Diagnosing children’s potentials as a way to successful education and social development.
dr Stanisława Nazaruk, dr Joanna Marchel, dr Joanna Waszczuk, dr Helena Konowaluk-Nikitin.
IMPACT DESCRIPTION SUMMARY
The research carried out in the Department of Pedagogy focuses on the research topic of school readiness of children, which is formed by certain school, physical, social and emotional skills. These skills respond to the expectations of teachers, local authorities, children, students and parents.The key aim of kindergarten education is to broaden the development of a child and enable it to achieve an optimal level of school readiness that ensures a successful start at school and coping with the school environment. The results of the research provided the leading authorities-municipalities with strategic knowledge in planning the number of kindergarten units and in taking organisational measures while teachers of educational institutions were provided with targeted methodological measures in relation to children with a low level of skills or even educational deficiencies.These required development and intervention. The mayor value of the research was its implementation in the natural preschool environment and its reliability, which resulted in the research being recognised by the teaching community. Additionally, research recommendations and conclusions were applied in pedagogical practice.
CHARACHARACTERISTICS OF THE MAJOR RESEARCH CONCLUSIONS
The PSW is open to collaborate with entities from the social sector, which resulted in the recognition of needs for professional development or acquiring new professional qualifications determined by the necessity to retrain some educational employees from the area of the city of BiałaPodlaska, the poviats of Biała, Radzyń, Parczew and others in the Lubelskie voivodeship. The response on behalf of the University was the development of several projects and obtaining funds from the ESF and their implementation in the period of 2009-2012. The key educational projects comprising the implementation of these needs completed by the PSW are:
1.,,Preschool education – postgraduate studies for teachers”, project co-financed by the European Social Fund under the Human Capital Operational Programme, Priority IX, Measure 9.4, on the basis of grant contract no. 155 POKL.09.04.00-06-002/08-00, implemented in the years: 2009-2010. Results: teachers gained new professional qualifications: licenses to perform the profession of preschool education teacher, therefore, some teacher obtained the possibility to retrain, which saved them from being dismissed.
2. ,,Preschool education with the basics of speech therapy”, project financed by the European Social Fund within the framework of the Human Capital Operational Programme 2007-2013, Priority IX, Measure 9.4, on the basis of subsidy agreement no. 424/POKL.09.04.00-06-020/10-00, implemented in the years: 2011-2012. Results: teachers gained new qualifications: licenses to practice the profession of early childhood education teacher (grades I-III of primary school) and additional skills in conducting speech therapy classes, which increased their range of professional competences and saved some of them from being dismissed.
Apart from participating in projects, the Department of Pedagogy cooperates with the socio-economic environment, in particular with the educational environment, i.e. with the authorities in charge of educational institutions, school principals, teachers, parents of children and pupils from kindergartens and schools through conferences, trainings, workshops and courses addressed to them. Another form of cooperation in the scientific and didactic field is systematic cooperation with some subjects as external stakeholders, who influence, among others, the curriculum of the Pedagogy major, organisation of professional practice, implementation of some research topics in the field. The mentioned forms of cooperation of the Department of Pedagogy with the socio-economic environment have been accomplished by signing agreements on scientific, didactic and organisational collaboration between the PSW and local government units. For the practical aspects, lecturers and students systematically visit educational institutions, conduct didactic and educational classes with children and students, organise cultural events and competitions, develop and implement research plans together with teachers. The given examples foster cooperation with educational institutions in conducting scientific activities [R1] and [R2].
School readiness examinations
The willingness of the Department of Pedagogy to collaborate with the socio-economic environment made the local authorities-municipalities running schools and kindergartens appreciate the importance of carrying out research among children aged 5-6 attending kindergartens in order to help parents make a decision on whether to choose “school or kindergarten”. Examination of the level of children’s skills necessary to start school, as well as the diagnosis of deficiencies in case of some children, helped parents to decide whether the child at the age of six can go to primary school or should stay for one more year in a kindergarten. On the other hand, the results of the research provided the local authorities with key knowledge in regard to planning the creation of the number of kindergarten units and the organisation of kindergarten facilities. The first research on this research topic was conducted for the benefit of the Mayor of Międzyrzec Podlaski in 2013 [S3].
In 2014, another research on school readiness was conducted, however, it was approached in a broader scope, on account of the use of a professional (standardised) research tool using four subscales of school readiness (subscales of school, physical, social and emotional skills) and on account of the increased number of preschool participating in the study. The research was carried out in 9 kindergartens with the main aim of investigating the school readiness of five- and six-year-old children as well as analysing the results obtained including a number of socio-demographic and biological factors. The results of the research, presented in the form of a report entitled “School readiness of children – results of research conducted on the territory of BiałaPodlaska”, were submitted to the leading authority and the directors of kindergartens participating in the research. The report was used by the management and teachers for methodological work with children in the scope of shaping school skills, such as: reading, writing, mathematical (arithmetic, geometric), social, communication, taking care of oneself, hygienic, health, physical skills, which are necessary to achieve school readiness. It was concluded that organising integration activities in preschool groups in order to strengthen social bonds, develop social and communication skills, inhibit observed symptoms of certain types of aggression were of great importance. Some children were diagnosed with a low level of skills or even deficiencies, which required the development of individual interventions to prevent them from deepening. The above-mentioned research was highly appreciated by parents and teachers for its objectivity and reliability both on account of the use of professional research tools and the child’s natural environment the research was conducted in, namely a kindergarten [R4].
School readiness examinations – diagnosis of physical activity levels
On the basis of research results analysis in regard to school readiness, especially in terms of children’s detailed skills, it was observed that there was quite significant differentiation among preschool children in terms of their level of physical activity. This prompted the research team to develop another research concept and to take action in order to find out the actual level of children’s motor activity during the time spent in kindergarten, both during the school year and during holidays. The need to determine the level of children’s physical activity in kindergarten results from the fact that a child spends up to 9-10 hours a day in kindergarten. On the other hand, some studies show that children aged 4-6 years, after returning from kindergarten, mostly spend their time at home in a physically passive way, for example, in front of a computer. In the childhood period, when children become familiarized with values, learn norms and behaviours, the perpetuation of passive forms of leisure time can have a negative impact on the formation of active and health-promoting attitudes. Children’s attitudes that are not conducive to physical activity, established in this period of development, will have a negative influence even in adulthood. Systematic physical activity is one of the most significant factors favourably influencing almost all metabolic processes and the state of health in every phase of human life. At preschool age, intensive development of bone and muscle tissue takes place, the nervous system matures, and the final stage of innervation of muscle groups occurs. The age between four and six years of a child’s life is characterised by a high dynamics of motor development, that is why it is often called the “golden age for motor development”. Therefore, it is significant for not only parents but also teachers to properly shape and develop children’s interests, skills and attitudes reflecting preferences for various forms of motor activity from an early age.
The research based on measurement methods of the physical activity level of preschool children was conducted in 2017 with the use of special devices called actigraphs (Polish name accelerometers) among children aged 4-6 years (N=204) in kindergartens on the territory of Biała Podlaska and the Biała district in different types of kindergartens with particular focus on different socio-demographic factors. Having conducted the analysis of the acquired data, the developed recommendations were made available to kindergartens.
-Municipal kindergartens have much better infrastructure, having, among other things, a gym. As a result, classes are held regularly, regardless of the weather. Children eagerly take part in them and exercise in appropriate sportswear, which develops proper habits. It was found that the level of physical activity of children from urban kindergartens was higher compared to the level of physical activity of children attending kindergartens in rural areas.
– Physical activity classes in some kindergartens took place in kindergarten classrooms that are not equipped with specialised equipment and have limited space for exercise, which in practice causes children to perform different physical activities, as pointed out by specialists in child physical education.
– There were no gender differences in the level of children’s physical activity. In both girls and boys the level of activity varied.
– A significant factor influencing the organisation of children’s physical activity classes is the additional qualifications in teaching physical educationheld by preschool education teachers. It turned out that in the studied establishments only a few teachers are qualified to conduct such classes.
Based on the analysis of the research results, recommendations were developed and provided to the kindergartens participating in the research. The recommendations were individualised with respect to kindergartens, as they took into account the specificity of given results. For example, in the recommendation addressed to the Local Government Kindergarten No. 16, attention was paid to involving parents in organising physical activity classes for their children [S1].
Analogous recommendations were given to the non-public kindergarten “AKADEMIA UŚMIECHU” in Międzyrzec Podlaski. It was recommended that the team of teachers develop a number of pedagogical activities focused on quality exercise with the child during the time spent in kindergarten [S3].
Diagnosis of the level of physical activity in the working time of primary schools during the pandemic
In September and October 2020, a study entitled “Diagnosis of physical activity of pupils in grades I-III of primary school during school time” was carried out. The aim of the research was to investigate the level of physical activity of children who are no longer preschoolers but pupils and to check whether the implemented school timetable is conducive to achieving an optimal level of physical activity at school. Due to the fact that the study was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was essential to analyse the impact of this factor on the organisation of physical activity at school and, as it turned out, of key research significance. Pandemic conditions limited the possibility to conduct the study in several schools. The published findings and recommendations in Polish and English journals have received considerable attention (Education 3-13 International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, Elementary Education in Theory and Practice, Early Child Development and Care, Economic and Regional Studies).
The developed recommendations on the basis of the research were primarily shared with the schools participating in the survey.
1) There is a great need to modify the school curriculum currently in force in primary schools in grades I-III, especially in terms of the use of the existing sports base with the application of the sanitary regime, as well as the development of a new formula of classes in open spaces in order to increase physical activity sessions.
2) Due to the current educational law in Poland and the current state of affairs, the main creators of physical activity lessons in classes I-III are teachers of early school education, therefore, support measures should be taken directly to them. The main focus of support should be on improving methodological competences connected with leading attractive physical activity classes adapted to the conditions of a pandemic as well as training personal competences concerning the ability to motivate pupils to be more physically active.
3) Working in a school in a COVID-19 pandemic situation has challenged teachers with many new tasks. Teachers should observe their pupils more thoroughly, especially they are expected to pay attention to pupils’ behaviour, any signs of anxiety, stress and take motivational measures to prevent the occurrence of possible risks.
4) It is necessary to educate parents and persuade them to encourage their children to do physical education activities and spend leisure time with them .
School readiness examinations – Diagnosis of child development in terms of perception
An integral part of diagnosing school readiness are mathematical skills. Finding out the level of correct perception of graphic objects (flat geometric figures) by 5- and 6-year-old children and distinguishing elements from the whole is necessary for learning in the first grade of primary school. Another aim of the research was to determine the differences in the level of correct perception of the examined group of children depending on the type of kindergarten, location of kindergarten (town, village) and place of residence, gender, age, number of children in a kindergarten group and others. The study involved the use of modern diagnostic technologies – a stationary ophthalmograph Eye Tracker Glasses recording data at the measurement frequency of 250 Hz. This state-of-the-art tool has a special measurement system that tracks and records the image, in which sequence and at which pace the person being tested looks. Thanks to the properties of this device, the average response time from the moment the image is displayed to the moment the person answers the individual task has been counted. This made the diagnosis very accurate. The children who knew the geometric figures were able to quickly direct their gaze to the figure and extract it from the picture. In case of children with a low level of geometric skills, long time of recognition of geometric figures and incorrect answers or even no answers were found. The research was carried out in the Psychomotor Laboratory at the Regional Research and Development Centre with the AWF in Biała Podlaska in 2018. The research team from the Department of Pedagogy developed the concept and methodology of the research, the organisation of the study, the conduct of the research and the analysis of the findings, while AWF, within the framework of inter-university cooperation, provided equipment (Eye Tracker Glasses stationary ophthalmograph) and the Psychomotorics Laboratory to conduct the research as well as the assistance of a technician to operate this equipment. Teachers from kindergartens participated in the tests providing care and safety for children.
Key findings and recommendations provided to kindergartens:
– The study showed the mathematical skills in geometry diagnosed among children were at different levels.
– A significant factor shaping the ability to perceive geometric figures is not the gender of a child but the duration of preschool education.
– Children with a long-term preschool education achieved higher results.
– For this group of children whose results were unsatisfactory, it was recommended to develop and implement methodological support by teachers who work directly with children.
– Diagnosing, already at the stage of preschool education, unsatisfactory achievements in geometry in some children should be an important signal for teachers, especially in terms of reflection on the methods used in implementing the core curriculum. It is a practical indication to individualise activities focusing on the development of the child’s mental potential [8, 9].
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ROLE OF THE ENTITY IN THE ACHIEVEMENT OF SCIENTIFIC ACTIVITY OUTCOMES
Research team consists of the following researchers: StanisławaNazaruk, PhD- research coordinator, members: Joanna Marchel, PhD, Joanna Waszczuk, PhD and Helena Konowaluk-Nikitin, PhD.
The research on school readiness has shown a gap in diagnosing social skills of preschool children due to a lack of a professional tool on the Polish market designed for diagnosing social skills of children aged 5-9 years. Such a tool, which could be used by teachers as the first diagnosticians and school pedagogues, does not currently exist in Poland. Existing tools for diagnosing children’s social-emotional functioning are intended for psychologists, which makes it difficult to access them and take early intervention measures when difficulties in children’s social functioning are observed. The results of the school readiness diagnosis report and interviews with kindergarten teachers confirmed the need to develop a professional tool for the detailed assessment of children’s social skills. The research team, consisting of Stanisława Nazaruk, PhD and Joanna Marchel, PhD dealt with the aforementioned research topic and they developed a research tool called: ,,THE SHEET OF SOCIAL SKILLS OF CHILDREN AGED 5-9 YEARS”, used to diagnose children social skills in the age group of 5-9 years in order to monitor the development of a child, and in case of examination of deficiencies or even low level of social development to take immediate pedagogical and psychological interventions.
Brief description of the tool: the Sheet of Social Skills of Children aged 5-9 as a tool contains 5 subscales: A, B, C, D, E. Each scale contains detailed skills written in the form of affirmative sentences with an unambiguous positive meaning .
Details of the description of the mentioned tool can be found in the recommendation described by Anna Klim-Klimaszewska, PhD – specialist in preschool education in Poland .
The tool created by S. Nazaruk and J. Marchel was made available to kindergartens, psychological-educational counselling centres and primary schools – grades I-III. Confirmation in the form of a statement issued by the President of the Board of the LUSTRO Association for Psychological Support and Development from the Biała Podlaska Municipality [S2].
OPIS BIBLIOGRAFICZNY i STRESZCZENIE OSIĄGNIĘĆ NAUKOWYCH
[R1] S. Nazaruk, J. Marcheliin.,The level of physical activity of children in kindergarten in the light of selected individual factors,
Problems of Education in the 21st century, 2018, Vol.76, No.1, p. 57- 68,
[R2] S. Nazaruki in., Do preschool institutions in Poland provide children with the optimal development in the field of physical activity?,
Early Child Development and Care, 2020, Vol. 190, issue 13, p. 2003-2012,
[R3] S. Nazaruki in., Polish teachers of early education in the face of distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic – the difficulties experienced and suggestions for the future,
Education 3-13International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, 2020,
[R4] S. Nazaruk in., The scope of implementation of geometric concepts in selected kindergartens in Poland,
Problems of Education in the 21st century, 2017, Vol. 75, No.4,p.345-353,
[R5] S. Nazaruk, Diagnosis of the Mathematical Skills of Children from Polish Kindergartens and Its Importance for Geometric Shape Recognition,
Early Childhood Education Journal,Vol. 48, Issue:4, July 2020, p.463-472,
[R6] S. Nazaruk, J. Marcheli in., Physical activity of early school-age children in Poland during classes in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic,
Education 3-13 International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, 2021
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE RESEARCH ACTIVITY IMPACT, INCLUDING THE ACTIVITY WHOSE OUTCOMES ARE THE SUBJECT OF COMMERCIALISATION, WITH AN INDICATION OF THE RELATION BETWEEN RESEARCH ACTIVITY AND THIS IMPACT AS WELL AS THE SOCIAL GROUP BENEFITTING FROM THIS IMPACT AND THE GREATEST RESEARCH ACTIVITY IMPACT AREA
The social impact of research conducted at the Department of Pedagogy concerns children and students, their parents, teachers and the bodies that run educational institutions, for example, local governments. The consequence of understanding the essence of research and cooperation of self-governments with the Department of Pedagogy is the effectiveness of research and creation of new research plans in response to further needs.
Social impact on local authorities – authorities running kindergartens and schools
Increasing the involvement of local authorities – municipalities as the body managing educational institutions – in creating conditions for education and upbringing, financing activities compensating developmental deficiencies of pre-school children and supporting their development. The fact that local governments gave their consent to conduct research and handed over the research results to them positively models the understanding of the importance to conduct research. On the other hand, the analysis of research results, formulated recommendations and conclusions shape the awareness of local authorities in regard to the importance of the relationship between research and the quality of education and upbringing. The research conducted in educational institutions: kindergartens and primary schools has drawn attention to the importance of preschool and school education in preparing young people for life in society. On the other hand, such research have raised the importance and prestige of preschool education in society and the country as a whole.
As the city or municipal councils include parents of the children and pupils participating in the research conducted by the Department of Pedagogy, their interactions and social relations with the representatives of the local government units are significant. Through dialogue: teachers – parents – local authorities there is increased activity and involvement of the authorities and awareness of the need for research and its importance not only in the development of the local community but ultimately of society.
The consequence of understanding the essence of research and cooperation of local governments with the PSW is the effectiveness of research and the creation of new research plans in response to further needs.
Social impact on kindergarten and school teachers
The importance of teachers as partners in research was increased. The involvement of teachers in the organisation of research has a significant impact on its high quality and, consequently, on reliable results. On the other hand, teachers’ awareness of the use of research results translates into the quality of their implementation of recommendations and conclusions from research projects conducted by the Department of Pedagogy. The activities resulting from the research recommendations aim at supporting the comprehensive development of the child as the main subject of education and upbringing both in kindergarten, school and family. Therefore, the teachers’ impact concerns not only the child/student in the educational environment, but also in his/her family.
On the basis of the research carried out in relation to children with a low level of the examined skills, which hindered their school readiness and did not provide them with a successful school start, teachers implemented recommendations and conclusions developed by the research team, which contributed to the prevention of social exclusion of this group of children with low potentials. Attention should be paid to the importance of the research results in the development of the potential of children/students in whom the research revealed a high level of skills and recommended creating conditions for their development and undertaking unconventional solutions.[S1, S2, S3, S4].
Social impact on parents
Parents’ awareness in respect of their children’s participation in research and its benefits was increased. The recognition of the importance of the research outcomes, its high quality and implementation of recommendations by teachers contribute to the development of children in all spheres: cognitive, physical, social, emotional. The consequences may be visible not always immediately, but at subsequent stages of education, both in childhood and in adulthood. During childhood the child’s predispositions to learn, intelligence and in some cases developmental deficiencies are revealed. Therefore, the cooperation of parents with teachers is essential in monitoring the child’s achievements, and through parents as representatives of society with the local authority.
DETAILED CHARACTERISTICS OF UP TO 5 PIECES OF EVIDENCE OF SCIENTIFIC ACTIVITY IMPACT
[S1] Confirmation of collaboration with the Local Government Integrative Kindergarten No. 16 in Biała Podlaska.
The scientific influence of the research concerns directly children and pupils from kindergartens and primary schools as well as their teachers and parents. The results of the research showed different levels of physical activity of children aged 5-6 years from this kindergarten and indicated many determinants of the level found. In the recommendations addressed to the management and teachers of this kindergarten as well as to parents, it was recommended to conduct targeted activities in order to develop children’s appropriate habits in the area of physical activity; to involve parents and to integrate together with them actions concerning the implementation of activities outside the kindergarten, for example going to the swimming pool, going on trips, organising the so-called green kindergartens; educating parents in regard to their the awareness of the need for physical activity in the proper development of their children; training teachers in respect of the methodology of organising physical activity classes.
[S2] Confirmation of cooperation with the Local Government Kindergarten No. 15 in Biała Podlaska.
The results of the study showed deficiencies in the perception of geometrical figures by some preschoolers. Teachers were recommended to develop and implement intervention activities in this group of children and in some cases to undertake individualised work. Drawing attention to the importance of self-evaluation in improving the methodological work of teachers.
[S3] Confirmation of cooperation with AKADEMIA UŚMIECHU kindergarten in Międzyrzec Podlaski
Together with teachers from this kindergarten, pedagogical activities aimed at improving children’s physical activity during their time spent in the kindergarten were developed and put into practice. Parents were recommended not only to spend their free time with their children after returning home, but also to organise various types of activities for them.
[S4] Confirmation of cooperation with the Local Government Kindergarten No. 14 in Biała Podlaska.
It was recommended to use in didactic and educational work with children in kindergarten various types of physical activity. The importance of organizing sports activities in an appropriate way was emphasized.During the research, the socio-demographic factors shaping preschoolers physical activity weredefined. It was recommended for early education teachers not only to analysethembut also use in practice.
INFORMACJE, CZY WPŁYW POWSTAŁ W WYNIKU INTERDYSCYPLINARNYCH BADAŃ NAUKOWYCH LUB PRAC ROZWOJOWYCH, ORAZ CHARAKTERYSTYKI ZNACZENIA INTERDYSCYPLINARNOŚCI BADAŃ NAUKOWYCH LUB PRAC ROZWOJOWYCH DLA POWSTANIA TEGO WPŁYWU
The research conducted by the Department of Pedagogy is of interdisciplinary nature, the leading discipline is pedagogy, but its substantial and methodological scope is compatible with other scientific disciplines, mainly with psychology, sociology, physical culture, mathematics and health sciences. In conducting the research, the Department of Pedagogy collaborates with the socio-economic environment, in particular with the educational environment comprising authorities in charge of educational institutions, school principals, teachers, parents of children and pupils from kindergartens and schools. From the scientific point of view, it influences the development of the concept and methodology of the planned research, noticing and diagnosing new areas of research, availability of the research area and the studied population, thanks to cooperation with local self-government units, principals of educational institutions, teachers, parents and students. Participation of the cooperating entities in the research implementation increases their awareness of the importance of the research results, openness to their findings and implementation of recommendations.