Aurora aims to provide a holistic environment for our children that is constantly evolving to suit their learning and behavioural changes as they develop. We stay updated with new information and research and consider its application in our daily practice. Doing so helps us enhance our approaches towards our children and give them the best treatment they need to successfully develop. 

Each month, we explore studies that have been published over the past month that reveal significant findings that could help parents and the early education community. In August 2021, these studies explored new tools to aid children’s nutritional diets, the various positive effects of art on young children, and how strong relationships can help children’s deal with the impact of the pandemic.

Research towards a nutritional toolkit for Australian families gets a million dollars

A recent study received over a million dollars to provide Australian families with optimum nutritional resources for their children under five years old. The nutritional resources are being developed by University of Queensland researchers and will be given to early childcare workers, parents, and families in the form of a digital toolkit. 

The project was awarded $1.2 million from the Australian Government Department of Health, under the Public Health and Chronic Disease Grant Program. The researchers will also pay adequate attention to creating culturally appropriate resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander as well as non-English speaking families. 

According to the research, significant rapid growth and development take place during the first five years of a child’s life and are highly impacted by diet. Accordingly, Aurora firmly believes that nutrition is key to a happy and healthy mind, body, and spirit. 

Our chefs create a new menu each season, informed by nutritional guidelines and seasonal produce. We also incorporate dishes from a variety of cultures to ensure our children are trying new flavours and textures and to build on their sense of belonging. We make sure our children also get involved in preparing some meals with fun activities so they learn about the benefits of consuming nutritious foods. 

See the full study here.

Children enjoy art as savvy cultural citizens according to a new project

The findings from the pilot phase of a project called ‘Art & Wonder: Young Children and Contemporary Art’ repositions children under five years old as savvy cultural citizens who seemingly consume art better than most adults. 

Macquarie University researchers collaborated with Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) for a new book that shared the findings of the Art and Wonder project’s pilot phase. The researchers investigated how young children interact with contemporary art in a gallery setting and interpret how engaging with art in such an environment makes their learning experience along with their early development significantly enhanced.

Not only does an art-filled learning program enhance a child’s learning experience, but it also improves their literacy, stress levels, and overall performance in school. These impacts in a child’s early years will leave permanent imprints in their brain functioning and development. 

Aurora strongly agrees with these findings as we also believe art enriches lives, which is why we try our best to incorporate art into every aspect of our curriculum as well as display artworks all around our centres.

See the full study here. 

COVID blues can be healed with stronger relationships  

A survey was conducted through Harvard’s Graduate School of Education by the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative to deduce the key to fighting young children’s COVID blues. It is no secret that the current climate has taken its toll on everyone in every part of the world, however, the most vulnerable of the lot are the children. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when the survey found that the behavioural changes in the children in care were mainly triggered by the disturbance that came with the pandemic. 

Researchers suspect these feelings can be treated with the strong relationships and support systems they have available to them. Children’s support systems are extremely vital in times like these as they will aid in rebuilding social and emotional skills as well as in providing stimulating support for academic achievement. 

This study found that 77% of the behavioural changes observed by educators were recognized as aggression, temper tantrums, sadness, and anxiety and were plainly perceived as negative. Whilst others noticed some children becoming more responsible and ardent in their efforts to deal with the changes COVID-19 brought about. Co-author, Professor Stephanie Jones, mentioned that some children would certainly find it harder to learn academically without regulated emotional support and social interaction and said that it will take intensive commitment from parents and educators. 

According to one of the educators in the survey, when returning to the classroom setting, tighter class sizes during this pandemic is likely to help some children remain calm and focused. Professor Jones also said conducting this survey has helped outline that we need to pay attention to children’s feelings and behaviours especially as they go back to their regular school settings outside the home. 

At our centres, it is imperative that we factor in our children’s personal feelings and help them express themselves so they can comfortably settle back into our environments. We deeply understand the disruption caused by the pandemic and want to maintain our strong relationships with our children to hopefully eliminate the negative social repercussions of the pandemic as much as possible. In order to tackle the behavioural changes in our children, we approach it holistically and try to shower them with emotional support and guidance so they express their feelings and are able to move forward with a refreshed outlook on learning and life. 

See the full study here.

Sources

https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210916/Research-receives-2412-million-to-give-Australian-children-the-best-nutritional-start-in-life.aspx

https://thesector.com.au/2021/07/30/strong-relationships-will-be-the-key-to-fighting-childrens-covid-blues-researchers-say/