An NAEYC Online Event
Ann Epstein responded to your questions and comments during an online event from February 21–25, 2011. Read the questions and Epstein's responses below!
The debate about how to teach young children pits supporters of child-initiated learning (where children choose their own activities and carry them out in their own way) against supporters of adult-directed instruction (where activities are planned and controlled by the teacher). While the controversy has raged for decades, government initiatives and the push for accountability have heightened divisions among policymakers, educators, parents, corporate interests, and the press.
Intentional teaching involves planning—having a goal and a means to accomplish it. Intentional teaching can also be serendipitous—taking advantage of unexpected opportunities. That means teachers must not only be child development experts in general, they must also understand the specific knowledge and skills appropriate for children to master in content areas such as literacy and mathematics, social and emotional development, physical development, and the creative arts.