As an initial matter, I believe that teachers should try and teach the "whole child." Gonzalez-Mena (5) suggests treating the child in a holistic manner rather than focusing disproportionately on specific learning outcomes. Each child is complex. Teachers should strive to identify and respect the totality of physical, emotional, and cultural characteristics of each child.
A sense of security encourages risk-taking by children, both emotionally and intellectually.
The teacher should strive to nurture each child and the group in a manner which is consistent with developmentally appropriate practice. To this end, strict lessons should be minimized and supplemented liberally by child-directed activities and play-oriented roles. Stress can be minimized and children can be explorers of knowledge.
With respect to the students, they should learn to teach themselves. They should be allowed to define problems and the means by which such problems are solved. They should be allowed to test new ideas and observe the consequences of different actions.
Finally, a strict curriculum should be de-emphasized and students allowed to help choose what and how they will learn. Within limits, curriculum and assessment should be collaborative. I believe this will make students more engaged.
The first value that we should teach children, and one not stated explicitly enough in my view, is that every child is capable of learning. Research on meta-cognition, in effect learning how to learn, suggests that students who keep a record of their learning tend to perform well. This can be reinforced in the early childhood context by having students keep a picture diary or journal. ...