A Nurturing Approach to Early Learning
By Maragon Early Learning Centres
Children are intelligent, creative and resourceful. Their unique talents must be nurtured and developed in order to give them the best possible opportunities for success later in life. Nurturing the child and creating a safe and happy place for them to be, when not at home, is a crucial step in successfully transitioning children into an early learning centre from a home environment. Placing your child in a carefully selected early learning environment will enable them to flourish - supporting decision-making, encouraging involvement, and promoting independence.
Research on brain development and learning confirms how crucial the early years are in a child’s learning and development. Eighty-five per cent of the foundation for a child’s intellect, personality and skills is formed by age 5. Children are born ready to learn and explore. (Source: Brain Initiative, Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, 2006).
During the first six years of life, children assign meaning to their world by formulating a picture of who they are, what they can do and what they think and feel. We also know that children learn in various modes and by exposing them to learning opportunities by employing various educational pedagogies such as Gardner’s, Multiple Intelligences, Reggio Emilia, Montessori, Vygotsky, and more.
Children become active participants, aligning themselves to a manner of learning which suits them best. During your child’s early childhood years, they will discover more about themselves, about their feelings and emotions, about other people and how to communicate. Children’s participation in communicative processes is the foundation on which they build their understanding. They will continue to develop their gross and fine motor skills and learn to think progressively while solving problems.
By creating clearly defined and well-equipped learning and activity areas, children can choose to explore, learning through play based on their initiation. An activity area has various defining attributes. Physical location, with visible boundaries indicating where it begins and ends. Within these boundaries are activity and seating surfaces and the storage and display of materials used to execute the tasks for which the area is intended.
The environment allows children to become skilled learners, in which they can control the materials they use. This encourages children to be active learners and problem solvers and lays a foundation for internal motivation. The dynamics of exploration allows children to question how things work and allows them to draw conclusions and gain understanding, without knowledge being taught, but rather by experience.
The design of an early learning facility aims to leave a positive impact on the psyche of all that enter the centre. Attention to detail is paramount to ensure facilities create a sense of calm and tranquillity, which contributes significantly to learning outcomes. Both indoor and outdoor learning environments need to be created to inspire children, educators and families alike.
Early Learning Centres should hold the value of children at the core of their philosophies, believing that children learn best through play. By providing them with a fun, safe and nurturing environment, children are encouraged to play, discover and explore, under the guidance of nurturing and passionate educators, helping to instil an early love of learning.
The introduction of the Science Technology Engineering Maths (STEM) Program into early learning centres is designed to inspire curiosity and create engagement with science, technology, engineering and mathematics for pre-school aged children. The Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) includes play-based learning experiences rich in STEM concepts, delivered through a series of digital applications (apps) for tablet devices as well as physical activities.
In addition, to curriculum-based activities, early learning centres should incorporate fun! Extra programs and incursions such music and movement sessions, martial arts classes as well as the opportunity to learn a second language add to the overall learning and development of the child.
Characteristics of a good Early Learning Centre include:
• Natural playgrounds, based on occupational therapy principles.
• Nurturing, passionate, experienced educators.
• Play based educational programs including blended methodologies of the Montessori and Reggio Emilia learning approach, and the Early Years Framework (EYLF).
• Regular updates on the child’s development, and frequent communication with parents/carers through interactive apps such as Storypark.
• A specialised school readiness program.
• Menus developed in consultation with child nutritionists, to provide healthy meals and snacks.
Maragon Early Learning have six centres across Perth. To learn more and experience the Maragon difference, visit our Centres in Balcatta, Baldivis, Mirrabooka, Stirling/Osborne Park, Wellard and Yokine. For more information call 1800 MARAGON or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.