If the sky were the limit and I were able to engage in any research topic that would benefit the future of children and the Early Childhood Education field, I would really focus on the notion of active play, creativity, kinesthetic (whole body) learning, social emotional support and the concepts of Open Structured Classrooms. It would be by researching these topics and their interplay with one another that I would hypothetically design a curriculum or new approach that embodies these learning approaches and creates a new standard for learning and curriculum in ECE classrooms
Open Classrooms were popular and embraced in the past, but questions and research issues came to light when researchers and professionals began to dig deeper. It would be with these hypothetical research opportunities that I would hope to succeed in creating standards and the ability to measure the success of Open Classroom concepts that are able to support how successful they can be. More can be read about the history, benefits and issues of Open Structure here.
I would also seek to bridge the gap and eliminate the vast differences between effective Early Childhood approaches and traditional public education through this research, demonstrating that an open structured classroom with creative and experiential learning will foster more effective learning and retention in all subject areas in elementary school – eliminating the highly structured, test-based approaches we expect our children to jump right into the minute they enter Kindergarten and First Grade. I would aim to establish a formal, steady transition from play-based, experiential learning into more structured and test-based curriculum styles for older age groups capable of understanding and applying knowledge in these different ways.