çevre ve sınıf ortamı, materyal ve kaynaklar, değerlendirme boyutları okul öncesi eğitiminin temel dinamikleri ve ilkeleri kapsamında ele alınarak değerlendirilmiştir. Erken çocuklukta sosyal bilgiler eğitimi uygulamaya ilişkin erken çocukluk sosyal bilgiler yeterlikleri ve becerilerinin tanımlanması, konuya ilişkin öğretmen yeterliklerinin artırılıp güçlendirilmesi, uygulama ilişkin deneysel çalışmaların ve eğitim modüllerinin artırılması öneriler olarak ifade edilebilirSocial studies are daily life experiences for young children. The early years are the ideal time for children to understand democratic norms and values (justice, equality, etc.) in terms of smaller entities (the family, classroom, community). Implementing these concepts to nationally and the globally could be easier (Melendez, Beck & Fletcher, 2000; Odhiambo, Nelson, ve Chrisman, 2016). During the preschool years, social studies instruction is most often related to social competence. Children’s knowledge of social studies builds on and is integrated with the development of social skills which are taught and learned through everyday events in the classroom. This build competence and confidence in working in a group (Odhiambo, Nelson, & Chrisman, 2016). Social studies are a discipline brings important content-development of self in the social world, appreciation for civic responsibility and processes that foster lifelong learning which is also daily life experience for young children. From preschool to primary-aged children, the social studies serve an especially important function through the critical years, when the tone is set for each child’s and family’s interface with the system of school. The goals of social studies education are defined such as individual development, social civic competence, knowledge based concept, of social reality, appreciation and respect for human diversity, global citizenship (Melendez, Beck & Fletcher, 2000; Mindes, 2008; Odhiambo, Nelson, & Chrisman, 2016). Schools have responsibilities not only to help prepare children with competencies but also, to become effective citizens, they must also possess the knowledge, skills, and civic virtues necessary to become active participants in the world of the 21st century. The survival of our democratic society depends upon a citizenry who care for their country and for humanity itself (Maxim, 1999). The preschool–primary years, the big ideas derive from topics related to self, family, and community (Mindes, 2005, pp. 2). National Council for Social Studies (NCSS) defined the scope of and sequence for social studies in the early grades: (1) Kindergarten: Awareness of self in the social setting, (2) First grade: The individual in school and family life, (3) Second grade: The neighborhood (4) Third grade: Sharing the earth with others in the community. Through this scope for early grades, The NCSS also organized social studies content around 10 large themes such as culture; time continuity and change; people, places, and environments; individual development and identity; individuals, groups, and institutions; power, authority, and governance; production, distribution, and consumption; science, technology, and society; global connections; and civic ideals and practices (Maxim, 1999; Mindes, 2005, 2008). It is a guideline for teachers in planning social studies lessons for young children by selecting appropriate content. Teachers need to depend on children’s previous experiences, developmental stages, and skills while planning social studies learning-teaching process. The process of teaching and learning in social studies include all of the various data-gathering, information processing and data -presentation skills, knowledge, and dispositions which shape “school success” and develop citizenship in order to the rich diverse social context in family, school, community settings for young children (Melendez, Beck & Fletcher, 2000). Based on NCSS and NAEYC, guidelines have been indicated for teachers of young children that encourage the use of developmentally appropriate practices to teach the important skills, values and concepts regarding the inherentin the social studies (Melendez, Beck & Fletcher, 2000). The principle of Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky forms the theoratical base and frame for early childhodd educators to teach by the constructivist approach in the social studies. Teaching young children is a comprehensive and complex task. In the context of teaching social studies for young children, promoting early social awareness must be main principle which includes young children’s sense of space and location through orienting primarily toward what is close and familiar, and they are exposed at an earlier age and with greater frequency to people and events at distant and remote places. In order to scaffold young children’s early awaraness, exposuring to the media and the sharing of ideas from parents and family members are two elements which are responsible for this earlier awaraness about other people in other locations (Melendez, Beck & Fletcher, 2000; Mindes 2008; Odhiambo, Nelson & Chrisman, 2016). This paper was constructed with main components of learning -teaching process regarding social studies such as the curriculum, educational approach, the role of teacher, school environment, learning materials and tools, assessment and evaluation by reviewing literature in a comprehensive method. The curriculum in early childhood education can support children to solve school and classroom issues as well as neighborhood and community problems in related social studies. While early childhood educators are planning social studies activities, they have responsibility to build on young children’s capacities for activities which are depend on children’s prior experiences and life events to match children’s integrated personal, social, and physical experiences with adult understandings of broader social issues and concepts (Melendez, Beck ve Fletcher, 2000; Wallace, 2005). The implementing of curriculum related to social studies content may be demanding challenge. The characteristics of children at early childhood period (Ages 3-Ages 6), have diversity and unique features, so teaching strategies/ approaches need to be selected appropriately and specially (Mindes 2014; Odhiambo, Nelson, & Chrisman, 2016; Wallace, 2005). Integrated/thematic approach, the project based approach, and learning centers are three key developmentally appropriate approach strategies as well ase many other strategies that also apply for teaching young children. Moreover the the content of social studies focus on the concepts of selfundesrtanding with activities to promote development of self confidence and control, social awareness, physical and social competence. In that sense, teachers should take consider developmental differences when they select theme to plan activities or they conduct projects (Melendez, Beck & Fletcher, 2000; Mindes, 2008). Content/ Themes/ Projects can be found in a variety of sources such as the curriculum, reflection and suggestions from children based on their experiences and interests, the local community, current events, different places in the local community, county, region, world, families (traditions, beliefs and so on). Typical preschool social studies themes are like “Who am I?, Who is my family?, How does my family play?, What work does my family do/How does my family celebrate?, What are my family traditions?, What kinds of houses are in my neigbourhood?, Where dooes our food come from?”. The teacher’s role is to create opportunities by providing resources and materials and foster children’s interest and help organize their interest into valuable investigations. When it comes to the role of the teacher in social studies classes at preschool period, a teacher who must have deep knowledgable about local and world issues, flexible and divergent thinking skills, open-minded temperament to new ideas, and capability of making connection by using multiple perspectives in the context of constructivits teaching approach. The main value of this paper lies in its suggestions for practice and the potential for adaptations for the Turkish early childhood education system. Social studies which is a new discipline in Turkish early childhood education and it has highlighted best practices for improving services and empowering children’s social outcomes and competence. There is a growing interest teaching social studies for young children in the context of Turkish early childhood education (Akhan & Şimşek Çetin, 2015; Aktın, 2014, 2017; Aktın & Dilek, 2014; Coşkun-Keskin & Daysal-Ersoy, 2012; CoşkunKeskin & Kırtel, 2012; Tuğrul & Güler, 2007). The paper should be of interest to readers in the areas of social studies, planning social studies for transition from preschool to elementary education, social studies and common good for social characteristics impact on early childhood education, development of children’s social- emotional learning. This paper’s contribution can be looked over from some points of view. First, this study drew attention to children’s social learning and social competence as outcomes of social studies. Second, with social studies being an important bridge between self, family and school, community. This study aimed to extend the understanding of social studies by considering children characteristic, home and parent-level variables in a broader perspective. Third, it is expected, this paper will inspire teachers, parents, and policy makers alike to rethink the real nature and purpose of social studies in early childhood education so that implications for practice are especially highlighted. Besides it is expected to turn out a new page and perspective by demystifying of dynamics in social studies education for young children.