How do children learn in their early years?
Children learn through play. Children's play is a form of self-expression that enables them to release their real feelings safely and to rehearse ways of dealing with a range of emotions. Play is the vehicle for development, the 'breadth of life to the child, since it is through play activities he finds the mental ease, and can work upon his wishes, fears and fantasies so as to integrate them into a living personality' (Isaacs, 1951).
What does that mean?
Allowing children the freedom to explore, formulate questions and
answers in their mind, build on their interests, try things out, test out
their own theories, assess risk in their play, and become effective
learners that are intrigued and excited about the world around them.
Role of the adult
• support exploration
• follow the child’s lead and line of fascination.
• encourage them to have a go, to build on what they already know and open the door to more opportunity and possibilities.
• make sure we keep them safe whilst allowing them the space to take considered risks.
• ensure that children are not in danger, but also consider the risk benefit to something the children are doing.
• encourage and relish exploring different textures, using all their senses to experience it.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum
The key to children’s learning is having active play experiences, with adults to talk
to them and support what they are doing.
The curriculum highlights the ‘characteristics of effective learning’.
• playing and exploring
• active learning
• creativity and critical thinking
We support children with these characteristics of effective learning by providing quality, open ended and exciting opportunities that enable the children to explore, question, have a go and practice.