Meaningful Learning in Early Childhood Education

Meaningful Learning in Early Childhood Education

Time to dive back into the routine, right?!

I’ve been getting a million and one recommendations on making the most of my year, using all the theories and strategies that I know I should be using and putting them into action, and that’s great. BUT… what happens when things get busy?

How do we actually implement the strategies that set us up for success as educators?

 

Well – I can’t help with every area of life but I can certainly help with at least one: creating meaningful learning environments for our little learners.

 

Creating meaningful learning in early childhood education doesn’t have to be overwhelming and complicated. Trust in the learning that comes from play, with the child in the lead. Check out this post for a cycle to follow that makes wonder filled learning simple. #early #childhood #education #preschool #daycare #home #school #booksbeesandabcs
Creating meaningful learning in early childhood education doesn’t have to be overwhelming and complicated. You don’t need the newest toys, you don’t need to spend a small fortune changing your playroom into dramatic play environments that are worthy of pinterest or instagram. You just have to trust in the learning that comes from play, with the child in the lead. Check out this post for a cycle to follow that makes wonder filled learning simple. #early #childhood #education #preschool #daycare #home #school #booksbeesandabcs

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What does a “wonder-filled” environment actually look like? How can I plan and prepare for meaningful learning in early childhood education?

When it comes to creating meaningful learning environments, we don’t need to feel overwhelmed by “doing everything right”. It’s not about that. Let’s keep it simple and consistent. 

Children play naturally – they take it upon themselves to check out their surroundings and leap in (sometimes literally!) with a little support and encouragement. They are already learning so much – (more here). 

Let’s start there. Nice and simple. 

Watching children play is not only heartwarming, but it’s also a sneak peek on who they are, what excites them (hello wonder!!! hello learning – more on that here!). 

Take their natural interest and deepen them! Sounds like a big task, but it doesn’t have to be!

Providing learning tools and resources does not mean going out to the store and changing your entire learning and play space into a new world. It can be as simple as grabbing new books from the library, placing toys and resources in a new place so they take center stage, creating a beautiful things box (ideas here), moving furniture, taking indoor items outside and outside resources in. Don’t make it an overwhelming process. Sure, it’s fun to create something Pinterest worthy, but let’s do something that we can change and grow with as needed. 

Keep it simple, dive in, observe, reflect and repeat. 

**At any point when interest seems to take a different direction, go with it! It might be a quick break, or it might be a request for something new, let the child be the leader in the play – you never have to make it all the way through the cycle before reevaluating – it’s learning for everyone involved and there are always meaningful benefits**

Make sure that you are including yourself in the planning. #fillyourowncup to find the fun in play so that when you hop down on the floor to join in, there’s something fun for you to do too! Wonder and excitement are contagious remember? But only when authentic 🙂

Regularly reflect on how it’s going. Step back from a moment and see what other tools might be needed (craft supplies, taking the learning outside, adding music and movement, taking a break with a new activity) or if interests have developed into something new. If so, roll with it! Let’s keep it light and simple!

Keep it simple, dive in, observe, reflect and repeat. 

I would love to hear what you are doing to allow for meaningful learning through child-led play – please share below or reach out to me directly here

You empowered a child today. Who knows what they will do tomorrow.

Meaningful Learning in Early Childhood Education

Creating meaningful learning in early childhood education doesn’t have to be overwhelming and complicated. You don’t need the newest toys, you don’t need to spend a small fortune changing your playroom into dramatic play environments that are worthy of Pinterest or Instagram. You just have to trust in the learning that comes from play, with the child in the lead.

read more

Yoga for the Early Childhood Education Classroom and at Home with Little Ones

There are incredible benefits for including yoga as part of the early childhood education program or at home with young children. As parents and educators it’s so important that we model the strategies for lifelong success for the kids in our care, but also to take care of ourselves so we can better take care of those we love.

read more

The 5 Love Languages of Children

Bookclub Review: The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively I’ve had this book among my collection for a long time. It wasn’t until I reached out to my awesome community and asked if anyone wanted to join me in reading it that I...

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Learning Environments for Everyone

Creating learning environments that meet everyone's needs.   This morning I attended a presentation with the hilarious and engaging Marc Battle. Marc is a passionate educator who knows and understands the value and importance of the environment in which children...

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Self love and confidence through SONG: Lindsay Müller

Lindsay Müller is a creating Mindful Music for Children and Other Humans - She shared her story here: Three years ago, I was a stressed out mom of two energetic toddlers. I felt like most of the words that came out of my mouth were:    "Be careful!"  "Don't do that!" ...

read more
Yoga for the Early Childhood Education Classroom and at Home with Little Ones

Yoga for the Early Childhood Education Classroom and at Home with Little Ones

There are incredible benefits for including yoga as part of the early childhood education program or at home with young children. As parents and educators it's so important that we model the strategies for lifelong success for the kids in our care, but also to take care of ourselves so we can better take care of those we love. #fill #cup #booksbeesandabcs #routine #wellbeing #wellness #well #skills #lifelong #practice #benefits #toddlers #preschoolers

Yoga for the Early Childhood Education Classroom and at Home with Little Ones

During the holidays, travel, being here there and everywhere, I was finding myself needing a new outlet for Little Bee’s bursting energy, and for a new activity for little ones at play in the afternoons when the cold weather only had us outside for short spurts of time.

While running the daycare, we had gotten in a really great habit of doing yoga as a group and it was such a fun way to participate in an activity together – each child in their own way, but each happily taking part.

*This post contains affiliate links which if used cost you nothing extra, but a small percentage comes back to me to support more learning! You’re welcome to check out my privacy policy or reach out to me directly with questions anytime!*

Learning social-emotional skills early on in life is an important part of our development. These are the skills that support our interactions with those around us while we build long-lasting relationships with friends and loved ones, help us work through the tough times as well as celebrate the good, give us the courage to strive for our goals and the resilience to get there one step at a time. #teacher #parent #ece #educator #lifeskills #socialskills #emotionalskills #books #compassion

We loved the Frozen yoga story – telling the story of the movie with yoga movements.

Not only was this an incredibly calming activity (check out the other activities I love that have a surprising calming effect despite giggles), but it was enriching social-emotional development (more on that here) by supporting self regulation among other things that I will list below.

This was exactly what we needed during the midst of holidays, being overtired and over travelled, and slightly irritable – I won’t say which one of us was impacted most by this…

There are incredible benefits for including yoga as part of the early childhood education program or at home with young children. As parents and educators it's so important that we model the strategies for lifelong success for the kids in our care, but also to take care of ourselves so we can better take care of those we love. #fill #cup #booksbeesandabcs #routine #wellbeing #wellness #well #skills #lifelong #practice #benefits #toddlers #preschoolers

11 Benefits of Yoga for Children

  1. Develop body awareness
  2. Learn breathing techniques that are huge in supporting stress, anger and upset in other areas of life
  3. Learn the early stages and benefits of meditation (or simply being quiet in the mind)
  4. Build concentration, focus and determination
  5. Enhances flexibility, coordination and balance
  6. Can be done just about anywhere and anytime – so as stressful or overwhelming moments occur we can support children by using yoga poses to refocus them.
  7. Improves patience and mindfulness
  8. Feel included in a group activity (environments for everyone post)
  9. Increase confidence, self-image and self-respect.
  10. Finger Yoga for Children” is an excellent way to improve fine motor skills.
  11. We know the power of creating a wonder-filled environment (more on that here) and a yoga practice very much supports what we are working toward in early childhood education.

13 Benefits of Yoga for Educators

  1. Inexpensive way to incorporate activity into the classroom (with few materials needed: a mat or simply the cleared space for each child is more than enough)
  2. After establishing this as part of a regular or occasional routine, educators can use these approaches to support further social-emotional skill development.
  3. In moments of challenge in the classroom, educators and parents can turn to these learned skills to support the child in self-regulation.
  4. In an effort to increase physical movement in our homes and classrooms, yoga provides an easy and inclusive way to do so.
  5. Blends beautifully into other activities and creates a wonderful transition tool: for older children working toward a focused activity, it’s a great way to gather them in a group, create concentration and then end with them in a sitting pose. For younger children nearing naptime, this may be a wonderful way to have them work their way to the floor for quiet time.
  6. Using yoga music as a signal to children for calming and quiet is a handy technique to refocus a group when needed.
  7. Provides a wonderful opportunity for educators themselves to focus their breathing, develop patience, and encourage mindfulness during the hectic day.
  8. Improve your own (in addition to the children’s) energy during the day by uplifting that afternoon crash, or preparing for the end of the day wind down.
  9. Doing an activity like this with the children creates an incredible connection – even if as an educator, you already practice yoga outside of work hours you get the added benefits of stress relief and inward breathing. Joining in the learning journey during an activity like this sets the stage that learning is an ever evolving process – which is an incredible message for children.
  10. The social-emotional skill of focused breathing is incredibly helpful for teachers, parents and educators to enrich as a way to improve posture, attention, focus, stress relief, anxiety, and overwhelm. It becomes a useful tool in dealing with stressful situations and allow you to feel empowered in your ability to respond in a meaningful way.
  11. Allows you to see where children need support or have made great strides in their gross motor development, listening, following directions, and focusing their energy.
  12. As we learn more about what it means for both students, educators and parents to create a wonder-filled environment (post on that here), we see the value in setting the stage, and modelling those techniques that support focused and mindful learning through play, all of which yoga contributes toward.
  13. As educators, we are often hard on our bodies; lifting children, sitting on the floor in criss-cross apple-sauce which is no longer comfortable after…. A certain age or so… and yoga give us those full body and focused stretches that are critical to care for the body that cares for others.
There are incredible benefits for including yoga as part of the early childhood education program or at home with young children. As parents and educators it's so important that we model the strategies for lifelong success for the kids in our care, but also to take care of ourselves so we can better take care of those we love. #fill #cup #booksbeesandabcs #routine #wellbeing #wellness #well #skills #lifelong #practice #benefits #toddlers #preschoolers

Yoga in the Classroom Backed by Science

There is a wealth of information, reports and studies on cognitive neuroscience in young children when experiencing yoga as a part of their regular routine, but the benefits make themselves very clear after practicing for even a short amount of time.

During my own practice with the children I came to find:

Additional Benefits of Including Yoga as part of your Early Childhood Routine

  1. Yoga can be an incredibly inclusive practice, creating environments that welcome everyone, with every ability and need (more on that here).
  2. It is very inexpensive to practice yoga. Although having a yoga mat or towel for each child sets the tone, it isn’t really required. Following the lead of the teacher/educator is more than enough. We loved to include music or video  but it wasn’t necessary.
  3. It can be done indoors but is especially fun outside in the fresh air.
  4. Additional learning: body part names, making shapes and letters with your body, learning awareness and space.
  5. We know the power of music to bring the level of excitement up in a room, but using mindful music such as yoga or meditation music we can support the energy of the children and wind down at appropriate times.
  6. Yoga is an incredible tool to support regulation of emotion, attention, thought and behaviour; critical for the well-being of educators, parents and children alike.
  7. It doesn’t take away from the power of play, but rather leads us to new ways to learn through play: moving like lions, stretching like puppies, or kitties, slithering snakes on the ground, crouching like frogs, etc.
  8. It was a genuinely fun activity that we all looked forward to each day, or every other day and was a wonderful way to come together as a group, share in smiles, laughter and the excitement of everyone taking part in their own way.

 

Do you practice yoga in your home, preschool, daycare or classroom? I would love to hear your take on it! 

Share them below or inside our Facebook Group here.

Reference:

(2017) Alicia Cooper Stapp & Kenya Wolff. Young children’s experiences with yoga in an early childhood setting. 

Meaningful Learning in Early Childhood Education

Creating meaningful learning in early childhood education doesn’t have to be overwhelming and complicated. You don’t need the newest toys, you don’t need to spend a small fortune changing your playroom into dramatic play environments that are worthy of Pinterest or Instagram. You just have to trust in the learning that comes from play, with the child in the lead.

read more

Yoga for the Early Childhood Education Classroom and at Home with Little Ones

There are incredible benefits for including yoga as part of the early childhood education program or at home with young children. As parents and educators it’s so important that we model the strategies for lifelong success for the kids in our care, but also to take care of ourselves so we can better take care of those we love.

read more

The 5 Love Languages of Children

Bookclub Review: The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively I’ve had this book among my collection for a long time. It wasn’t until I reached out to my awesome community and asked if anyone wanted to join me in reading it that I...

read more

Learning Environments for Everyone

Creating learning environments that meet everyone's needs.   This morning I attended a presentation with the hilarious and engaging Marc Battle. Marc is a passionate educator who knows and understands the value and importance of the environment in which children...

read more

Self love and confidence through SONG: Lindsay Müller

Lindsay Müller is a creating Mindful Music for Children and Other Humans - She shared her story here: Three years ago, I was a stressed out mom of two energetic toddlers. I felt like most of the words that came out of my mouth were:    "Be careful!"  "Don't do that!" ...

read more
learning through play every day books bees and abcs toddler preschooler learning activities

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