Children are curious learners.
By Nicole Hicks, Early Years Specialist
Little learners ignite curiosity in Explore Imagineland!
Curiosity is defined as – a strong desire to know or learn something!
Learning something new is what children in their early years are very good at! Children between the ages of 0-5 do the majority of their brain development at this time, 90% of their brain development in fact!
Significant ‘wiring’ occurs during the first years of a child’s life. This effectively programs child development. A 3-year-old child has around 1000 trillion brain connections or synapses. In later development, these are selectively pruned. A teenager’s brain has around 500 trillion synapses, and this number remains relatively stable into adulthood.
Shaping the young brain.
The pruning of brain synapses indicates the tremendous influence experience and environment play in shaping a young brain. It’s the experiences and relationships that infants and young children have that continuously develop their brains. This interaction builds the neural circuits that will be the foundation for later development.
Positive early experiences result in optimal brain development. This provides the foundation for the other skills and abilities children need for success at school and for life. These positive early experiences also impact on forming relationships, ethical and moral decision making, and happiness.
Positive experiences in Explore Imagineland.
Positive experiences and environments for child development are key – this means that what children are exposed to in all aspects of life is very important and has lifelong impact. Quality time with grown-ups is essential, as is exposure to cognitive experiences such as reading, music, and song.
Explore Imagineland has been designed to engage children and enhance their developmental areas and learning. This occurs through stories, songs, music, and creativity. Through engaging conversations about the characters with adults, listening to the audio stories or having them read aloud, and completing creative games – cognitive skills are being further enhanced and used.
Imagineland also has a focus on allowing children, teachers, and families to explore moral lessons and life experiences with each character. Together, parents, teachers, carers along with children discover the emotional and character traits found in Imagineland and the overarching message that lies within each story. One of the characters in Imagineland – ‘Roley Poley’ talks about persistence and patience in learning a new skill. Then, there’s Donny Dolphin who has a focus on different ways to communicate with friends, we don’t all use verbal words!
Curiosity is the ability to seek and acquire new knowledge, skills, and ways of understanding the world. Therefore we must remember it is at the heart of what motivates young people to learn and what keeps them learning throughout their lives. And as Arthur Aufderheide says ‘All knowledge is connected to all other knowledge. The fun is in making connections.’
So, keep being curious. Keep helping and engaging children to develop the connections, and have fun! See you soon in Explore Imagineland.