Posted by THE WISDOM TREE GLOBAL SCHOOL
No matter what early learning centre your child attends, it’s important to be informed about what types of learning are being used along with the current trends. When talking with other parents or looking for a new centre, it’s helpful to know what early years learning frameworks are out there and what might be best for your child.From this blog, you’ll be aware of five top trends in early learning along with the benefits of each.
1. Greater focus on learning through movement and play
Many studies, researchers, and educators have found that learning through play is a particularly effective method for young children. Rather than engaging only in structured activities, playing allows children to explore, create, and absorb information in a natural, fun way. Play provides active exploration that assists in building and strengthening brain pathways. Play creates a brain that has increased flexibility and improved potential for learning later in life.
What types of play are used for learning?
There are many styles of play-based learning, and it’s often effective to use a combination of methods.
At TWIGS, we provide dedicated time for uninterrupted play and exploration, because we believe children are incredibly capable of learning on their own. We want children to have the confidence and independence to make connections with the world and their peers.
A few play-based learning types include:
• Movement play: Involves physical engagement with nature, people, or materials (i.e. toys, games, musical instruments)
• Enjoyable play: Involves something the child primarily enjoys, such as play-dough, blocks, dancing, dressing up, or drawing
• Independent play: This is when a child plays mostly on their own, chooses their own toys or instruments, and is observed by teachers
• Cooperative play: When children play and work together, such as when doing a puzzle, building something in the sand, or making a meal in a toy kitchen
• Process-oriented play: Involves accumulation of new skills such as listening, pressing buttons, or counting. The focus is on the process not an end goal.
The benefits of play-based learning:
The advantages of using a play-based early years learning framework are numerous, including building positive thoughts and happiness around learning, the growth of diverse skills, and better connectivity to the world around them.Children who engage in quality play experiences are more likely to have well-developed memory skills, language development, and are able to regulate their behaviour, leading to enhanced school adjustment and academic learning.
2. Integration of technologies into the learning environment
With the growing presence of technology in our lives and the global world, it may not come as a surprise that technology has found its way into early learning and education. From iPads to online games, technology and the internet is used to further learning in certain play schools.
What does technology look like in play schools?
Because of its new arrival on the early education scene, technology use varies greatly among play schools in India. It ranges from interactive story books, videos, music, play, slideshows etc.
The Benefits of integrating technology in classroom teaching
Technology integration not only engages the children but it also helps the teacher the opportunity to differentiate their learning in a variety of mediums. At TWIGS, technology isn’t a teaching substitute, but a valuable aid that introduces children to new ways of thinking and working. Plus, it’s a great introduction to resources that your child’s likely to use in the future.
3. Early literacy and numeracy
Important stages in the learning process lead up to a child being able to read, write, and do math. Critical skills like hearing sounds, vocabulary development, and recognising letters and numbers, are essential for a child’s development.
Early literacy and numeracy gives children a core foundation for future learning and communication. By incorporating these components early in a child’s life, even from birth, we give them increased opportunity to build positive attitudes and competencies.
For these reasons, play schools across the country place a large focus on early literacy and numeracy.
What does early literacy and numeracy look like?
• Exposing a child to language through speaking, reading, and singing.
• Involving a child in daily activities through talk and explanation, like when bathing or feeding.
• Incorporating counting, numbers, measuring, and interaction with shapes during games or regular activities like counting steps or sorting toys.
Benefits of early literacy and numeracy
If elements of early literacy and numeracy are started right from birth or implemented into early learning, children gain further exposure to key skills, such as language and maths. This sets a foundation for future learning and educational growth.
4. Learning in nature and the outdoors
A staple in TWIGS, by giving children time to interact with nature, we are offering them a chance to explore the outdoor world – and find enjoyable aspects that teach them, too.
Most children are invigorated with the outdoors, because of the space, freedom, and fresh air it provides. By opening up nature to children, we expose them to elements that can’t found inside a centre building.
How might outdoor learning be incorporated at a playschool?
The use of nature in learning and development differs greatly among centres. Some may let children “roam free” in natural environments, while others might create an outdoor space with that includes various activities and climbing equipment.
Beyond the type of environment, nature offers a wide variety of options for young children of all ages, including:
• Interacting with animals
• Simple gardening help
• Playing games
• Collecting items like rocks
• Looking for birds in trees
• Running or playing sports
• Exploring a garden
The benefits of learning in nature and the outdoors
Involving nature learning has been found to be incredibly beneficial, eye-opening, and fun for children. Getting out of their indoor environments, children have the ability to interact with the world and let their creativity flourish.These spaces invite open-ended interactions, spontaneity, risk-taking, exploration, discovery and connection with nature. They foster an appreciation of the natural environment, develop environmental awareness and provide a platform for ongoing environmental education.
5. Assessment of young learners
In early learning, assessments are tools used to gauge children’s skills and abilities, what the child is interested in, and where they might be having difficulty.
Assessments may be used or recommended as your child progresses toward entering primary school. The main purpose is to allow for early intervention to address concerns or find avenues of specialised learning for gifted students.
What types of assessments are commonly used?
A variety of early learning assessments are available, but most often, the following are used:
• Observation (i.e. an educator observes behaviour and skills)
• Standardised testing (i.e. development and intelligence testing)
• Language and speech (i.e. talking, listening, and writing)
• Vision and hearing (i.e. capability testing)
The benefits of assessments
Assessments can help both child teachers and parents know how to alter learning for the child. Because they become better aware of the child’s particular learning stage and style, they can gear developmental activities toward specific needs and desires.
Assessments are sometimes used as a precursor step to attending school, ensuring any areas of need, strength, and preference are identified.
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