parents as teachers

New Year’s Resolution: You Are Your Child’s Greatest Learning Resource So Take Care of You

Today’s new year’s resolution is brought to you by the letter Y: you are your child’s greatest learning resource so take care of you. While this sounds next to impossible for parents, especially when comes to the issue of getting enough sleep, it’s far too important to ignore. And we all need to be there to help.

you are your child's greatest resource

This post has been inspired by words of advice from people who have been there and done that, as well as by some awesome new research from professionals. For those of you who prefer pictures to words, here is a graph that shows when children’s brains are the most sensitive for different kinds of learning.

brain's most sensitive time for learning

If you look at the start, brains are revved up and ready to go for vision, hearing, ways of responding and language. This isn’t like a switch that gets turned on at birth, the learning has already been happening! Babies not yet born can detect sound, so much so that their crying will have the accent of the language they have been hearing. This comes from hearing voices, especially those of the parents. When it comes to food preferences of young children, kids tend to choose ones that are familiar. This is a result of foods they have ‘tasted’ from what their mothers have eaten before birth.

parents are children's greatest resource

That’s just before birth. Children’s brains are learning at an astonishing rate after when they can interact with the world and others around them. Because learning is a developmental process, parents and caregivers are essential. “Scientists now know a major ingredient in this developmental process is the ‘serve and return’ relationship between children and their parents and other caregivers in the family or community.” (InBrief: The Science of Early Childhood Development, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University) This relationship nurtures not just the heart, but the developing mind.

educate the mind and heart

School is just an expansion of the process that has already started for kids from within their families. The classroom teachers aren’t the first, parents are. When kids do get to school, one of the factors that most influences school success is parent involvement.

As parents, you are your child’s greatest learning resource. Taking care of yourself isn’t a selfish luxury. It’s vital. Fortunately, Nature has built in a wise plan. The brain learns best through play. Besides sleep, play is also a way to take care of ourselves. How will you and your child play today?


The Early Years: Week of the Young Child

The Importance of the Early Years

Last week was the Week of the Young Child for the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Sometimes, it feels like that every week! But these seven days were a special celebration for one of the world’s largest organizations for kids. The aim of the week was to promote and support young children and families because the early years are so very important.

early childhood yearsJust how important are these years? They are critical for children. 90% of the brain develops by the age of 5. The impact goes far beyond too because what happens during this time will influence kids for life. While their lifetimes are shaped by what happens now, it involves the whole world. Kids are 20% of the population and 100% of the future.

In order to support children, we need to be there for families. After all, parents are the first teachers and home is the first school. But do parents need to turn their homes into learning centers? Their days are already busy enough, how will they find time for something more? This can be quite overwhelming for those with young children.

early learning As a parent, do you sometimes wonder what to do about early learning and how to do it? Thankfully, Mother Nature must have recognized that this would be a challenge. The best way for children to learn is through play. Kids need time and space to explore, build, create, discover, take apart, and pretend and then do over and over and over some more.

Hopefully, that takes off some of the stress. As a parent of young children, what questions do you have about early learning? Would you like to know more about play? What kind of support would be helpful for you? Keeping in mind the intention of the Week of the Young Child and supporting families, I would like to invite you to ask your most pressing questions. Then, in the following days, I will do my best to give you some answers and information in the play-of-the-day blog posts. Can you come out and play?

Parents Are Children’s First Teachers and Playdates

Parents Children’s First Teachers, Home First School and Playground

Have you heard the saying that parents are children’s first teachers and do you have worries, concerns, and a long list of questions about what to do? Often, parents and caregivers are reluctant to try some activities because they worry if they are good enough, think that don’t know as much as needed, wonder if they will teach something the wrong way, or they are afraid of being silly and foolish.

parents are children's first teachersThese are valid issues, and especially so because parents get the first turn when it comes to educating kids. Besides all these concerns, parents are busier than ever with countless demands on their time and energy. Somehow, Mother Nature must have understood and come up with a plan. The best way to teach kids and the optimum way for them to learn is through PLAY. Just in case that isn’t enough, being silly and goofy is part of the deal. After all, it’s PLAY.

Play is all about exploring to find answers and include science, art, math, communication and social activities. Play can happen in the kitchen, the laundry room, the hallway, and everywhere in the house. Outside, the playground, park, and neighborhood add more spaces to play. Parents are children’s first teachers and they are also the first playdates. (Check out 3 daughters dressing up daddy video!)

For the next several posts, I’ll be blogging about simple, fun ways to do all sorts of activities with kids, an entire series of “Yes, you can!” ideas that will fit in with busy schedules and parent concerns. Each time you are tempted with the words, “But I can’t do that because …” remember the spirit and intention of play. Play is permission to discover and have fun, to enjoy the process without worrying about the product, for creating questions rather than having answers. Play is the freedom to make mistakes, to try again and do over. Can you come out to play?

Children’s Rights Included in Nobel Peace Prize

The announcement of Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi  as co-winners of the Nobel Peace Prize also means recognition of the importance of children’s education and rights. The Nobel Committee selected them for “their struggles against the suppression of children and for young people’s rights, including the right to education.” Malala is known as a passionate … Continue reading Children’s Rights Included in Nobel Peace Prize

Parents’ Time-Saving Ideas for Early Learning

How can I help my child with early learning? Where will I find the time? As a parent, you have probably heard how you are your child’s first teacher and just as probably wondered how you would ever find the time for helping with early learning. Is your to-do list already too long? And your … Continue reading Parents’ Time-Saving Ideas for Early Learning

Kindergarten Readiness, Learning from the Olympics #1

If you need a good excuse for watching the Olympic coverage on tv, the Olympics can teach us about learning and readiness beyond kindergarten readiness. Not just the competitions, but even the commercials and ads. Have you see the ads where parents are the athletes with the kids cheering at home, or the ones honoring … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness, Learning from the Olympics #1