When you plant a sapling you need to make sure of a hundred things. The soil needs to have that fertility and minerals the sapling requires, the amount of sunlight, water, climatic conditions, density of winds and rains etc., are all important to make the sapling grow into a strong, beautiful tree. It is not magic for a sapling to turn into a tree just like that.
Our children are like those saplings. We cannot expect them to grow big and bold without any nourishment. Just like how the sapling needs favourable conditions to grow, our kids also require the appropriate learning experiences and development to grow into their beautiful selves and we as parents act as a catalyst for them to achieve it. A child’s brain grows up to 90% by the time she is five years old. A lot of connections formed in these years reflects their personality throughout their entire lifetime. That is why it is essential to help them mould their brain the right way. The tiny steps we take today will help them take big strides ahead.
WHAT IS EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING?
- Early Childhood Learning focuses on learning through play. It is the process of meeting a child’s physical, intellectual, emotional, language and social needs through play rather than the conventional textbook method.
- Our child’s brain has a lot neurons(brain cells) which will stay with them throughout their lifetime but it is the connections between these cells that are important for growth. The neural connectivity of the brain enables us to move, think, walk, talk, reflex and carry all the other functions of the body.
- Now, you must be wondering how the science of the brain is related to early childhood learning. Well, let’s put you to ease. Early childhood learning and development plays a crucial role in forming these brain connections.
- The Play factor stimulates the formation of these connections to make them the person they become in the future. When they learn through play, their mind is active and their brain is constantly engaged in comprehending the various things happening around them.
- What to speak, how to act, which is the next step to be taken are somethings they constantly think about while playing. So play keeps their brain on the run which improves the complexity of connections.
- A brain develops on itself and forms these connections. The more complex these connections become, the higher is their capability to think, act and respond.
- The activities and learnings that a child receives in early years forms the very basis of these connections and thus she grows as these connections also grow. These brain connections are essential as they are involved in grooming a child for her future prospects. It becomes quite difficult for the brain to form these essential connections in the later stages.
HOW THESE CONNECTIONS ARE BUILT IN EARLY YEARS
- A child’s interactions with her day to day experiences builds her brain connectivity.
- The type of environment she’s raised it, the activities she is involved with and the nature of the people around her play an influential role in her upbringing.
- Positive interactions and energy builds stronger and deeper connections which is reflected in their personality as they grow old. The amount of care, attention and love a child is received with, play a dominant role in forming these connections.
- Positive or negative connections are built on the basis of experiences the child feels. An environment with love, safety and intimacy build the positive connections.
- Insecurity, detachment and impersonal relations makes a child grow on that as a person. It is like the sapling. The quality of nutrients you add into it brings out sweeter fruits and the more disruptive chemicals you add to it, it becomes rotten.
ART AND EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING
- Art essentially constitutes the learning part of early childhood. It is a vast field, much more beyond just painting and colouring. It forms a stronger base as they mature.
- Art helps the working of all senses together. It focuses the child’s entire brain into the learning process and activities which makes it easy for children to grasp those experiences, thus making stronger connections.
- Their first scribble to the final stick like sketches show how they have developed through art. It is important to get children engaged in artistic activities and expressions in early years because art helps them to define themselves.
- More than just making kids artistic, art helps them bond, express, communicate and solve problems together. It help a child to stretch into their imagination, explore their curiosity and build their creativity.
- Art forms the basis of making positive brain connections. It makes a child happy even in her sadness when she is engaged with art. It helps a child perceive and understand the world around them.
- Art is a natural activity which encourages free play in children, the very basis of early childhood learning. It gives a child the freedom to explore, indulge and create with different materials, texture, products and experiences. It liberates a child and helps her to do things in her own ways.
- Not only does art make learning fun but also builds logical questioning and reasoning in a child. Every new thing that the create, or a different material they interact with it highlightens their ‘why’ factor. They dig deeper to explore and feed their discoveries. This makes the neural connections robust.
- Art in all is an expressive concept. The more you involve with it, the more passionate it makes you. It is through art their children are able to give their imaginations and thoughts a structure.
- It is like a language for them, infact the only form of communication when they are born. A physical and intellectual investment in art always brings high and sweet returns.
A FEW WAYS ART HELPS IN EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING:
BUILDS FINE MOTOR SKILLS
Every time a child holds a crayon, pencil or a paintbrush, it engages the muscles of their tiny fingers. The use of their feet and fingertips form painting, just randomly tearing office paper or using a crayon to scribble, stimulates the muscle functioning and makes their grip stronger and stronger every time they do it. You may not realise it but they receive firmness in those hands. This is how we see a transition from their scribbling to sketching. As their grip improves so does their movement. These skills are essential for writing later on. Dabble organic crayons are made of beeswax, coconut oil and are absolutely toxin free and child safe. They are available in 2 boxes. Check them out here .
Dabble Chunkies for 1 year+
Dabble Playart crayons for 2.5 years +
ART IS A MEANS TO EXPRESS
Art helps to bring out the confidence in a child. When the child is unsure, or characteristically an introvert or in an unprecedented mood which sometimes makes it difficult to for us as parents to understand, art becomes their muse. They express the autonomy of it. They draw, paint, scribble, enact or dance out what they want to convey. It provides them the space to manifest their thoughts and emotions. When they are sad, happy, angry, confused, it all comes down to their art.
Art engages all a child’s senses while free play. This makes their brain active and gets their body function as quickly as possible. They see and feel their colours and paints, the different textures and design. The sound, taste and smell sense get activity when they get indulged with outdoor activities, crafting something or when the work with food. It also brings movements in their hands and legs and other body parts. Thus it engages a child physically and mentally. Dabble Finger Paints are completely toxin-free and a great multi-sensory experience and can be introduced as early as 1.5 years. Check them out here.
Dabble Finger Painting Fun Pack for 2.5 years +
ART AS A SOURCE OF COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT
Art helps children to expand their ability to interact with the world around them. It acts as a key factor in helping them perceive and apprehend the things they interact with. They acquire skills and knowledge about these activities with the help of art. Their depiction of what the world means to them through paintings, clay figures, blocks and experiments is an important aspect of growth in early childhood years. Art also approaches them with the questioning and explorative aspect and thus helps them to find answers to their curiosity.
BUILDS COMMUNICATION AND HELPS TO BOND
Art is a first medium of communication for a toddler. Since they directly do not talk they scribbles, actions and noises are their way to communicate with you. You might think of it as a random scribble but when you try to understand their different types, every time you realise they have a different pattern. The mere act of just sitting with your child when she is colouring or drawing can build such a strong bond between the two of you. It is through art that a lot of children communicate especially toddlers. When they grow a little older and are able to speak, they start opening up to you because you were also involved in this process with them from the start. It is that art time of yours which makes the bond so special and secure for your child to communicate with you.
Gone are those days when alphabets and numbers were a child’s best friends and colouring books their best birthday gifts. Today, their learning methods are revolutionised and it is necessary to shift to modern approaches of learning than the conventional methods. For us as parents today it is indispensable for us to help our children to become their best versions rather than preparing them for the world. It is vital to adopt to free play and art to help our children to become capable and not just skilled.
Through early childhood learning and art we need to make them more liberated and less restricted. A child’s early years are the most delicate, fun and also the most important for them and to us. Just like the sapling, we need to nourish our child with care, humbleness and lots and lots of love.