The Keys that Support Your Children to Their Best Learning and Development
As soon as they are born, children start to learn and develop; this learning and changes in development occur at a fast pace during their early years, and play a key role in determining how they’ll turn out in future.
Knowing how vital this formative period from birth up to the early year age of five is, adults who care for and educate children have an important responsibility to ensure that all that can be done to support their best learning and development is done.
Here are some keys that will help your children to learn and develop optimally.
Positive relationships provide emotional support and security for young children, which then helps them learn successfully, both at home and in the classroom.
By ensuring that your children have a positive relationship with you, you’re helping them develop better social skills both with their peers and other adults, better morals, greater self-esteem, and improved emotional and social understanding of others.
On the other hand, strong instructional and emotional support from educators make children more willing to engage in learning opportunities, approach classroom tasks more confidently, and achieve an overall better academic success.
A Holistic Curriculum
The curriculum used for education in pre-schools and kindergarten is a vital key to children’s best learning and development.
Quality curricula such as we follow here at The Apple Tree are carefully planned, and take into consideration how children learn, including their strengths, needs, interests, language, cultural background, and so on. They are also aimed at creating an inclusive learning environment each child can participate in and be able to enhance their intellectual/cognitive, social, emotional, physical and other potentials.
A rich curriculum that is not only well-planned, but also frequently assessed and revised when necessary, contributes significantly to children’s well-being.
Positive Performance Feedback
The level of self-confidence children have as learners, which is largely determined by the kind of performance feedback they receive, affects how well they perform academically and otherwise.
Young children can be sensitive to how their behaviors or performance are evaluated, and, as they receive more and more positive feedback that recognizes their effort, they tend to develop a higher self-esteem, greater motivation to succeed, more willingness to take on and complete tasks, as well as the ability to self-evaluate and perform even better where they can.
Recent research has shown that, contrary to what was believed before, babies and very young children have a basic awareness of mind, numbers, cause and effect, probability, and social situations; they have the capacity to think in an abstract or hypothetical way.
These usually overlooked cognitive abilities need to be fully developed, and adults can support their development in young children by promoting shared activities.
Shared activities may include playing sorting and counting games, cooking pretend or real food together, drawing or painting pictures together, and visiting the beach as a family.
Pretend or dramatic play plays a very key role in several areas of a young child’s learning and development.
As it is loosely structured, this form of play encourages children to put their inborn creativity, problem-solving, language and thinking skills to use; and in the process they improve their ability to understand other people’s point of view, establish friendships, manage their behaviour and emotions, resolve conflicts, plan, and negotiate.
If you’re thinking of pretend play ideas, you can start by getting some dolls for your children and let them act as their “parents.” They can talk to the dolls, pretend to feed them, dress them up with toy clothes, etc., just like they observe you do for them as children.
Group Reading & Conversation
Reading storybooks aloud to your infants or toddlers, and conversing with them as the stories are read, is another way of supporting them to learn and develop in the best way.
When adults make it a habit to read a variety of books to children in an interactive manner, it increases their interest in print, builds their language abilities, and improves their vocabulary.
In addition, this kind of group reading provides opportunities for the young children to strengthen bonds and become more emotionally attached to their parents, carers or educators.
Language-based interactions are important at the infant and toddler stages. Since play is a major means of learning in early years, parents and educators that are able to encourage the frequent use of language during children’s playtime help to develop their language skills and literacy.
Some ways you can blend language learning into the play of young children is by using songs, or using puppets, flannel board stories, and other things that make talk during play necessary.
Language-rich play can involve interactions between adults and children, as well as groups of children only, and is best practiced during toddlerhood.
One thing that can have a significant effect on how well a child is able to learn and develop is their ability to manage or regulate how they think, what they feel, and how they behave in different situations.
Parents and educators can improve this ability by offering guidance in various ways.
This guidance can come in form of establishing predictable/regular schedules for children’s daily activities; making simple rules and reminding them to follow these rules; teaching them to consider the feelings and welfare of others before taking some actions; making them understand that certain actions attract certain results; and encouraging them to think of solutions to very simple problems they may run into as kids.
Whether they are parents, carers or educators, children need adults that are knowledgeable, reflective, responsive, and overall qualified around them, especially in their early years.
Such adults support children’s best learning and development by responding properly to their unique characteristics, abilities and needs. They also guide children’s interaction with their peers and other adults, stimulate their thinking, support their positive behaviours, and respect the learning pace of each child.
All these approaches will go a long way to ensure that your children grow up to be well-rounded individuals.