Here are eight vital skills your child can develop in an early learning and care setting.
Children build confidence when they are able to master new skills in a supportive environment at their own pace. In early learning and care settings, such as kindergarten and childcare settings, play-based learning experiences help build children’s interests and capabilities. Children become curious about their world and begin to explore and research the world around them. They also start to make decisions and develop problem-solving skills. Through this process, children gain social, emotional, language, physical and cognitive skills. In learning these skills, children gain a real sense of self-confidence and independence.
The ability to build relationships with people outside of the family before school starts is very important. In early learning and care settings, children are able to develop meaningful relationships with others and learn how to talk to and play with their peers and educators. They learn how to start conversations, how to understand and cooperate with others and how they operate in group settings.
- Participation and contribution
In kindergarten and childcare settings children become participants in their world. They are encouraged to contribute to their early learning community every day. This gives children a real sense of ownership and belonging to their early learning community. Children learn that being able to participate and contribute is very important and that being ‘known’ and recognised by others makes them feel good about themselves.
Problem-solving and decision-making are crucial life skills both socially or intellectually. In kindergarten and childcare children have the opportunity to practice these skills by choosing and deciding how things should happen, which helps them develop critical thinking. Children also learn patterns, sequencing, puzzle solving and reasoning – vital pre-numeracy skills.
- Language and communication
Language-rich environments are important for children to understand the world around them. That’s why in early learning and care settings you will see lots of conversations, stories, singing and chatter. To be understood and have your needs met, you need to be able to ask, tell and enquire. Having a voice to be heard and understood gives children a sense of connection and belonging. Talking and discussions also help children develop thinking and literacy skills.
- Emotional regulation
Children start to manage their emotions and develop a sense of reason at about the age of two or three. Before this, children are still ‘collecting’ and ‘experiencing’ emotions. In kindergarten and childcare children can practice managing themselves as they relate to others. In these settings, children begin to understand that action and reaction are linked. Through this, children can master self-control and have an impact on what happens. This is an exciting time for children once they realise they are ‘powerful.’
At about the age of two, children start to show understanding of other people’s feelings. Pretend play is a really interesting way of feeling and showing empathy as children need to have an understanding of what someone else believes. Empathy is a sophisticated feeling that is a platform for strong social connections in the future. Early learning and care settings open up opportunities for children to explore and practice their empathy with other children. Educators design play-based experiences that encourage children to understand and develop language around empathy.
Resilience requires children to step out of their comfort zones and try new things. Resilience is born from facing challenges, sometimes feeling a bit scared or vulnerable and finding ways to overcome this, like by being strong, brave and confident. Kindergarten and childcare can provide lots of experiences for children to develop and practice resilience skills like problem-solving, optimism, independence and social connection.
Best of all, in kindergarten and childcare settings, children have the opportunity to have fun and make the most of their carefree childhoods.
Content provided by Early Childhood Management Services (ECMS)
For more information please visit www.ecms.org.au or call 03 8481 1101
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