Early years

little boy looking at picture book

Literacy, learning... and luck

With information and entertainment only one click or swipe away, are we and our children losing the motivation to open up real books?

 

Sue Palmer, literacy specialist and author of Toxic Childhood, has important insights and advice regarding reading, play and the kindergarten approach. Read them.

child touching polished stones and pebbles

The importance of sensory play

If there’s one thing in common about young children, it’s their ability to make a mess! Children learn best through direct experiences – exploring the world around them with their whole being. They stare, grab, smell, listen, rub, or lick unfamiliar objects, using all their senses to collect data that will be wired permanently into their memory.

 

If a child’s environment is too sterile or limited, they are deprived of this rich learning. What can parents and teachers do to offer diverse sensory experiences without becoming completely overwhelmed by the inevitable mess? Read this.

three boys playing in a stream

Using nature to help children academically

How can spending time outdoors help our children develop into enthusiastic academic learners? Ginny Yurich from Michigan, USA has some interesting insights and tips after spending thousands of hours outside with her five children. Read them here.

young girl on a swing

Qualities that nurture learning

"Surely the greatest reward gained in learning is the satisfaction and enjoyment it brings? I have never been an advocate of rewarding learning with chocolate!", writes Dr Andrew Lockett. "I have never liked the idea of sanctions or withdrawing toys. The ability to use humour, or to redirect children’s attention to new activities often diffuses a difficult situation." Read these interesting reflections from Dr Lockett, a retired teacher and OFSTED inspector.

boys playing with unit blocks

Block play and maths

"When children play with blocks, they are practising mathematical skills, " write Pamela C. Phelps, Ph.D. and Laura L. Stannard, Ph.D.

 

"Because it involves measuring lengths, widths, and heights (if only by eye), block play develops a child’s ability to mentally visualise relationships. Such manipulations are similar to those used in geometry and algebra during the child’s later school years" Read more.

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