Posts in January 2022

How to improve children's learning environment?

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The environment is the third teacher.

Early childhood is defined as the period from birth to compulsory primary school age. It is the time of remarkable growth and important milestones in brain development. During this stage, children are highly influenced by the environment and the people that surround them. (Unesco 2020)

In early childhood, children are highly influenced by the environment and the people that surround them.

That being said, it is good to assess/reassess how the learning environments are set up to support children's learning. The learning environment should take the whole child in consideration - social, emotional, cultural, linguistic, physical, and cognitive side - and provide activities in all those aspects.

To do this, you can for example include activity areas that offer opportunities for both hands-on, play-based learning and developmentally appropriate instruction of academic skills. Activity areas should invite children to inquire, explore, test, discover, and engage in play and learning.

Even if the learning areas are full of inspiring, changing, and varied materials, the basic daily schedule should remain the same from day to day. The daily schedule can be supported by routines and carefully planned transitions so that the day is a smooth and well-managed ensemble.

What is Finnish Early Childhood Education?

Examples of Activity areas in the learning environment

Presented originally in Community Playthings - Supporting high quality early learning:

  • Block Center

A block area that houses a full set of wooden unit blocks arranged by size and shape in low open shelving that clearly demarcates where each block should be stored;

  • Math/Manipulative Center

A math/manipulative area that offers a variety of materials including puzzles, small blocks, Legos, games, tiles, geoboards, attribute blocks, and other hands-on materials that foster children’s thinking and problem-solving skills and support the development of math (counting, operations, numbers, measurement, geometry)

  • Library/Reading area

A library area that contains a variety of books that are arranged by the areas of interest and difficulty level. The types of books should reflect the little readers who learn in the classroom.

  • Writing area

A writing/drawing area that provides different types of paper, crayons/markers/pencils and maybe stamps, stencils, alphabet charts... These materials can be combined with art materials (for younger children) or separated into their own area when children become more advanced in the literacy development

  • Art area

An art area that offers different types of paper and drawing materials (crayons, markers, etc.), as well as paste or glue, scissors, stamps, watercolors, pastels, and tempera paints and brushes, an easel or table available for a large painting, collage and construction materials, and other assorted materials such as playdough and clay.

  • Science area

A science area that includes magnifying glass(es), sand/water table, possibly animals (guinea pigs, snails, mealworms), and other natural items (eg. plants, rocks, shells, leaves...) depending on the time of the year, current topic, or interests of the children in the classroom. Within this area, children should be given time to experiment with measuring, counting, pouring, and making predictions.

  • Dramatic play area

A dramatic play area for younger children that can be used as a “house” or any other setup that is interesting for the children or the essence of the current topic (eg. post office, train station, grocery store...).

  • Media area

A media center that provides access to computers, printers, audio equipment, smartboard, and other technology that children can learn to use.

  • Meeting Area

A large meeting area for the whole group of children gathering together for circle time, group discussions, storytime, and music/movement activities. It can be in one of the areas of the classroom, such as the block area or the library, that has enough floor space.

  • Outdoor Area

An outdoor play area is ideal as children love to run around, jump, climb and play freely in the natural environment - why not grow your own vegetables even? Everyone surely feels refreshed after spending some time outdoors. If possible, it is easiest if the outdoor space is connected directly to the classroom.

How to assess the quality of the learning environments?

Starter, Portfolio or Premium?

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Provide the best early childhood education experience with Kindiedays Preschool Apps

  • Children reach their full potential with playful learning based on world-leading research from Finland.
  • Educators observe, document, and assess learning goals intuitively, allowing them to pay more attention to the children.
  • Parents follow their children’s progress online, appreciating their preschool’s excellent care and pedagogical standards.
  • Preschools adhere to government policies that promote portfolio learning and formative assessment.
  • Preschools are able to market themselves as high-quality service providers.

Don't set the bar any lower. Your children deserve it!

Kindiedays offers 3 different kinds of solutions: Starter, Portfolio, and Premium. Read more about them below:

Kindiedays Starter

Start documenting learning moments and collaborating with families

Kindiedys Starter is a compact solution to support children's learning and engage families. This is a perfect way to start using Kindiedays with your center.

With Kindiedays starter you:

  • Document children's learning with notes, photos, and videos.
  • Use automatically-collected portfolios to develop learning.
  • Engage families and show evidence of children's learning.
  • Run communication between educators and families in a secure channel.
  • Record attendance and utilize versatile attendance statistics.
  • Spend less time on paperwork.

You can upgrade later to Kindiedays Portfolio with all your data maintained.

Kindiedays Portfolio

Use a leading-edge tool for documenting and assessing children's learning

Kindiedays Portfolio is a highly flexible digital solution for implementing your own curriculum and a high-class learning process. Inspired by Finnish best practices and based on portfolio learning and formative assessment.

With Kindiedays Portfolio you:

Do's and Don'ts of Early Learning

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

A successful experience in school is not only about report cards.

- Jessica Lahey

Very young children are naturally interested in learning and exploring the world around them. They are at the very beginning of their learning journey, so everything is new and exciting! If they reach out and fall, they get up again stronger and wiser - children learn by trying, testing, and making mistakes.

According to Jessica Lahey at New York Times, when children enter kindergarten some parents and teachers begin to unbalance this learning process by devaluing and replacing it by focusing on the results of learning. This means that the children's inner motivators such as natural curiosity, competence, and self-efficacy are valued less than external motivators such as stickers, points, and grades. Unfortunately, external motivators lower children’s desire to learn over a longer period of time.

It is a New Term and a New Year of 2022!

Enter it with an open, relaxed mind, and maybe let some of your old teaching routines go. You might also want to say bye-bye to report cards, sticker prizes, and too high academic expectations. Welcome rest, long-term goals, and permit of making mistakes into your preschool environment.

Here are the Do's and Don'ts for early learning in 2022 inspired by Jessica Lahey in New York Times magazine: