By Alan Williamson
The first five years of a child’s life are fundamentally important. They are the foundation that shapes children’s future health, happiness, development and learning achievement at school, in the family and community. During that time, children, much like sponges, absorb all the information around them which is why parents and educators are encouraged to guide, assist and support children in their development in order for them to reach their full potential.
It is not just an advantage for the young ones to have good role models and dedicated educators during the formative years, but an absolute must. Their exposure to such personalities can contribute immensely to the kind of individuals they will become one day.
But apart from helping children build rewarding relationships with people whom they can look up to, it is essential to create opportunities for the little ones to develop their skills as well as their understanding of the world. This is one of the reasons why a lot of parents invest greatly in the early childhood education that their children can receive from a top-notch early learning centre.
The Importance of Early Childhood Care and Development Activities
With early childhood education (ECE) and early childhood care and development (ECCD), every school day is dedicated to improvement. Children get to hone their motor, problem-solving, and comprehension skills through a variety of activities. At the same time, parents learn the best activities to engage in with their young ones.
And when it comes to activities for optimum development that parents should do with their children, ECCD experts recommend the following:
1. Taking daily walks
It’s an easy activity to squeeze into your day. ECCD specialists say that walking with your children regularly can have a massive impact on their personality and intelligence.
Walking hand in hand with your child can boost their emotional quotient or EQ. Along with this, the feeling of security this activity creates will allow your little one to express their curiosity even more, which will help you establish yourself as an authority figure and repository of knowledge.
Most importantly, daily walks at the park or around your neighbourhood offer the perfect opportunity to introduce environmental elements to your young learner. Let them have a sensory experience with plants and structures to further build their information and memory bank.
2. Engaging in arts and crafts
Let your child practice their fine motor skills, as well as explore their own creativity, through arts and crafts. It’s important that at such a young age, your child learns the valuable lesson that he or she is a creator. Your child has the means to turn their ideas into reality.
Also, doing arts and crafts together is a joyful activity. Your child can find happiness in the creation process that he or she is sharing with you. This is a wonderful combination of learning, applying knowledge, and building memories, which are all vital in helping children deal with challenges in life.
Lastly, doing arts and crafts teaches children that material things have multiple purposes, and they have the power to determine the use of these things. Again, this is beneficial in cultivating children’s problem-solving skills.
3. Learning to play musical instruments
Music is food for the soul, and at an early age, your child can benefit from knowing how to create joyful tunes using musical instruments. Doing this with them will foster a stronger relationship.
This will also help you discover if your child has a talent and a passion for music. This is often an indicator of a child’s dominant learning style, as well as their lifelong potential that will call for your positive support as a parent.
Dancing is not only a fun way to exercise, but it can also put your child’s comprehension skills in action. If your child gets the opportunity to follow simple instructions and dance moves specifically designed for them, it will help them increase their flexibility, range of motion, physical strength and stamina.
These skills are skills your child will need later in life for other physical activities, such as sports. Also, by dancing with your child, you get to offer them a coping mechanism for stress, which they will inevitably experience as they get older.
This is one of the best activities for parents and children to do together because it not only cultivates motor skills, but it is also an opportunity to impart lessons on nutrition and health.
ECCD specialists also point out that involving children in the food preparation process (not just cooking, but menu planning and shopping for ingredients as well) is an effective strategy against picky eating. Children tend to forget about food aversions when they have taken part in the preparation of a meal.
Optimum Development for Young Children
Children are young only for a moment. So, do not miss the chance to be physically and emotionally present for them. If you dedicate adequate time to engage in various activities with them during the formative years, you can lay down a solid foundation for the other developments yet to come in your kids’ future.
Alan Williamson is the Chief Education Officer at Kings’ Education, a premium school brand in Dubai which leads a fantastic group of premium UK curriculum schools, including Child’s Play Nursery. As well as being passionate about teaching and learning, Alan has been actively involved in school leadership related to Special Educational Needs.