Life Long Learning Skills

It is important to view children as life long learners as this opens new ways of teaching them and new opportunities for them.
‘Each day, you have the opportunity to offer your students the world, to give them life-changing knowledge and experiences. Relish the possibilities’ (Katafiasz, 1997). 
Early childhood is when children lay down the foundations of their social and emotional skills to enable them to grow into happy and capable people.

Outdoor preschool play environment
Children interacting with each other and the environment
'Learning in early childhood is not just about pre-set curricula outcomes; it is about child-initiated discovery, children exploring and learning through play and successfully engaging and communicating with a range of people.'   (Nolan, Kilderry & O 'Grady, Young Children as Active Learners 2006).

Life long learning skills can include:
  • Effective Coomunication: Communicating with others which develops our personal, social and interpersonal skills
  • Being inventive and creative which develops entrepreneurial skills
  • Leadership - assisting peers with new knowledge
  • Teamwork which develops collaboration and negotiating skills
  • Being a confident learner 
  • Managing ones own learning which develops skills in being autonomous, directing and learning about our own interests and skills in finding information and ways of doing things.
This all has to happen in an environment where children have some choices about their own learning possiblities and where they engage with their own learning journey.

If you are interested in setting up a play space offering children a wide variety of learning choices both outdoors and indoors here is some useful information: Create the Perfect Play Space - Learning Environments for Young Children PDF  has been created to offer professionals working in the education and care sector in Australia practical support to implement the National Quality Framework. It refers to the Early Years Learning Framework (Belonging, Being and Becoming) and the Framework for School Age Care (My Time, Our Place).

Engaged children learning from each other

Working with children involves more than just providing an interesting play space or providing interesting materials and resources and assuming that play will develop. 
Engaged teachers take an active, intentional role in the learning using a balanced approach... 

Intentional teaching practices are characterised as:
High expectations — When teachers expect that children will experience success in learning, they create the conditions that support the development of children’s knowledge and skills. When children recognise that teachers hold high expectations of them, they feel valued and capable, in turn encouraging the development of positive dispositions towards learning. 
Planning and management — Teachers balance plans to introduce particular content with related topics and interests that arise from children. In addition they manage both individual behaviour and whole-group dynamics. 
Learning-oriented kindergarten setting — Teachers model respect for the learning environment, encouraging children to value the kindergarten setting as a place where learning occurs for children and adults. 
Engaging experiences — Teachers recognise that learning opportunities connected to children’s ideas and experiences are more likely to capture children’s interest and attention. Teachers understand that learning should be supported in ways that match and extend individual children’s current capabilities.
 • Thoughtful questioning — Teachers understand the importance of challenging and stimulating thinking through interesting provocations. Skilful questioning enables teachers to gather insights into children’s interests, knowledge and ways of thinking. 
Feedback — Teachers present information, make comments, ask questions and identify contradictions in children’s thinking. They pose ‘What if’ challenges to provide effective feedback. Such feedback focuses on learning rather than judgment, e.g. ‘I really like the way you found some paper towel to wipe up the water, now the floor isn’t slippery’. Queensland kindergarten learning guideline. Get full PDF 


Importance of nature in early childhood

Here are seven articles supporting the importance of nature to children's development.

10 ways to get your kids out in nature, and why it matters: In his book, Louv shares many studies that have shown that spending time in nature has tremendous health benefits, among them


Those who play...

Nothing lights up the brain like play.

Those who play rarely become brittle in the face of stress or lose the healing capacity for humour.  Stuart Brown, MD

importance of play

By definition, play is purposeless, all-consuming, and fun. But as Dr. Stuart Brown, play specialist & psychiatrist,  illustrates, play is


20 Quotes about play

"Step back as much as possible when children play.
Let them take risks & solve problems. It builds their self-esteem." ~ early play

early childhood play quotes
“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.” 
~ Joseph Chilton Pearce

play quotes
“Those who play rarely become brittle in the face of stress
or lose the healing capacity for humor.” ~ Stuart Brown, MD

play quotes

Play quotes
"The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect
but by the play instinct."
~ Carl Jung.

early childhood play quotes
“The true object of all human life is play.”  ~ G. K. Chesterton

"Play isn't just for diagnosis or therapy.
It's these children's right and their need."
~ B.J. Seabury
"A really important part of being a player is imaginative solo play."
~ Stuart Brown, MD

“Children need someone to reassure them that play
– their own, unique, imaginative play –
is something to be valued.” ~ Fred Rogers
“Imaginative play can make for a happy childhood.”  ~ Jerome Singer
“Imaginative play can make for a happy childhood.”
~ Jerome Singer

20 quotes about play and early childhood

"A child who does not play is not a child, but the man who does not play
has lost forever the child who lived in him." ~ Pablo Neruda

The opposite of play

"Children have always learned and created places
for themselves through play." 
~ Donna R. Barnes

“It is paradoxical that many educators
and parents still differentiate between a time for learning
and a time for play..." Leo F. Buscaglia

quotes about play
"Deep meaning lies often in childish play."
~ Johann Friedrich von Schille


Leaf art creations

The transient nature of leaf art ... I love it. I also love how children create little pieces of art everywhere and it is ephemeral and they have no attachment, they just move on. 

Babies and the importance of ritual

Babies and  ritual

Imagine what it’s like to be an infant. The world is all brand new — a fascinating, stimulating sensory delight — but the constant transitions, surprises and novelty can be intense and overwhelming.


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