Erikson's influence is seen in preschool through the initiative stage (three). It is the exertion of independence that identifies this stage. The goal of ECE is to help children find their independence apart from parents. They begin to discover themselves and assert their new found abilities. The challenge of this stage is to maintain a zest for activity and at the same time understand that not every impulse can be acted on. Teachers and parents must tread a fine line, providing supervision without interference. Much of this discovery is made through role playing. The children need to pretend to be others in order to find their own independence and identity. The following are suggestions for encouraging initiative in the preschool child.
1. Encourage children to make and to act on choices, such as allowing free choice time when the children can select an activity or game.
2. Encourage make-believe with a wide variety of roles by having costumes and props available in the classroom. Monitor the children's play to be sure no one monopolizes the role of teacher, Mommy, Daddy or other heroes.
3. Be tolerant of accidents and mistakes, especially when children are attempting to do something on their own.