Play in the Early Years

Play is important for the mental, physical and psycho-social development of children. Through play, the child has the chance to explore the world, interact with others, connect and bond with parents, express and control emotions, develop symbolic and problem-solving abilities, and practice emerging skills. Research shows the links between play and foundational capacities, such as memory, self-regulation, oral language abilities, social skills and success in school (NAEYC, n.d.).



Play and child development

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The ABC’s for Parents

Do you know the alphabet? No, not the one with the letters. The one that is about you, your behaviour towards your children. Here is a list of twenty four tips, as many as the letters of the alphabet, that will help you strengthen your relationship with your child and keep a strong bond with him/her.



Reading to your Child is Fundamental

Children learn to love the sound of language before they even notice the existence of printed words on a page.  Reading, and the love for reading, begins at home and therefore parents should act as reading role models for their children. Parent involvement in early literacy is directly connected to later academic achievement. Early learning research emphasizes the importance of daily adult/child reading time, as well as having books at home for children to help them be academically ready for kindergarten.

According to scientific research, reading helps the child to:

  • develop his ability to use the language
  • practice his memory
  • stimulate and enrich his imagination
  • cultivate critical thinking and creative search
  • build a strong relationship with parents
  • ensure a balanced emotional development
  • cultivate moral values
  • improve his ability to concentrate
  • study easier his lessons at school
  • and gain greater willingness to learn

Therefore, it would be good to read to our child 20 minutes a day, every day regardless of the age of your child! It is ultimately the best investment for our child’s future!

So, the more kids read, the better readers they become and the more they learn about the world around them. Children who do not read usually have poor reading skills. Reading is a struggle for them, and they avoid it whenever possible. Thus, it is really helpful to find out the reasons for not liking or wanting to read.

  • It’s boring. If your children have this response to reading texts from school, you can always expose them to another kinds of reading at home tailored to their needs and interests. If you want to get you children motivated to read,  give them choices. Let them choose the book.
  • It’s too hard. For some children, reading is a difficult process. If your child is facing difficulties in reading, talk with his/her teacher and ask about how you can find interesting books and materials written at the reading level of your child.
  • It’s not important. Often children do not understand how reading can be useful or relevant to their lives. So, give them plenty of reasons, find books that interest them and teach them by your example.
  • It’s no fun. For some children, especially those who have difficulty reading, books cause anxiety and frustration. Take the pressure off reading, let your child see you enjoying reading and he will enjoy it too. Extend the positive experience that a child may have after reading a book. For example, if the child enjoyed a book about dinosaurs, continue with a visit to the natural history museum.

The following material is created by Colorín Colorado, a national multimedia project that offers a wealth of bilingual, research-based information, activities, and advice for educators and families of English language learners (ELLs). The suggested tips are divided by age, however, many of them can be used with children at various ages and stages and can be applied not only for the English language but for every language that your child speaks or learns.

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6 Education Theorists All Teachers Should Know

6 Education Theorists All Teachers Should Know Infographic
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Lev Vygotsky

According to Vygotsky (1978) the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) relates to the difference between what a child can achieve independently and what a child can achieve with guidance and encouragement from a skilled partner. For example, a child can not solve the jigsaw puzzle by himself but if he receives support from a teacher or a parent, he will be able to solve it. This will help him to develop competence at this skill that will be applied to future jigsaws.

Scaffolding is not a term that Vygotsky actually used but it is a concept that developed based on his work. It means that a teacher or a more advanced peer helps a student to complete a task that he can’t do on his own. The scaffolding has to be gradually reduced and eventually be removed since the student can complete the task on their own.

Read also: Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Learning Theory

Jean Piaget

According to Piaget (1936), children are born with a very basic mental structure (genetically inherited and evolved) on which all subsequent learning and knowledge is based. Piaget worked with the idea that the things people know are organized into schemas. (think of schemas as “units” of knowledge, each relating to one aspect of the world).  When a child learns something new, they either assimilate it into an existing schema, change their schema, or develop a new schema. When we activate background knowledge before introducing a new knowledge we are helping students draw upon their existing schema.

Read also: Piaget’s Τheory of Cognitive Development

B.F. Skinner

According to Skinner (1993), behaviour is influenced by what happens before (antecedents) and immediately after it (consequences). So, behaviorism it’s the idea that praise and rewards positively reinforce a behavior and encourage kids to continue with it. Skinner believed that punishments are counterproductive and that humans act in a way to avoid punishment and gain reward.  If you praise your students for doing something right, display a good work etc, you are using behaviourism to guide students towards the behaviors and actions of successful adults.

Read also: Skinner’s Programmed Instruction Educational Model

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