Emerging Trends Influencing Early Childhood Education
Coming out of the harsh Omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, children are back in the classroom for a return to in-person learning. While there remain questionable concerns about the safety of schools, there’s no question that it’s time for children to get back to the fundamentals of learning and development.
While a return to normal is warranted, it’s also the perfect time for both teachers and parents to introduce new ways to best educate young children. If the coronavirus pandemic taught us nothing else, it’s that we have to be adaptable to any unforeseen circumstances. Adaptability is a part of evolution, and it’s the only way to make improvements so that greater value can be provided to the young minds in development.
What are some of these new trends, and how can they be incorporated into existing learning programs? Let’s discuss a few of those ideas and suggestions on how they can best benefit young minds everywhere.
Updated emphasis on phonics in literary learning
Part of the challenge of learning in lockdown is that children can’t access the additional support they need to fully understand a learning principle. This becomes an even greater challenge the longer that lockdowns are in place. For example, children in Ontario were kept out of schools for 20 weeks between March 2020 and May 2021, in addition to regularly scheduled holidays and vacations. That adds up to about half a year of lost learning time, and experts say Ontario children have been set back more than any others across Canada.
What’s one way to help children recover from the limitations of e-learning? For young children, go back to the basics with a greater emphasis on reading, writing, and comprehension. Introducing, or re-introducing, the concepts of phonics and the alphabetic principle to learning programs help children read and, more importantly, comprehend how various letters are combined to create words.
Phonics is all about turning letters that are written in text into sounds. Using this technique, you can help children hear the relationship between various letters, and how they’re meshed together to create different words. The English language, in particular, is interpreted using the combination of letters in the alphabet to create sounds.
When children hear these sounds, they can start to understand letter combinations as they read text on the page. They can start to sound out the words they read and develop something of a muscle memory to remember the sounds of those letter combinations. This helps further develop reading and writing skills so that children have a fluent grasp of the English language.
Take science class outside to help children appreciate nature
There’s nothing like hands-on experience as an educational tool, especially when it comes to science. Discovery requires experimentation, and young minds are the most eager to discover how the world works.
Part of a science program is to teach children about humanity’s relationship with nature. When teaching these classes, why not use outdoor classes to give children a first-hand look at how the natural world functions? This is a great way to demonstrate how the elements influence the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the nature all around us.
The team at Scholastic believes that discovering science in nature helps children become ecologically aware of the environment. As climate change and global warming become ever more pressing issues for our entire society, giving young children a first-hand experience with nature will open their minds to the importance of ecological preservation.
It’s the coming generations that will determine the planet’s future so why not help educate them early? Plus, they’ll be introduced to the concept of problem solving at a young age, which will encourage them to develop creative solutions to those pressing challenges.
Allow technology to become part of the curriculum material
Despite the limitations of e-learning and virtual learning environments, technology still has its place in the classroom. Kids today are already immersed in smartphones, tablets, and laptops so why not teach them about productivity using those devices?
For example, there are programs that allow students to create music and art online. They can learn how to put a creative passion to use in the modern age, and they can develop the skills to use those programs as they continue through their educational journey.
Not only does technology make those learnings more fun, but it also prepares students for how to use these programs that are vital for the jobs of today and tomorrow. A person who knows how to use technology to create graphic designs or produce original musical content is very valuable to organizations large and small all over the world. Children who learn the basics of how to use these programs at a young age may have a competitive advantage over their peers by the time they get to college or graduate into the real world.
Don’t forget about outside academic support
Teachers can amend the curriculum to make material more interesting to children, and parents can review homework with added coaching to help kids at home. However, there may be circumstances where students simply struggle to comprehend the material. This is actually becoming more and more common in light of the start and stop of school lockdowns over the past few years.
That’s why there are third-party academic support programs that provide custom learning solutions to help each individual student grasp the concepts of the learning material. These programs are proven to help students go from average grades to straight A potential. Children learn to rely on their inherent strengths and develop inner confidence that they can overcome any learning challenges that come their way.
If you’d like to learn more about our custom learning programs, please book a call with our Founder and Chief Learning Officer to discuss your child’s unique needs.