It’s no secret that kids begin learning at a very young age. From the moment they are born, babies begin to process information, learning from their parents by hearing them speak and watching their actions. Through much of early childhood, toddlers in particular become explorers and adventurers. But once they are school-age, they often spend most of their days sitting behind a desk, which begs the question: Which form of education is best suited to teach children?
As part of Caucus: New Jersey with Steve Adubato’s “Grow Up Great” series, Steve Adubato, PhD., spoke with early childhood expert and author of Teach the Whole Preschooler: Strategies for Nurturing Developing Minds, Cindy Terebush, about the profound impact parents can have on their young children. This includes creating an environment that allows children to learn through action, exploration and experimentation.
The early childhood age-range is defined as birth to eight-years-old. Before age nine, as Terebush explains, children absorb knowledge the same way; meaning their education should be based more on exploration and active engagement and less on sitting at a desk for an extended period of time.
“When you sit [young children] down in front of a piece of paper,” said Terebush, “you do not get the same depth of learning that you do when they’re exploring and experimenting.”
Young students who are “explorers and discoverers” develop critical thinking and other beneficial skills when they’re actively engaged with their environment.
“I think it’s true of all of us that we learn from being active in our experience, but [it’s especially true] for young children,” Terebush said. “They add to their knowledge naturally when they’re active.”
Parents are often in a rush to teach their children reading, writing and arithmetic; however, Terebush explained that there are other skills children should learn before that, and that part starts at home.
“We need to strengthen the gross motor and fine motor skills” said Terebush. “We need to strengthen the movement in their fingers and their bodies. Their body movement helps brain development. We need to be teaching them about personal interaction.”
To learn more about early childhood development and what kind of impact parents have on their children, check out this edition of Caucus: New Jersey with Steve Adubato.
For more stories that impact New Jersey residents, click over to our Hot Topics in NJ series.