The Early Childhood Learning Environment

“The learning environment is an important and powerful teaching tool. Much of the early childhood teacher’s work is done before the children ever arrive. If the enThe vironment is set up with the knowledge of how children learn and develop it can positively support teaching and learning. A teacher experiencing difficulty with student behaviour should carefully evaluate the daily schedule, classroom arrangement, materials within each learning centre, and the curriculum.

Best Practices

In creating a positive early childhood environment, the following practices should be observed: Continue reading

Long Term Benefits of a Play-Based Early Childhood

“Research shows that children who engage in complex forms of socio-dramatic play have greater language skills than nonplayers, better social skills, more empathy, more imagination, and more of the subtle capacity to know what others mean. They are less aggressive and show more self-control and higher levels of thinking.

Long-term research casts doubt on the assumption that starting earlier on the teaching of phonics and other discrete skills leads to better results. For example, most of the play-based kindergartens in Germany were changed into centers for cognitive achievement during a wave of educational “reform” in the 1970s. But research comparing 50 play-based classes with 50 early-learning centers found that by age ten the children who had played in kindergarten excelled over the others in a host of ways. They were more advanced in reading and mathematics and they were better adjusted socially and emotionally in school. They excelled in creativity and intelligence, oral expression, and “industry.” As a result of this study German kindergartens returned to being play-based again. Continue reading

Let the Children Play

“Play develops the foundation of intellectual, social, physical, and emotional skills necessary for success in school and in life. It “paves the way for learning.” Block building, sand and water play lay the foundation for logical mathematical thinking, scientific reasoning, and cognitive problem
solving. Rough-and-tumble play develops social and emotional self-regulation and may be particularly important in the development of social competence in boys. Play fosters creativity and flexibility in thinking. There is no right or wrong way to do things; there are many possibilities in play – a chair can be a car or a boat, a house or a bed. Continue reading

Providing Space, Time and Materials for Play

Teaching Children the Skills of Play

“Play is a mode of response to experiences that can and should be taught in early childhood education. We teach young children to play by providing them with space, time, and materials; offering them support in problem solving; presenting new problems for them to solve; paying attention to their spontaneous interests; and valuing their eagerness to learn about the world in which we all live together.”

– D. Koralek, 2004 Continue reading

Learning Through Play

“In playing, children express, explore, combine, and extend what they have learned about the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of the world around them; about the words, signs, symbols, and customs of their language and culture; and about their own and other people’s thoughts, feelings, ideas, and sensations. In the play scenarios children invent and explore by themselves and with other children, they bring together everything they have learned and are wondering about. In play, children represent and transform the world around them, providing other children and adults with a window into their thoughts and perceptions, and often helping adults to see the world in new ways.”

– British Columbia Early Learning Framework, 2008

Early Learning Framework