Unstructured + Sensory + Sometimes Silly = Summer!

As our Hopkins Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) programs end this week, families often begin making plans to stay in touch with the parents and children with whom they have shared a school-year. The community that was created around supporting, educating, and laughing with each other is hard to let go of, just because classes are ending.

The valuable early school experiences that ECFE children receive has helped our youngest learners feel confident socially, and helped them to develop the language, motor, and attention skills they will need for success in school. Parents sometimes ask how they can keep building on what their child has learned now that it is summer.

The great news about educating a young child is that every experience they have builds their knowledge and understanding of the world around them. An important and often overlooked foundation of learning is the physical and sensory understanding of the world we live in —and the place that we each have in that world. Summer can be an ideal time to help your child solidify this understanding; that very real and important learning will help them to naturally develop the more academic skills they will need later in their school years.

The early childhood staff would like to offer a successful recipe for encouraging school skills in the summer: mix together outdoor play, unstructured games with peers, engaged conversations about what you see around you, and soothing cuddles and silly games while staying at home. Add a big dose of sleep on a regular schedule, and meals that involve sitting together and enjoying healthy food together. Sprinkle in songs, stories and sometimes even silence.

Looking for more information on the benefits of active play? Check out this video by Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy, authors of A Moving Child is Learning Child. The video offers insight into the brain benefits of movement, and offers the book as a resource for ideas and inspiration this summer.

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