Did you know that brain development is at its most critical stage between birth to 5 years of age? By the age of two, a child’s brain contains twice as many neurological connections and consumes twice as much energy as an adult brain. The early years are a critical time to instill a lifelong love of learning and set young children up for success. During the early stages of a child’s growth, neuroscience has established that repeated incidents and “rich” learning experiences play a crucial role in wiring the brain. This implies a direct correlation between the quality of a child’s early learning experiences and the positive development of their brain.
So what can educators do this summer to create rich learning experiences for children, and set their classroom and children up for future success? In this blog, we will highlight the importance of creating “rich” learning experiences in your classroom and their impact on each area of development.
Physical development refers to a child’s growing ability to use and control their body. For early childhood educators, one of the best ways they can promote healthy physical development is through repeated exposure to outdoor activities. Exposure to the outdoors heightens a young child’s ability to move using larger muscles as they have the opportunity to move their body freely, and are less constrained than they are indoors. The benefits of physical activity for a child include stronger academic performance, improved attention, and enhanced memory. Daily physical exercise helps foster sharper minds, better focus, increased curiosity and an enhanced creative drive. These healthy living habits will carry with them for a lifetime!
Cognitive development refers to building young children’s skills in areas such as reading, language and numeracy. Every child resonates with varying aspects of intellect. In early learning environments, understanding each learner’s unique interests and skills is crucial. Every child’s brain is wired differently and responds in varied ways to stimuli. It is vital for Early Childhood Education providers to ensure that programs are challenging while individualized, to allow every type of learner to thrive. Children are born with an inherent love of learning that can be built upon through a scaffolding approach to ensure no child is left behind. Comprehensive approaches to Early Childhood Education cover areas such as math, language, cultural studies and science in addition to art, drama, music, and technology, plus practical life and gross motor skills. Exposure to these various elements of curriculum builds a love of learning and critical thinking that lasts well beyond their early years. These early experiences inspire children’s curiosity and instill a desire to want to know more. This passion for gaining new knowledge will lead to positive experiences in their future academics.
Emotional development in the early years refers to a young child’s ability to experience, understand and express a range of emotions in themselves and in others. Fundamental to this learning process is a child’s belief in their unique abilities, and having emotional support from primary caregivers when needed. It is important to nurture children’s self-esteem and self-confidence. This type of development influences a child’s empathy and their sense of importance and value to those around them. The ability to regulate one’s own emotions and manage successful interactions with other people is key for later academic performance, mental health and social relationships.
This is a significant part of each child’s development. Language development in the early years is mainly focused on a child’s ability to communicate with those around them. Language also reinforces a child’s critical thinking ability and helps them develop and maintain relationships. Children use language to express and understand feelings. Often, language is used as the foundation for all social interactions. When children have a large vocabulary their level of creativity increases and their ability to come up with new ideas is enhanced. In addition to verbal communication, early communication skills and a foundation for language development can be built with the use of sign language. This lessens the frustration of an infant; giving them an avenue to make their intentions known to the adults around them. Every child should be seen as a capable communicator who can express themselves in many ways.
Social development is the process through which young children are learning to build relationships. A key component of early academics is to make learning fun and engaging. Socialization is a significant platform for future academic success. Playing games, recreating stories, singing songs and reciting poems sets the stage for strong social skills. Building strong social skills is an important element of a child’s early learning experience. Every child deserves the opportunity to feel connected to others and to contribute to their world.
Children’s exposure to diversity is an important part of early social development and can happen naturally in a group setting where they have the chance to interact with peers who are different than they are. Diversity in race, class, socioeconomic status or religion is beneficial to a child. The value of experiencing diversity will play a meaningful role in how a child perceives the world around them. A child’s sense of positive well-being and understanding of diversity is more important than it has ever been.
HOW WE STRUCTURE LEARNING AT CHILDVENTURES
The team at Childventures believes that a balance of academic, creative, social and emotional experiences is crucial in laying the foundation for early learning. In our settings, the educator acts as a facilitator of learning through the implementation of our scientifically proven curriculum models. These varied approaches to learning attract individuals who are passionate about teaching and value the importance of the early years. Each of these models of Baby Signs, Highscope, Montessori and Core Knowledge may be different but each of them has the same cornerstones in terms of providing children with academic experiences, opportunities for collaboration and creative expression while optimizing emotional health. This way we can instill the attributes that we want for the children in our world!
Margaret is the backbone of Childventures and has been with the company since its founding. She has helped turn CV into one of Ontario’s premier childcare providers. Margaret’s extensive experience and passion for education has made her a prominent figure in the industry. She has been advocating for high-quality childcare since 1982, and for 20 years, she served as an educator at Mohawk College’s Early Childhood Education lab school and sat on its diploma program advisory board. Margaret continues to contribute to the field by speaking at conferences and events. As Head of Curriculum, she is responsible for ensuring that CV remains at the forefront of the industry by fully engaging children and fostering a lifelong love of learning through its unique blended curriculum.
To learn more about how HiMama supports early childhood classrooms with expert-designed, research-backed and ready to use curriculum kits, click here!