Play and learning blog

two children building a fairy garden outdoors

Taking small world play outdoors

Childhood is a time of imagination. Every child needs to be given time and space to play out what they envision in their minds. Children’s literature is full of woodland folk – dwarves, elves, fairies, pixies and gnomes. Take these imaginary creatures into your outdoor play and allow children uninterrupted time to build fairy gardens for woodland folk using natural materials. Building a fairy garden will absorb a child’s whole being, maximizing his or her attention span, imagination and creative skills.

Read the whole article here.

Child with flower and adults lower face

Babies are scientists

The first time an infant knocks a cup of milk from the table, it’s an accident. The next time, it’s clearly intentional. Will the falling cup produce the same intriguing splash on the floor (and the same exciting noise from any adult nearby)?

Science is about forming and testing hypotheses. This is what babies do all the time! They are continually experimenting and investigating, fuelled by curiosity and an innate drive to figure out their world. As long as these little investigators are surrounded by interesting things they will continue to explore and learn.

The natural world, with its constantly changing colours, textures, movements, and sounds, provides a uniquely stimulating environment for young children. Take a young child outside and you can just about see the “lights go on”. So why is it that this age group is mostly kept indoors?

Read more.

Two children playing by a stream

Why Froebel is still important today

“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul,” wrote Friedrich Froebel. Today his philosophies are embedded into our modern educational foundations, but Froebel’s ideas were radical for his time. So radical, in fact, that at one point the Prussian government banned his kindergartens. Yet Froebel’s concept of “a garden for children” lives on, and his vision for true childhood is as relevant today as it was in the 19th century.

Read an account of his life here.

A teacher helping a crying child

Challenging behaviours in challenging times

Coping with change is difficult for any of us, and children are especially sensitive to disruptions in their routine. Covid-19 has successfully disrupted daily life for everyone. Constant change and the accompanying stress have become one of the new norms. Some children are returning to their nursery or school, while others remain at home.

“Those of us who work with young children know stress often translates into an uptick in challenging behaviours,” writes Jennifer Fiechtner. “Tantrums, meltdowns, sleep disruptions, and regression are all ways that children may show that they are having a hard time. So, what can parents and caregivers do to help?”

Read this.

little girl looking at a piece of grass

Helpful tips as you reopen your setting

After nearly three months of temporary closure, many schools and settings are now reopening. As we begin to navigate yet another "new normal", early childhood educators will need to be more innovative than ever to balance the government guidelines with the age old issues of enrolment, staffing, and finances.

Here’s our Covid-19 update with helpful tips to support you as you reopen your setting.

 

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