I believe every day is a learning adventure for children. Children are curious. They learn through play, exploring, asking questions, and talking among friends. I believe children learn best when we give them the environment and materials to explore. Encouraging and introducing new ideas, concepts and skills at the appropriate age are important in order for children to feel successful. Praise, listening, recognizing, and showing interest are all important qualities in which build a child’s self-esteem. Every child deserves to feel comfortable, feel included, have fun, express, create, and feel loved while learning.
Friedrich Froebel, an Early Childhood philosopher is most associated with the kindergarten system. Froebel based his philosophy around play. He believed that humans are creative beings and that play helps facilitate creative expression in children. Froebel encouraged teachers to work with the children in their discoveries.
Like Froebel, Loris Malaguzzi, an Early Childhood theorist, believes that children learn through play, the environment and hands-on activities and materials. Art, inventing and creating are all pieces of what Malaguzzi believes is important. This style is called the Reggio Emilia approach to teaching and learning. The Reggio approach believes that adults and children can learn side by side with hands-on materials that are provided as well as the environment. Creations are a big part of this theory. Reggio approach believes that all art is unique to the individual. Children are able to create anything they can imagine and are allowed unlimited time to create. Some of these materials may include: clay, painting, sculpting, yarn/string, paper, tubes, and light tables. Exploring is open ended for the children and adults. Curriculum is unique as it is designed off of the children’s interests and does not have a set time frame. Children and adults will learn together and let the ideas and explorations guide them, meanwhile children and adults work together to document their learning and findings as well as their creations.
I connect well with these theories in the Early Childhood classroom. I believe that while working with young children, it starts by letting them explore, ask questions, have discussions, and learn what interests them. Adults have a lot to learn with the children and even from the children while exploring with them. With an adult by their side, I believe it’s the best way to really dig deep and engage the children in with learning. By encouraging children to create entirely on their own gives them opportunities to be themselves, be in charge of their work, create unique and meaningful work, imagine, pretend, and maybe even express their feelings through their own unique work.
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