Personal Philosophy of Early Childhood Education


Marisa Cicchino


Constructs in Early Childhood Education & Field Experience 1

Dr. Sai Jambunathan

Summer 2005






Wishes to instill good morals and values in all children; respect all children and their families’ cultures, ethnicities, race, beliefs, and structure; treat each child fairly to ensure that all children feel equally special; have families, communities, and educators work as one; remain a lifelong advocator of children; exhaust all resources before deciding to hold a child back a grade; and to maintain a constant fun, loving, safe, and positive environment for each child. 




As a young child in school I can remember saying to myself, “If I were a teacher I would never do that to my students!”  At a very young age, as young as the first grade, my personal philosophy of Early Childhood Education was already in progress and surfacing.  My personal philosophy is: to instill good morals and values in all children; respect all children and their families’ cultures, ethnicities, race, beliefs, and structure; treat each child fairly to ensure that all children feel equally special; have families, communities, and educators work as one; remain a lifelong advocator of children; exhaust all resources before deciding to hold a child back a grade; and to maintain a constant fun, loving, safe, and positive environment for each child.  It is a philosophy such as the one I have set forth that will encourage all families to feel welcomed, all children to feel loved, and everyone to want to work together as one in order to aid in a child’s optimal development. 

It all began in preschool and kindergarten while attending a Montessori School in my town.  My preschool and kindergarten experience has had a great impact on my ideas towards education.  I felt safe, secure, and special in school.  I remember specific activities that at my new school, when I transitioned in the 1st grade, were not available to me, such as learning and practicing everyday activities like cleaning silverware, folding our blankets from rest time, preparing and cutting fruit to eat, and keeping a clean and orderly classroom.  Moreover, the root of my morals and values developed from this period in my life.  I remember in school being taught the fundamental values of sharing, caring, listening, trusting, and being honest.  I learned that lying, stealing, cheating, hitting, and disrespecting elders or each other were bad.  Influential movies and cartoons such as the Care Bears, Hug-a-bunch, Free to Be You and Me taught me about love, hugging, sharing, caring, helping others and equality.  My childhood from preschool to third grade was a critical time for me to grow and learn, and much of what I experienced in the classroom and at home influenced how I would develop later and then as the person I am today.

            As a Substitute Teacher with no background classroom experience or educational degree, I brought with me the strong moral and ethical values I possess as a person, my patience, love and care for children, my passion for academics, and my past and personal experiences as a student in a classroom.  One of the major intellectual influences was my experience in a Montessori School and then reading about the Montessori Method in my present graduate class.  I never realized that Maria Montessori was the first woman to become a doctor in Italy, nor did I realize the specifics of the Montessori Method until I correlated my experiences with what was actually written and described about in the book.  For instance, “She created objects for children to allow them to experience physical activities such as stacking, opening, closing, dusting, and connecting. [Maria Montessori] saw this goal-oriented activity as children’s ‘work’ and contrasted it with play, which she saw as unfocused and frivolous (pg. 16).”  My personal philosophy coincides with her beliefs because it is through this child’s sense of ‘work’ that morals and good values are developed.  A child saying, “You’ve got dirty hands, you ought to wash them (pg. 17)” is an example of a child who will continue to master society’s demands and expectations on how to behave throughout life. 

Another person who has played an influential role in my life, and has acted as a mentor, is my second grade teacher.  It’s amazing that out of all my teachers from preschool through graduate school, my second grade teacher left the greatest impression on me.  She possessed great patience and clarity when explaining new material to the class.  She made me feel comfortable to ask questions or speak up in class, and I specifically remember her creative ways of teaching, such as the knock-knock game for subtraction, which made learning in her classroom so easy and fun.  When I run into her she still shows concern for me and is eagerly open and willing to help as I become a teacher.  She is definitely one of the reasons why I decided to become an early childhood teacher, and she is a person who has had a major impact on my beliefs towards academia.  

On the other hand, other teachers who have helped shape my beliefs have done so by providing me with negative experiences in the classroom.  For instance, some teachers would punish the whole class because certain students were bad. I thought this method of correcting bad behavior was entirely unfair.  Even though today I realize the technique behind the action, at the time I remember experiencing feelings of helplessness, and today I never want another child to experience that feeling again.  Another unfair characteristic displayed by some teachers was favoritism.  By showing favoritism, it didn’t make me, nor many of my classmates, feel special or secure in class.  Lastly, my brother, who is one year younger than me, and I were very close growing up as children.  However, in the first grade his teacher held him and 6 other students back a grade on account of being too immature.  My family was furious and no matter how many times my parents spoke with the teacher and administrators, the decision remained the same.  As a result, my brother and I at one point attended two different schools, we weren’t as close anymore, his self-esteem dropped immensely, he lost friends, and had to spend the rest of his life explaining and defending himself to those who questioned his age in comparison to his grade.  My experience with having a family member subjected to being held back is why I believe that all resources must be exhausted before deciding to hold back a child.  The decision should be a composite of the family, administrators, and other professionals’ opinions and thoughts.  Most importantly, recognizing and knowing the child at hand, and how this decision will impact his or her life.

My beliefs have been carried out as a Substitute Teacher in the classroom.  For instance, my belief in fairness for all children was illustrated when I thanked the good children of the class at the end of the day for being on their best behavior.  Interestingly, the students thanked me in return for recognizing them because they said that teachers rarely acknowledge their good behavior because they are too distracted by the students who misbehave.  As a teacher I would use this same philosophy when treating my students.  A good level of control and strictness would be provided, along with a great deal of love, patience, care, and attention for each child. A safe and secure feeling will permeate throughout the classroom in order to ensure an optimal learning environment for all children.  My classroom for a second grade class would be setup and decorated as follows: two alphabets, regular and cursive would hang above the blackboards; my posters would contain knowledge about good manners, famous men and women in history, and lots of multi-cultural pictures so everyone feels welcomed; seasons and thematic units will provide further layout for decorating ideas; the library area would have a big comfy chair for me to read and then small comfortable chairs and a rug for the children to read and sit on during quiet or free time; there will be math, language, and art games for them to play, and additional creative and unique learning strategies and games. 

            I would have a very trusting and open-minded relationship with parents, colleagues, and administrators.  I would also keep an open mind when dealing with exceptional circumstances, such as a child with a special need, or a child that misbehaves frequently.  Each family unit varies, so I must be sensitive to an array of circumstances, such as the various formations of a family and structure, a parent’s style and beliefs of parenting, a child and families’ living situation, and a family’s ethnicity and culture.  Administrators’ and colleagues’ personal philosophies will be respected.  However, the only way the child will develop positively according to the school’s philosophy is if the administrators and teachers believe and exemplify this philosophy also.  So when views may seem opposite, it’s accepting the differences, respecting each other’s differences, and working through the differences that will make any school a positive and safe place for the children to learn.  Also when approaching exceptional circumstances, a teacher needs to again keep an open mind, take an objective stance, and be flexible in his or her views, expectations, strategies, and procedures in resolving an issue.

            As a teacher develops his or her beliefs about early childhood education it is important to reflect upon the period of time when one was a student.  Keeping an open mind to the way society and education as evolved overtime is a key factor that will help teachers better understand families, children, faculty, and their role as a teacher today.  The child should be the main concern of the school, family, and community at all times.  We are the educators, motivators, inspirers, and disciplinary for children.  What we believe as educators will be reflected in the growth of each child.  By joining teachers, families, communities, and administrators together as one, we are building a positive foundation for the children who are will be the products of our future.