Institute of Education, National Research University “Higher School of Economics”,
Background. The variety of preschools is one of the primary issues of contemporary early education in Russia. The traditional approach focuses on the transmission of knowledge, patterns of social behavior, and assumes teacher-centered interaction between child and teacher. The developmental approach focuses on developing the child’s abilities and using cultural tools, rather than just transmitting educational content. A comparison of different preschool approaches and outcomes may help in choosing the most suitable one for each child.
Objective. The aim of this study is to identify the connection between approaches in preschool and children’s school readiness.
Our hypothesis is that the traditional approach and the developmental approach provide different school readiness outcomes.
Design. Ninety-two preschool students (51 boys and 41 girls) aged six to seven were involved in this study. These children attended preschools in the western and southwestern districts of Moscow. Six preschool psychologists and teachers were interviewed. The research was conducted between 2011 and 2013.
Results: An empirical study proved that most children achieve a high level of cognitive readiness, can interact with successfully peers, and can control aggression; however, they also have difficulties with cooperative relations with their teacher and with expressing their opinion. A comparison of school readiness outcomes of the traditional and developmental approaches showed that the children who attended a preschool with the developmental approach demonstrated a higher level of school readiness: they are able to ask for help, to coordinate their creative intentions with peers, and to empathize with them. Their self-consciousness is greater than that of their peers who are educated under the traditional approach. Also, they demonstrate a greater voluntary readiness for school. Meanwhile, children who attended preschools with the traditional approach demonstrated а higher level of verbal-logical reasoning.
Keywords: school readiness, traditional preschool approach, developmental preschool approach
It is well-known that communication is the main source and necessity of human development and activity. It promotes social relationships, self-image and a wide range of cognitive and non-cognitive skills. Preschoolers communicate both with their peers and adults. It is traditionally assumed that peer communication greatly depends on the teacher-child interaction, leading role of the adult, and the child’s own activity, which are the main elements of the Russian preprimary education system.
Changes in social situations, reductions in available play time, greater engagement of children in activities and many other factors can affect modern preschoolers’ peer communication. Therefore, the effect of teacher-directed and child-directed teacherchild interactions on preschoolers’ peer communication important to study.
The following methods were applied: peer-communication observation, the behavioral tests ‘Magic room’ and ‘Mosaic’, and the sociometric procedure ‘Two houses’. The sample included 49 Moscow preprimary students aged 4 to 6 year old (25 girls and 24 boys).
The research proved that preschoolers showed better results in child-directed interactions, such as playing skills, compared with a similar situation in which the children were directed by the teachers. Additionally, the level of proactiveness, communication success, conflict resolution, prosocial behavior and emotional response to peer influence did not differ among children.
Thus, the child-directed approach is more beneficial to preschoolers’ communication development than a teacher-directed approach.
Keywords: teacher-child interaction, preschoolers’ peer-communication, peer-communication components, preprimary education