We often wonder what we can do to promote knowledge in young children. The answer is quite simple, play, it comes naturally and spontaneously in young children. Through play children develop language and reasoning skills, understand their emotions, develop creativity, motor skills improve, and their social and intellectual skills increase. Likewise, children solve problems through play. They learn by watching, listening, exploring, and experimenting. They build their own knowledge by navigating through their surroundings. It is critical for children to have multiple opportunities to explore objects through the use of all five senses. This will create connections in their brains, which is going to translate into new knowledge.
In my classroom, we build children's growth by planning activities that promote learning through play. Students develop one to one correspondence skills and learn parts to whole concept through working with manipulatives, using building blocks, and completing puzzles. They correspondingly develop eye-hand coordination, small muscle control, and increase their concentration span. Students learn about math concepts such as size, shape, weight, and spatial relationships. In Science, they start to understand physical properties of objects like texture, color, and form. Student interactions develop social and emotional abilities such as sharing, taking turns, cooperating with others, and developing problem solving skills.
The ABC and Writing centers help students significantly to improve their fine motor skills and make connections with Math concepts. Moreover, these centers support student visual discrimination, thought expression on paper, and letter manipulation. Most importantly, they build the foundation for students to enjoy reading and writing. Students have the opportunity to shape their imagination, develop their creativity, make friendships, and improve conflict/resolution skills.
Summer is just around the corner. Therefore, it is important to continue to motivate children to explore their environment and increase their knowledge. At home, kids can learn things like measurement and physical changes in matter when they help with cooking or baking. They can learn about plant growth and its parts when they plant seeds. They can practice counting household items, matching pairs of socks, sorting clothes, and more.
It is highly crucial that parents provide opportunities for their children to grow their learning through hands on activities during summer vacation. In this way, students continue developing their knowledge and background experience even if they are not in school.
Child and Family Center. Vanderbilt University
Child Development and Early Learning: A foundation for Professional Knowledge and competencies.
The National Academies of Sciences – Engineering – Medicine
How children learn. By Stella Vosniadou. International Academy of Education.