Here’s the one thing educators wish every parent knew: education is a priority. And a huge one.
Much to people’s surprise, babies and toddlers do not just come to childcare to play. Well, not from an educator’s perspective anyway. As the term ‘childcare’ does not suggest (and fails to even consider), that one of our greatest priorities is education.
Watch: The ultimate childcare centre. Post continues below.
At the very mention of the word ‘educate’ or ‘teach’ in the context of babies and toddlers, people tend to get confused.
“But what can babies and toddlers learn?” They ask.
The very question is riddled with a learnt misconception, often stemming from our own experience of education. Often learning is perceived as the ability to recite known facts, whatever they may be, by means of writing or verbal language. This is understandable because this way of demonstrating knowledge can be tested and measured.
It seems that we have come to believe that because babies and toddlers don’t necessarily have the skills of reading and writing and speaking like older children do, they are not learning or being educated.
This could not be further from the truth.
Just like in schools where the teachers follow a curriculum, educators in childcare centres are guided by a learning framework. This is used to plan learning experiences and environments for the children.
The educators also follow a learning cycle, which involves observation, interpretation, planning, assessment and reporting. Just like in schools.
And, they plan for and report on learning for every child across the year. Just like in schools.
So, what do we teach and what can babies and toddlers learn?