As we approach New Year, as I’m sure with everyone else I am starting to think what I’m going to give up, then I thought NO! As early years professionals were always taking a positive stance, so I’m going to apply that to my resolutions. I’m not going to give up anything. I’m going to achieve things… Well hopefully!
And it also got me thinking how positive reinforcement and enabling environments are so important in all levels for children of all ages especially in their early years.
I suppose I grew up luckily being repeatedly told there is “no such word as can’t”, my Mum always made us feel that anything was possible.
I think it is so important to make children believe they can do anything, of course it takes time to learn certain things. But the opportunities need to be there for them to try.
I noticed how instilled opportunities to try are in my nursery, when I went in to the toddler room the other day. There were some sheets of paper and glue sticks on the table, I started to think… where were the collagey bits for the children to add? That the table hadn’t been set up in an appealing enough way. I was about to go and voice my opinion to the team, when I noticed two of the children going to the craft drawer and taking out the materials they wanted to use to stick. They talked about which bits they wanted to take from the drawer and they helped each other carry it across to the table! A simple collage activity had turned in to a independence and collaborative skill building activity!
Children are desperate to be independent from a young age and creating areas in a nursery that allow children to be independent is vital.
At home when you do activities allow this independence too.
In a painting activity for example think of the activity as not just the painting but from start to end..
So let them…
- help you get the paints
- put them in to pots if they need to be
- choose their mark making tools
- if it’s sponge allow them or help them to cut up the sponge in to different sized pieces
- let them choose whether they want to paint on paper or cardboard
- if it’s paper which colour
- once they’ve finished let them help you to clean up! Of course this part they may not want to do but you’ll be surprised how often they will.
By allowing them to not only partake in the activity but to organise and clear it up your have opened up a creativity activity in to other ways of learning including, problem solving, self care skills and also so many opportunities to develop communication and listening skills.
They will also be developing their self confidence and independence skills and understand that they are valued to make decisions.
Have a fantastic New Year… And when it comes to those resolutions.. Remember don’t give anything up, achieve something!