While every day in a child’s life is one of learning, and everything around them is part of that, providers can offer safe and constructive learning opportunities with “learning stations.”
Learning stations are designated areas of the classroom where children play freely, with little to no direction about how to use materials, while having playful and engaging interactions with the adults around them.
The way learning stations are organized and the materials offered play an important role in inspiring imagination, learning, and play. There isn’t just one way to set up and organize learning stations, but I can offer some guidance to help you get started.
by Katie Brazerol
Pretend play is fundamental to children’s development. During pretend play, children practice and try out new skills. Pretend play gives children an outlet to explore and process feelings. Taking pretend play outside can inspire children in new ways. The outdoor environment lends itself to new curiosities and different challenges. Outdoor pretend play may also enable you to incorporate props that may be hard to manage inside and leave children’s constructions set up in ways you cannot always accommodate. Head outside and celebrate summer by offering one or more of the following pretend play ideas: Continue reading
Each year the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) hosts the Week of the Young Child (WOYC) to recognize early childhood programs and focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families. As a provider, you play an important role in spreading the word! In addition to celebrating each day according to WOYC themes, share your knowledge and needs with local officials and other stakeholders. The more we can help others understand the importance of early childhood education, the better our profession, and the brighter the future for young children. Continue reading
Infants have daily needs that need to be met for them to learn, develop positive attachment to primary caregivers, and know they will be loved and taken care of. Most of these needs revolve around basic care routines. The FunShine Express Buttercups Babies kits were designed to incorporate activity ideas into these care routines to create meaningful interactions each day.
The outdoors is filled with many sounds, sights, and fascinating objects. Outdoor playtime has many benefits for infants and toddlers:
- Help them develop a sense of wonder and awareness
- Increase their creativity
- Important for overall health
- Great for sensory play
- Positively impact all learning domains
- Provide a strong foundation for children’s rapid brain development
Finding moments of time to go outdoors with infants can be difficult. It is helpful if there are multiple care providers. One provider can take one or two infants outside to play while the other provider(s) stay inside to meet other care routines while still maintaining ratio requirements. Many of the play activities that you do indoors with babies, you can also do outdoors.