As practitioners we have a hard task, how do we cater for each individual child’s learning? We can offer learning through play. We know that what we offer is laying the foundations in a child’s learning and trying to give them the best start in their young lives.
We can offer them the choice of either indoor or outdoor experiences in any kind of weather. We need to keep children active, giving them the opportunities to explore the outdoors. Letting them run, jump, crawl, move in different ways and use various resources to support their activeness. We must also let children try out things for themselves, get their exploratory senses going, take risks, explore their feelings, learn from mistakes, be in control and think imaginatively.
Children need good emotional attachments both with their peers as well as the adults that look after them. This is to ensure that trust is built continuously and ideas and feelings are shared. We must get down and engage on the child’s level, sit with them, listen to them, give them ownership on certain tasks. This will promote good behaviour and make them feel valued.
We should let children express themselves. We let them know that they have a voice and can be heard, and equally we teach them how to listen. We also apply this approach with younger non-verbal children, whose demands are expressed through body language, gestures and noises. As practitioners we need to be attuned to the children in our care.
As we plan our activities we must give children challenges. Challenge is a big word but needs to be used and implemented more often. If we do not challenge children how will they know their own abilities and work out what they can achieve.
We must model, guide, demonstrate and instruct what we want the child to learn. We must remember if it doesn’t work the way we are doing it then we need to change the style to cater for the individual child. Nothing is written in stone.
Most importantly, we must let children have fun. Children do not want activities that are limiting their learning. They want activities that will capture their imagination. Laughter, fun and enjoyment sometimes being whimsical and nonsensical has a great effect on children. I’m sure we can all agree that laughter is definitely the best medicine.