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Evaluating an enrichment program in early childhood: a multi-methods approach

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journal contribution
posted on 26.10.2016, 01:48 by van Aswegen, Christa, Pendergast, Donna
This article reports on the evaluation of one topic in an enrichment program designed for children in their early years of learning. The program is responsive to an increased understanding of the benefits for very young children of programs that not only take advantage of the sensitive periods for learning but that also assist parents to a take a proactive approach to their children's early learning (Australian Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, 2009).The program being evaluated was delivered to a group of pre-preparatory students in five sessions over a period of two weeks. Data were collected using questionnaires, photographic and film recordings and field notes to ascertain the effectiveness of the program with regard to students demonstrating increased interest in the topic, in this case flowers, as well as to provide basic concepts of the topic. The term 'brain file' is introduced to encompass evidence of both interest and a basic concept or understanding. The findings reveal that participation in the enrichment program had a positive impact on students' interest in flowers. The instruction received through the enrichment program curriculum increased students' basic concept of flowers. In addition, the enrichment program had a positive impact on parental involvement in the learning process as measured by parent feedback. This research points to the potential of young children to develop brain files, which incorporate the notion of incr eased interest in and greater understanding of the topic. An enrichment program based on the principle of providing young children with starting points for learning has the potential to make a unique and valuable contribution to early learning.

International Research in Early Childhood Education, vol. 6, no. 1, p. 38-61