From the day we are born our learning journey begins. The early years of a life are considered by many to be the most important learning phase. Children are often referred to as sponges during this period because they absorb every bit of information in their world, whether verbal or visual. During this period foundations that can have a dramatic impact on a child’s journey to adulthood are built.
In the first few years of a child’s life, their mental, physical, social and emotional development is critical. A child’s relationships, health, nutrition and life experiences can affect this development in both positive and negative ways.
For example, positive relationships and good nutrition will assist brain development in a healthy way, whereas neglect and abuse may have a negative effect, and may contribute to emotional and behavioural issues later in life.
A child’s development and learning skills can be influenced and affected by a number of things such as family relationships, cultural influences and community services.
An early childhood education and care environment needs to offer positive influences for beneficial outcomes for the child. Children need to feel safe and welcome in their learning environment to ensure positive relationships can be established with educators and other children. It is also important for a positive relationship within families to ensure a collaborative approach is taken in each child’s development and learning.
Educators observe a child’s development as they reach certain milestones, such as from sitting to crawling and on to walking, developing fine and gross motor skills. They also watch them socialising with their peers, including problem solving and turn taking. Such skills, together with stimulating programs and play based learning, set the foundations for the child’s education.
Children gain so many benefits from attending an early childhood education and care environment to prepare them with an appreciation and thirst for learning, as well as skills to transition and adapt to the primary school system. ☐