INTEGRATIVE APPROACH TO DIRECTED ACTIVITIES IN BASICS OF SCIENCE AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE
It is well known that the attention span and concentration of preschool children (3-6 years of age) is short, weaker in the intensity in comparison with school children and, because of that, it is in need for an educator to constantly innovate working methods, apply modern approaches and strategies. Learning through play that enables children to move, positively affects their motivation to be focused on the content. New educational paradigm involves overall modernisation through using different means, forms and methods of working with children, towards applying integrative approach, innovative strategies, and modern pedagogical technology. Integration implies, whenever possible, to combine different subject contents because children easily memorise logically integrated topics. In this case, children are actively involved in the educational process, they develop in concrete social surrounding and are not just objects waiting to memorise an information.
In line with the fact that English is increasingly present in contemporary society, not only in informal communication in everyday life, we think that the elements of the mentioned language can be successfully integrated into the directed activities of certain educational areas (in our case the field of Basics of Science). The need for developing English language has appeared, so it has been introduced as a mandatory, universal language of communication in individual kindergartens (first in Belgrade, and today in many other cities in Serbia). Children who start learning foreign languages at an early age better solve problems, better read and write, have better memory, are more creative and have more confidence.
In this paper, we give examples of different possibilities of integration of Basics of Science and English language as one form of working with children of preschool age in order to “fresh up”, intensify and modernize everyday practice. Integration of foreign language elements into Science contents makes children’s learning holistic, enables understanding and acquiring knowledge about phenomena and processes from their surrounding and in the same time creates possibilities for preschool teachers to be creative and original. Integrative approach, in this context, can be understood as a challenge and space in which educators can demonstrate their art, imagination, creative ideas and abilities.
Activities that combine these two contents – Basics of Science and English, brings up children’s curiosity, encourage their active participation, commitment, persistence and determination. Another benefit is that children learn basic concepts of science in English as well and make the base for future learning development in both contents. In this case, on one hand, English enables better learning of Science and, on the other hand, Science improves learning of a foreign language in real life situations. Rules and "recipes" for successful and quality content integration between the Basics of Science and English language does not exist, but it is an innovation that "keeps up with time", one of the ways of modernizing educational work in pre-school institutions that should be kept in mind when educating and training staff.
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