Child behaviour

two children checking a bird box for a nest

Building a curriculum on the natural curiosity of children

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” – John Dewey

One of the greatest gifts teachers can give to their students is a life-long love of learning. Because children’s interests differ widely depending on their own experiences, meeting their learning needs demands the full and creative attention of a teacher’s mind and heart.

The Project Approach offers teachers a way to build their curriculum on the natural curiosity of children. When immersed in a topic that is local and relevant, students actively participate in the educational experience. This kind of authentic learning energises the child as they “become part of a community of investigators” instead of a passive recipient of information. Read more.

children looking at nature items through magnifying glass

Nurturing children's biophilia

Young children have an innate attraction to nature; they thrive on stomping in puddles after a rain, collecting acorns, and stroking a baby animal’s soft fur. This love for the natural world, if nurtured in the right way, can support positive environmental behaviours and social action as children grow up. Read this interesting article.

children playing with a sensory treasure basket

Sensory play for children with SEN

“A treasure basket is an example of a sensory-rich and highly portable resource, making it a perfect ‘sensory snack’,” writes Sue Gascoyne. “ The sensory stimulation and hands-on approach is great for brain and memory development, gross and fine motor skills and strength.” Because there are no right or wrong ways of playing, sensory play of this sort can appeal to children with varying learning styles and abilities. Read on.

boys fighting over a toddle box

Teaching compassion

Learning how to interact positively with others is a vital developmental task of early childhood. However, many teachers are reporting a worrying increase in social problems such as bullying, lack of problem-solving skills, and anti-social behaviour.

 

Current trends, such as the increase of media and technology in the lives of young children, combined with fewer opportunities for play and interaction with others, are feeding this widespread problem which Diane Levin has characterized as “Compassion Deficit Disorder”.

 

No, this is not another label to slap on children’s behavioural difficulties. Rather, it is an indictment on a society where childhood is not valued and supported. It is vital that children have real life, meaningful experiences right from the start that help them to learn compassion and empathy. Parents and educators are in a unique position to curb this damaging trend. Read Diane Levin’s article.

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teacher and child singing or doing finger games

From stickers to self-regulation

“Do we really want our children to simply do as they are told without asking? Well yes – sometimes we would. But for a child to become successful in life, surely we want them to take some control of regulating their own choices and behaviours,” writes Ali McClure, author of Making it Better for Boys. “We would love our children to become self-regulated, happy individuals, but do some of the strategies we use in our early years settings actually backfire in this regard?”

 

Ali McClure will be running a full day course: “From Stickers to Self-Regulation”, for early years and KS1 practitioners on 12 November at the Community Playthings factory in East Sussex. Read Ali's article and find out more about her training.

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