There are a few aspects of child development that teachers, parents and carers often talk about when it comes to nursery-age children. These include aspects of development such as the physical, social, and emotional growth of a child, early literacy and numeracy abilities, or self-regulation skills. However, an area of development that has been relatively overlooked is that of social cognition. It includes a complex set of skills that are crucial for development and have long-lasting impact, well beyond childhood. In this post, we briefly discuss the basic dimensions of social cognition in early childhood, and summarise some recent findings that have come out of our work at Alphablocks Research Lab in collaboration with leading academics.
During the previous term, we noticed that our children were showing a strong interest in light and shadows, as well as colours and space. As usual, we followed the children’s interests and ideas, and we decided to have a whole half term dedicated to the theme “Colour and Light”.
It is crucially important that an early learning curriculum is responsive to the changing needs of children so that opportunities for growth and development are not missed.
The older a child gets the harder it is to get them to engage with and truly appreciate mathematics and the powerful reasoning behind it. Therefore, introducing maths at an early age is of crucial importance: not only does it help them understand how to deal with abstract symbols, like numbers, but more importantly it helps them develop problem solving and reasoning skills.
Children need to be given an opportunity to practice their skills with numbers, linking them to concrete quantities, which are out there in the physical world, their sensory world. Knowledge of shapes and patterns also improves their competence and confidence in using mathematical concepts and language.
However, shapes, space, and measures is a key area that the Government is considering to remove from the Early Years curriculum from next year. As an outstanding nursery school, we place a lot of value on this area and we will certainly continue teaching and developing it. In this post, we summarise some of the things you can do at home to support your child’s learning in this area, which is so beneficial to children.
Children need to be able to experiment with making marks from an early age using a range of resources as well as their sense and their bodies. There is a wide set of skills that children need to master in order to be able to use mark-making tools effectively, such as dexterity and coordination, and purely cognitive skills like dealing with symbols. Parents, carers and teachers all need to get on board and become more fascinated by children’s mark-making journeys and provide a wealth of opportunities to celebrate achievements and development of these skills.