Early Childhood Learning
Early childhood learning begins with all of your child's senses!
Our senses tell us that we are touching, tasting, smelling, pushing, pulling, sifting, sorting, watching, reaching, gazing.
Sharifa Oppenheimer, author of "Heaven on Earth, A Handbook for Parents of Young Children," says of children: "They need to be touched by grass, flowers, sunshine, birdsong. They need a pile of dirt, and earthworms, clay for mud pies and dirt balls for target practice. They need sticks and bare feet, stubbed toes, too. They need songs, stories, paints, costumes. And games that go on without end...What they touch must be vibrantly alive, that in growing they may learn to respect, to nurture, to cherish and protect. This is our task; it is urgent they thrive. They are Hope itself, here, now, forever."
Considering that children (and adults) learn everything through their senses, it is important that they be surrounded by the beauty that the natural world offers.
Choose natural colors that are rich and warm. Ms. Oppenheimer explains it this way: Natural colors "ask the eye to open into the experience. We know that when colors are too fluorescent, too garish (as colors for children often are), the eye protects itself and closes down in a subtle way." Keeping the visual field uncluttered and colors simple will allow children to embrace the world more fully and openly.
Soft, natural fibers allow the skin to breathe. Choose clothing that is loose and can be layered easily. A warm cap for baby will allow him to use his energy to grow rather than for staying warm, as most body heat is lost through the head. Choose clothing that will allow your child to dress himself and tend to bathroom needs, as much as possible.
Simple toys with understated features and purposes allow for maximum creativity and imaginative play. In the old days, a hankie could be knotted into a doll for a child to play with endlessly. The doll could be the mama, the child, the farmer, the baker.
Remember that for a child anything can be anything! So if you give a child an elaborate fire truck, it can only be that: a fire truck. If you give him a polished wooden branch, the world of possibilities opens: it can be a fire truck, a bridge, a boat, a rocket ship...
implicity Creates Order
Are you overwhelmed with your child's "stuff"? A young child processes her experiences through play. If her world (her play things) are disorganized and cluttered, can you imagine what is happening in her inner world? Less really is more. Having too much of anything causes a disregard for that thing. When children have fewer toys and simpler toys they can be more attuned to and caring of those possessions. A child who is able to focus and engage in imaginative play without the distractions of garish colors, too-tight clothing and too, too much "stuff" can be truly engaged in learning through all of their senses.