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The Middle East Culture
Naomi Yang 09/19/2019 01:38 AM CST

 

In the U.S., there is no uniform system of preschool education. It is organized within the framework of various short-term or long-term programs to solve specific tasks. The program is understood as a system of meaningful measures in order to achieve a particular goal. In the U.S., there is a variety of programs for preschoolers. As a rule, these are programs concentrated on reducing the impact of stressors on children and ensuring their development.

Firstly, ways that staff can engage with the children and their families and demonstrate an appreciation of their background today is actually the task of the US preschool program that is aimed at interacting with parents, whose children have special needs or are unsuccessful in schooling. As we deal with teaching pre-school children of 3-5 year olds at an international schoo,l we must pay attention to that fact that they belong to the Middle East Culture, which influences, to a great extend, their behavior and, what is more important, their understanding the language, as some of the families are recent immigrants who do not yet speak English (while others come from backgrounds who have been in the U.S. for generations). That is why we are to make the parents of these children along with teachers to be involved in the development of individual plans for a child's development, as well as evaluate and approve it.

Secondly, the primary focus on the comprehensiveness we made presupposed the use of some important components that were necessary for the preschool classroom. Education of a pre-school period includes many new elements, such as for two to three year-olds children to learn to speak and understand the speech of others. For the development of these skills it is crucial theassure the constant help from their parents. As we have a case when parents do not know the language well, it becomes vital to organize a co-work between them and kindergarten that provides parents with information about child development. Periodically there is a need to organize meetings between parents and teachers, which are supported by a mail message and the web-site of the kindergarten. Such interaction also includes parent’s participation in the work of the pre-school establishments, in extra-curricular activities. They read to children, teach them how to knit or draw, assist in the organization of classes, participate in harvesting and other activities. In kindergarten, parents can get information about the curriculum to train children and opportunities for the implementation of this plan at home.

Thirdly, in order to understand children from that background we are to research the history and culture of that the “Middle Eastern” dimension as a category and study how race or gender issues factor into the description and consider how this “group” might be misrepresented, misunderstood, or ignored in U.S. early childhood programs.

In the Muslim Middle East programs, children they see the connection between the past, present and the future. In contrast to the more industrialized regions of the world here, traditions define a family life and child-rearing principles. Big family prevails as the unit of society; it shapes the values, discipline, and behavior, economic and social support. In exchange for a safe gap from the cradle to the grave of such a system is a large family, of which the early childhood requires all its members be of conformity and loyalty. However, with the industrialization of the Middle East and their entry into the global economic system, the traditional family culture adapts to the new conditions of life. Today, children from affluent urban families enjoy the benefits of school education, modern healthcare, and many other benefits of modern civilization.

The development of educational thought in the Mid-Eastern culture was noted to be the seal of Islam. Qur'an spiritual values determined religious and moral principles of upbringing and education. These principles were as follows: faith in God and honoring one's parents. The religious and moral training of the mind is undivided. It was believed that a good Muslim can become that by embracing the Qur'an and mastered the secular norms of the hostel, and the religious and moral norms took precedence over intellectual. The most expensive gift for parents is a good education of their children. An important feature of Islam is the assumption of polygamy. Parenting in a polygamous family had its own characteristics, mainly due to the relationship of wives and their children. The conflicts in the family should settle a husband, and he could do it very tough. 

It is clear, that our task is to help children from Mid-Eastern families to manage with the process of socialization when children start to learn and internalize the rules and patterns of behavior of their culture; later, this process will involve the knowledge and mastery of social and cultural norms, attitudes and beliefs. Here we also deal with acculturation that refers to the process of adaptation (and in many cases, learning) to a different culture (in our case to American), different from the one in which man was formed. Word of acculturation is usually used in connection with immigration; this asuumes- moving from one country to another and adapting to life in a "foreign" culture.

Here people, institutions, and social institutions that exist to ensure the passage of the socialization process fulfill the role of agents of socialization. The first and most important of these agents become parents. They help to implement in the minds of children the moral and cultural values, develop already learned and correct errors in the behavior of children. Parents, however, are not the only agents of socialization. This process involves a school, church, and community organizations.

As we have a difficult case, when children live in a family of a different culture and study at school with students from different background, a teacher must design such activities, which will educate other children about students from this background. We are to suggest some ways that this culture should be addressed throughout the standard curriculum including specific recommendations for ESL learners. Firstly, we take into consideration, that children are very susceptible to space; they act in response to many kinds: open spaces and small spaces, big spaces or cozy spaces and hidden private spaces. The right kind of space creates activity, imagination, and educational opportunities. It is also certain, that children remember places far better than they remember people and things . That is why our first step is to create a successful ECE facilities in order to foster learning and stimulate the child. We suggest to divide our classroom into several areas, for learning – with elementary school archetype and two areas for games and rest. The first one we design in a way it will remember children from the Mid-Eastern families their culture and the second with the American environments. We also will use such different areas in order to introduce children these cultures and teach them how to live in these two environments. For this purpose, we are to use a game.

The reason it is the most successful choice is that the period between two and six years is characterized by the prevailing such an activity as game. Swiss psychologist Piaget (1896-1980) drew attention to the fact that the first children's games include sensory-motor pleasure and research. The pleasure is not difficult to notice when a child plays with a soft surface, runs and jumps, repeats the same type of game or with their parents says funny sounds and poems. That is why for small children we are to suggest such kind of games.

Then comes the important period of play - the imagination, or 'symbolic play. A little later comes "play by the rules", starting and ending with the hide and seek games of chance in the "funny money" on the street or board games like chess or "monopoly" of the house. To develop the ability to imagine themselves in different roles and empathize with another, to expand the child's vocabulary and the ability to tell time is also very important to use a role play.

Among the games stand out folk (traditional), which are transmitted to the cultural tradition of hand-to-hand, word-of-mouth. Folk games such as hide and seek, with an unchanged for centuries basis, vary greatly in different cultural groups. Such games are based on well-known to the tradition that is important to the physical, social and cognitive development of the child. That is why we are to use some national Mid-Eastern games and some American one that will help children in the process of socialization. The organization facilitates communication games; they contain natural and unconstrained exercise. Within the game, children learn the role of adults in the community; learn various strategies to competition, cooperation and achievement of goals. In games, children are often more tolerant of unusual behavior, they are learning new roles and feel for the allowable limits. In any culture, traditional games, especially for children, can help to understand the basic values of society. The examples of Arabic games are Seega, Mancala.

In our work, we use Vivian PaleyIn’s books “White Teacher and Kwanzaa and Me”, where Paley explored issues of multiculturalism within the classroom. From her experience we understand, that in order to support and promote a racially diverse classroom we are to take into consideration the factors that interact pre-school children progress through definite stages of racial and cultural understanding. “Children develop their identity and attitudes through experiences with their bodies, social environments, and their cognitive developmental stages.

Children of preschool years (age 3 and 4) are better notice differences between people. They can classify, and they have a tendency to sort on the basis of color and size. Many of preschool children differentiate eye shape, hair texture and other physical characteristics and want to know how people got their hair texture, color, and eye shape. By age four, most children prefer one race. At this age, children have limited, inconsistent thinking, and that is why they tend to believe stereotypes. Kindergartners (age 5 and 6) still ask questions concerning physical differences can make distinctions, develop social skills. Children enjoy to explore their friend’s culture.

Based on the above mentioned features of pre-school children we prepared such activities for classes.

1. Skin-Color Match-Ups

We set out various nylon knee-high stockings - black, white, yellow, pink and red. Children are to be encouraged to try them on their hands or their legs. A teacher must ask questions, helping children to increase their awareness of skin color. "Can you find a stocking that is the same color as your skin?" Or "What color is that stocking you have on your arm?" Ask the children to "Try the _________ stocking. Is it lighter or darker than your own skin?" (McCracken-Brown, J. 1993 ) We are to explain children, that skin-color differences are exciting and desirable.

2. Hair

We need a tiny bit of hair from each child, or if it is not possible - photographs of different hairstyles. A teacher asks children to identify different type of hair. We are to talk about its texture and color and give children information that some people have fine or coarse hair, straight or curly hair, short and long. It would be nice to make a different hairstyles collage.

3. Music and Dance

A teacher should ask parents to lend recordings of a particular for their culture and family music. In our case we are to teach songs and dances from different nations. As a result children will understand, that all people like singing and dancing, but in each culture people do in a special way. A teacher must explain children that there are different music sounds and listen loud, soft, fast and slow music, different instruments.

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