All posts tagged: early childhood education

Making Mistakes

So this month my son is really into markers, particularly the lids (which is definitely better as it means less marker on the walls however, it does mean that we constantly have marker on our hands). I’m not sure why anyone ever thought that non-washable markers was a good idea (or really my thought should be about what possessed me to buy them in the first place). My son’s absolute favorite thing to do is put the marker lids on his on his fingers (which he then appropriately calls marker fingers) and then tries to play with his toys which inevitably results in frustration since he can’t accomplish anything with markers on his fingers. What gets me, is that he still tries every time. My son is a clever kid, I know all parents think that about their own children, so I’m ok with the eye roll at your computer screen. My question is that how come toddlers will try something over and over again regardless of whether or not they keep getting the same …

Summer Camp at Seasons!

We have been so busy running camps for the past month that I haven’t had a moment to blog. I’ve been saving up so many photos though, so this post will promise to entertain and give you plenty of crafting/baking ideas to do with your little ones. We have done a variety of themes over the past couple weeks and these are just some highlights. If you would like instructions/recipes for any of the ideas please feel to email me: nikki@seasonsfamilycentre.com Candy Land We played a life size version of Candy Land and then the kids got to make their own board games. For the baking activity we made graham cracker houses. Wizards The children made wizard hats out of rice krispie treats and then we made little wizards out of a paper cup and a styrofoam ball. We used non-toxic paints, googly eyes, sparkly stars and cotton balls to add the details for our cute wizards! Outer Space The kids made aliens out of a hard boiled egg and a toilet paper roll. We …

Children’s “Critical Period” of Learning and Stages of Cognitive Play

>> Expert Advice from our ECE Expert: Kim Davies << There are many types of play that use hands-on tools and manipulatives including sand play, water play, block play, music, drama, dance and creative arts that use open-ended materials. It is through the repetition of quality interactions and experiences in children’s early years that these advanced brain patterns evolve. For the duration of these “sensitive” stages of brain development, children go through two main stages of Cognitive Play. The first is called Functional Play. This is when toddlers and young preschools learn through repetitive, open-ended free-play (with no determined outcome). During this developmental stage, they repeatedly practice their mental schemes by interacting with objects, people and language in their environment. It may appear that they have a limited attention span and may wander from toy to toy, but they are learning as they attempt to manipulate shapes, fill buckets, empty baskets and knock items over. These toddlers are rapidly developing all of their skills as they practice using their bodies in motion. Meanwhile, they are …

Brain Development and How Children Learn Through Play

>> Expert Advice from our ECE Expert: Kim Davies << Brain Development and How Children Learn Through Play From a historical perspective, it is well known that children’s learning occurs in all social and cultural settings and that the best practice for all children’s early learning, includes artistic play as a natural childhood activity. According to ancient Greek Philosopher Plato, it is “the adult’s role to provide children with an environment that encourages them to enjoy learning through relevant and meaningful opportunities while surrounded by items that foster their imagination, ability to imitate, and an environment that contains materials that provide opportunities for repeated practice of skills, in order to prepare them for adulthood”. Likewise, it is common knowledge within the current field of Education that children learn best through active, hands-on learning experiences that include parent or teacher involvement, as a positive and nurturing role model. We know that children should be encouraged to learn by exploring their senses and motor abilities, as play helps them to make sense of the changing world around them. …

When to Start Toilet Learning

>> >> Expert Advice from our ECE Expert: Kim Davies << Every toddler develops at their own pace, and it’s most important to take accurate toilet readiness cues from them. Typically, girls tend to be ready for toilet learning before boys, however with either gender; parents should resist the urge to introduce their child to toilet learning if the child is not ready. Major signs that your child is not ready include their outright resistance or avoidance of the toilet, their being stressed-out or crying about it, or if they adamantly prefer to eliminate into a diaper/pull-up, rather than the toilet. When toddlers are developmentally ready for toilet learning they will give you certain signs or cues. They begin to be interested in putting things away where they belong, they start naming body parts and develop the ability to pull down their own pants and pull them back up. They may begin to pretend-play using the toilet with toys. You may notice that their diaper is dry in the morning or they may be going …

Pre-reading Skills for Toddlers

>> Expert Advice from our ECE Expert: Kim Davies << Did you know that looking at the pictures in books is one of the first stages of learning to read? When you’re reading aloud to toddlers, help them learn by encouraging them to look at and discuss what they see in the pictures. They may seem young, but toddlers are smart and capable of developing pre-reading skills. Adults may find it boring and wonder why toddlers love reading and re-reading the same books over and over again. Toddlers feel completely engrossed in these books as they study the pictures and colours, listen to the rhythm, rhyme or patterns of the words as they are being read aloud by an adult, and master the feel and texture of the pages as they turn. For toddlers, there is a certain sense of control and predictability in a book that they have read and re-read. For toddlers, repeatedly “reading” a book (or looking at the pictures and discussing what they see) is hard work, but it stimulates their …

How Parents Can Help with Their Child’s Toilet Learning

>> Expert Advice from our ECE Expert: Kim Davies << How Parents Can Help with Their Child’s Toilet Learning When starting to toilet learn with your toddler, the first thing to do is emotionally prepare yourself to be patient. Take cues from your toddler to determine when they are interested and willing, toilet learning can be hard. Respond to your toddler’s interest in toilet learning with positive support. Toilet learning can be a frustrating, testing, exasperating and messy experience that takes time to master. Be sure to have the time to commit to the toilet learning process. Prepare yourself to be your child’s assistant, take to role of helper and always remain calm. If you realize that you may have misread your toddler’s toilet readiness cues and they seem opposed to participating, then put them back into their diapers and let them know that you will try again in a few weeks when they are feeling ready. Take your cue from them and move forward accordingly. Before starting toilet learning, ensure that you toddler’s diet …

What’s in a Puzzle?

>> Expert Advice from our ECE Expert: Kim Davies << Think about a basic, easy toddler puzzle. You know, like the one with the wooden numbers or farm animals with the bright colours and knobs to hold onto? At first, a toddler may look at the puzzle with interest and just feel the knobs. The next time they play with the puzzle, they may just take the puzzle apart and leave all the pieces scattered about on the floor. This is developmentally typical.         With some quality “floor time” spent with an adult, the toddler may be prompted to discuss what objects are in the puzzle (shapes, animals, numbers), their colours and characteristics. Yet, even though the adult puts the pieces back into the puzzle board, the toddler will likely continue to take apart the puzzle pieces, without putting them back in. As frustrating as this may be for the adult, they must remain patient with the toddler. In time, after having several interactions and discussions about the same puzzle, eventually the …

Toddlers Need Practice, Practice and more Practice!

Toddlers learn through play, with the repeated investigation and exploration of age appropriate toys, tools and materials. Upon using a new toy for the first time, a toddler may observe it and touch it, but may not know what to really do with it or how to use it. However, over time and with repeated opportunities for practice a toddler will discover many ways to play with their toy(s). While it may seem boring and tediously repetitious to adults, the best way for toddlers to learn is through meaningful life experiences that offer the opportunity for repeated practice with the same toys, materials and tools. Adults often feel pressured to give toddlers new things to play with. Meanwhile, toddlers truly benefit from repeated practice with toys they have already used many times. Once a certain toy, tool or material is mastered, then it makes sense to introduce some new toys into the toddler’s environment.