“ I did it! I did it! Look how I drawed myself!”
“That’s awesome! I see your eyes, and nose and mouth, and look at the shirt you’re wearing. Way to go! I’m proud of you for working so hard!”
Is there anything better than sharing the excitement of a child who has discovered success as a learner? Most Early Childhood researchers and educators agree, “Play is the work of children.”
Research in the field of early learning in Canada, is frequently supported by the experiences of Australian and New Zealand researchers. A 2010 publication Making the most of Childhood: the importance of the early years, quotes the organization “Zero to Three” booklet Getting Ready for School Begins at Birth, “one of the most important things children learn in the early years is about themselves – that is, they develop a picture of themselves that affects the ways they approach any situation, task, or relationship with another person. In other words, they develop a self concept. An important part of that self concepts is the picture they have of themselves as learners: is it okay to be curious, to explore, to ask questions, to tackle problems, to try to figure things out, to experiment? Is it okay to try something and fail? Being a good learner means having a go, seeing yourself as capable, and taking reasonable risks.” (p.2 Getting Ready for School Begins at Birth, Zero to Three).
Our role, as parents, grandparents, early learning professionals and para-professionals, is to facilitate and encourage the development of this concept and a belief in oneself as a learner in these critical early learning years. As we develop positive, caring relationships, which provide learning opportunities, and support children as they learn, we are laying the foundation for later learning success, and success in life. The best, and most powerful learning children do, is by copying what people around them do. Little eyes are watching, and little ears are listening! If the adults in their lives model the importance of their own learning, little learners will come to understand that learning is important, and enjoyable. When that happens, we will have done our jobs!