The art of wonder in children's play

In the early childhood profession, we talk about the importance of children learning through play. It is important to understand what we mean by play and how children’s play is fundamental to their learning.

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island focus – educators

Providing an inclusive learning environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is vital for their early development. Find out more about how children develop cultural identity and watch a video about how a leading Aboriginal Children’s Service connects children to culture.

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Child-Rearing Practices

Being aware of and integrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child-rearing practices helps children and families feel that they belong, and supports important cultural practices.

Understanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child-rearing strategies, and embracing the importance of these practices, is absolutely crucial in ensuring continuity for children between home and early learning services.

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Understanding and helping Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander children connect to their Culture

Providing an inclusive learning environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is vital for the development of children in the early years. This is created by supporting culturally-strong learning, and promoting a child’s understanding of their culture.

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How early learning settings ‘amplify’ children’s natural development

As educators understand the characteristics of young children as curious and active learners the environments they create and the experiences they set up amplify children’s natural development.  They understand that young children do not learn through formal structure and specific subject matters but across all areas of learning through play, both self-directed and educator-directed.

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The importance of teaching social and emotional skills in early learning

Not everyone knows that social and emotional skills are fundamental to educational success. Parents are concerned if their children are anxious or have behaviour problems but they don’t often link this to educational success.

Social and emotional capability is crucial to school success. Without this children are at risk of being unable to transition successfully to school, of behaviour problems, of academic failure and of social problems, problems that often remain in adolescence and even adulthood.

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Building children’s brains—why children need rich learning environments

‘Is the grass green at night?’ ponders the four-year-old. The crawling toddler pulls himself up on the shelf to study the children’s photographs and reaches out for the photo of him. ‘That’s not fair’, says the three-year-old when one child takes all the red cars. The baby starts wriggling and kicking his feet excitedly when he sees mum arrive to pick him up.

These scenes show children’s brains at work. How educators respond to each child is crucial to brain development and lays the foundation for learning and success in later life.  

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Putting relationships at the centre of our care for babies and toddlers

Brain research shows that relationships are the linchpin of early brain development. It is the ‘serve and return’ communication from birth on that strengthens the connections in the brain that lead to development of social skills, communication and learning skills. The serve and return idea has come from The Harvard Child Development Centre research team and is a way of thinking about early communication. The baby makes a signal, it might be a smile or a mouth movement or a cry or just a loving look. This is the serve. The adult responds by returning what the baby has done (except cry of course) saying to the baby, ‘I see you are wanting to talk with me’. This is the return. The baby responds again and so the ‘conversation’ continues. Or in the case of the cry the adult says something like, ‘I can see you are wanting to he held, fed, have a sleep etc.’ and responds to the baby’s signal.

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What parents can do to help their child’s language and emotional development

How is it that in a country as prosperous as Australia, one in five children are developmentally at risk by the time they start school?

What’s more, the problem is twice as great for disadvantaged groups.

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds have a greater risk of poor health, social, emotional, cognitive and language problems that affect their educational progress, literacy, numeracy, and long-term social skills, employment prospects, health, adjustment and criminality.

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