Education

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.

three young boys playing next to a stream

Insights from Friedrich Froebel

Young children learn naturally when allowed to explore and discover, manipulate and practice newly acquired skills through play. Play is not trivial, it's children's tool for growth. Read this short piece by Dr Stella Louis and Dr Sacha Powell for some insights from the founder of the first kindergarten, Friedrich Froebel. 
two children playing with unit blocks

An interview with Daniel Spry

Blocks are one of very few resources that allow children to work in all areas of learning at once. They encourage creativity and allow kids to turn problems over, not only with their minds, but also with their hands.
Some months before the Covid-19 pandemic began, we interviewed Early Years Consultant Daniel Spry, who has delivered block play trainings nationally and internationally for many years. Here's the interview.
 

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