Think back to your childhood. Do you remember saying your first word? The first friend you made? The first game you played? The chances are that your memory of your early childhood years (up to the age of 8) is hazy at best; a confusing mish-mash of colors, voices and emotions.
However, child psychologists, educators, doctors and other experts agree that those seemingly hazy memories of early childhood were some of the most crucial moments in your life. Countless psychological studies have found that a child’s early years shapes his or her cognitive, social and physical growth, paving way for a well-rounded, unique adult. The way you think, feel, behave and speak all find their roots in your earliest experiences.
That’s why early childhood matters. To understand and navigate early childhood years, it’s essential for educators, parents and society as a whole to understand the processes that take place through the early childhood years.
The Play Years
Many psychologists call early childhood the ‘play years’. While children are constantly learning new skills and concepts there are no formal, structured lessons. Instead, holistic learning happens during play. As children play a game of catch which each other, their social and motor skills develop. As they stack building blocks into formless piles, their cognitive development is enhanced.
Creating an atmosphere which encourages and nurtures free play with appropriate equipment, tools and attentive caregivers is extremely important to allow a child to grow.
Brain Development in The Early Years
As a child interacts with their environment, caregivers and peers, their brains develop, forming new connections which foster emotional, social and physical development.
In the early years, an individual’s brain develops more rapidly than at any other part of their life; by the age of 5 nearly 90% of the brain is developed to its adult weight.
Brain development enables physical development; between the ages of two and three, children’s gross motor skills improve, allowing children to crawl, walk and eventually run and jump.
After children become comfortable with moving their bodies in gross actions, they begin to develop fine motor skills which allow more complex, intricate actions like holding a pen or pencil, drawing basic shapes and hand-eye coordination.
To encourage physical development, it’s essential to have an environment which provides plenty of opportunities for play and practice.
Social and Emotional Development
As young children develop as sense of self, which enables them to see themselves as separate from others, with their own unique needs and emotions, they will form relationships with peers and caregivers as well as develop personality traits.
Positive relationships with others will lay the foundations for successful social skills as well as enhance a young learner’s self-confidence, emotional stability and their ability to understand how to appropriately behave in a situation .
A child’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive development do not happen through isolated activities, but rather fluidly develop in tandem as a child plays and explores his or her environment.
At Aurora, we have made it our mission to create an environment for our learners which nurtures optimum growth. A range of play facilities, both indoors and outdoors promote physical and cognitive development and allow children to build healthy relationships with their peers while skilled caring educators engage and teach children, focusing on their individual needs. As our learners play and discover, we ensure they care fore, connect and create with them to help them grow and establish strong foundations for their later lives.