Creating Opportunities Award

The Perf-ECT Certificate System

Performances for Early Childhood Teachers

Creating Opportunities for Learning

The second of four levels of proposed credentials for early childhood educators that

Introduction to Credential C

Awards for this credential build the curriculum components of child-responsive learning environments where free play allows children to create their own play and group times elicit and use children’s initiative and creativity. The specifics of the curriculum components apply to environments for groups of children between the ages of 3 and 5. (Requirements for earning awards for children of other ages are not addressed here.)

The philosophical framework for this credential incorporates the best practices that many models of what is often referred to as “play-based,” “learner-centered,” or “child-responsive” early childhood education. Following this guide teachers can discover, inquire, and reflect upon what works best for children. Rather than advocate a particular approach, the awards define curriculum practices based upon providing activities and building classroom learning centers that are energized by child initiative, a common feature of High/Scope, Bank Street, The Creative Curriculum, and constructivist models. The tasks performed by candidates to earn these awards are intended lead teachers to investigate and provide the broad range of quality activities that meet the needs and circumstances of the local school without conflicting with most early childhood models or theoretical approaches. We are all on the path of finding what we most want for children, and the exact ways to do that vary from program to program.

The Possibility of These Awards

  •  These ten challenges energize teachers to be learners themselves, exploring in new directions to incorporate multiple facets of children’s experience into their programs.
  • These activities will establish a coordinated framework for planning and implementing child-responsive environments that reach all areas of children’s development.
  • Teachers will be able express clearly to others the structure and values that underlie what to a casual observer seems merely children at play; they will have a deep and durable understanding of the essentials of learning and curriculum for children ages 3 to 5.

Credential C Selections

Activities Awards    (Choose 3)

C1: Exploration Activities—combinations to explore, combine, and invent

C2: Step-chart Activities—demonstrating the steps to make a predetermined product

C3: Expressive Art Activities—personal expression in painting, drawing

C4: Workstations—cognitive free play in design, problem solving, and math

Learning Center Awards    (Choose 3)

C5: Construction Center—block building

C6: Drama Area—spaces for drama, personal power, and representing experience

C7: Cleaning Center—supplies and materials for maintaining a clean room

C8: Book Center—to read and be read to, conversation and relaxation

C9: Message Center—a place for writing and illustrating stories

C10: Science Center—a portion of the natural world on display

C11: Parent Center—a place for parent comfort, information, and collegiality

C12: Making Center—using tools to create with paper and related constructions

C13: Provocation Center—an aesthetic place of encounter

Outdoor Area Awards    (Choose 1)

C14:  Free Play Challenges—challenges for physical development

C15:  Group Games—teachers lead children in challenging fun

Group Times Awards   (Choose 2)

C16:  Songs and Games Children Can Change—basics of group time fun

C17:  Creative Dance—expressive movement in the classroom

C18:  Reading Books—children’s literature to enrich children’s lives

C19:  Oral Stories—the joy of story and the power of myth

Positive Management Awards    (Choose 1)

C20:  Clear Expectations and Responsibilities—conveying limits that teach

C21:  Active Listening—responding to children’s deep emotion

C22:  Alternatives for Consequences—managing difficult problems