Lifestyles 4616 Views

Give your toddler playtime experiences, educators say

(NC) -- Today, research shows that traditional methods of teaching won't cut it for parents who say their children learn best through experience.

A recent study conducted by Leger Marketing shows that 63 per cent of parents feel young children under the age of five learn best through hands-on involvement that includes touching, feeling, or doing.

“An early childhood educator's approach recognizes the uniqueness of each individual child in the context of the family and community and it focuses on learning through play,” explains Melanie Dixon, Director of Professional Practice at the College of Early Childhood Educators.

The survey revealed that only six per cent of parents feel a strict curriculum in school or child care is important to their child's learning, and less than one per cent feel their child learns best from self-study.

Although learning through play looks like fun and games, in reality the work of a registered early childhood educator (RECE) involves assessment of early learning and care programs and the children in them, plus communication with families about children's intellectual, physical, social, and emotional growth.

Ontario's Ministry of Education cites four beneficial elements for early childhood learning:

Belonging- this refers to how connected a child feels to others, and their experiences in relation to being valued and making contributions to a group.

Well-being- points out the importance of physical and mental health and wellness in a child`s development.

Engagement- suggests that children learn best when they are in a state of involvement and focus, through which they develop critical skills like problem solving, creative thinking, and innovation.

Expression or communication- through their bodies, words, and use of materials, children develop capacities for increasingly complex communication.

While 20 per cent of Ontario parents surveyed still consider RECEs as “babysitters,” in reality their practice, programs, and certification requires a comprehensive, two-year process that involves commitment to hard work and dedication to early child development.

Dixon notes that more than half of survey respondents (53 per cent) said that the job of an early childhood educator sounded more demanding than their own workplace responsibilities.


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