It's easy to create a positive learning environment for a child.
School is back in session! From their earliest experiences, children are shaped in large part by their learning environments. Books, tactile manipulatives and other interesting eduational materials are important, but an atmosphere where children are made to feel safe, happy and confident is the most critical element in starting their formal learning off on the right foot. There are several easy strategies parents and early childhood educators can employ to make the most of our little Einsteins' preschool years.
1Build in frequent breaks incorporating movement, art and song. The rule of thumb for educators is that children's attention spans are equal to one minute for each year of their age. Frequent breaks stimulate children's brains and prepare them to attend to quiet, seated tasks again. Encourage questions, and answer as honestly and fully as possible. Children will be proud to have your complete attention, and Q & A is an excellent self-esteem builder.
2Create an environment where children will feel safe taking risks, knowing they will not be laughed at by other children or discouraged by adults. Make sure children know that it's OK to be wrong. If a child answers a question incorrectly, find something positive to say about his response. Something such as "that wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but I love your creative thinking!" is a perfect way to let a child know his thoughts are valued, even if his response is incorrect.
3Applaud efforts, both big and small. While we don't expect our little ones to be Picasso or Beethoven, they will seek your approval as if their work is museum or concert hall quality. Regardless of what they have produced, remember they are showing it to you looking for praise. Reward their scribbles or horn toots with kind words about what great effort they have shown. Your little learners will certainly feel safe and happy in your learning environment, and happy learners make confident students!