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  • [music]

  • Leslie: Hello. My name is Leslie Forestat, Extension Specialist with the University of

  • Maine cooperative extension. Today we're going to talk about how children learn and how you

  • as a caregiver can create the best learning environment for your child.

  • Children are born learning and what they hear, see, and experience from birth has affects

  • for their lifetime. Even before they are able to speak, they're interactions with people

  • have an affect on their brains. Positive experiences help form connections in their brains and

  • negative experiences do too. The positive experiences build the connections for trust

  • and happiness and an understanding that an adult is there to help in times of stress.

  • What you can do to promote learning. Develop a warm, caring relationship with your child.

  • Show them that your care deeply about them. Express joy in who they are. Help them to

  • feel safe and secure.

  • Serve and return. Like a tennis match, how you respond to a child's cues and clues makes

  • a world of difference in their learning. Notice their rhythms and moods even in the first

  • days and weeks of life. Respond to children when they are upset as well as when they are

  • happy. Try to understand what children are feeling, what they are telling you in words

  • or actions and what they are trying to do.

  • Play with them in a way that lets you follow their lead. Move in when children want to

  • play and pull back when they seem to have had enough stimulation. Talk, read, and sing

  • to children. Surround them with language. Maintain an ongoing conversation with them

  • about what you and they are doing. With stories, ask them to guess what will come next in the

  • story. Play word games. Ask toddlers and preschoolers questions that require more than a yes or

  • no answer like, "What do you think? What do you think will happen next?"

  • Ask children to picture things that have happened in the past or might happen in the future.

  • Provide reading and writing materials including crayons and paper, books and magazines. These

  • are key pre-reading experiences.

  • Encourage safe exploration and play. Give children opportunities to move around, explore,

  • and play and be prepared to step in if they are at risk of hurting themselves or others.

  • Help them to explore relationships as well. Arrange for children to spend time with other

  • children to support their learning and to solve the conflicts that inevitably arise.

  • Watch for them to resolve the conflict first before stepping in. If a child is going to

  • be hurt, feel free to step in.

  • Use discipline to teach. Discipline is teaching. Talk to children about what they are feeling

  • and teach them words to describe those feelings. If your child has misbehaved, make it clear

  • that while you might not like the way they are behaving you love them. Explain the rules

  • and consequences of behavior so children can learn the whys behind what you are asking

  • them to do. Tell them what you want them to do, not just what you don't want them to do.

  • Establish routines. Children thrive on routines. Create routines and rituals for events during

  • the day like mealtime, naptime, and bedtime. Try to be predictable so the child knows what

  • to expect and that they can count on you.

  • Develop a relationship with your child's providers in childcare and preschool. Keep in close

  • touch with your children's childcare providers or your teachers. These caring relationships

  • that they form outside of your home are among the most important relationships that they

  • have.

  • Finally, take care of yourself. You can best care for young children when you are cared

  • for as well. Learn to cope with your stressors so that you can help your child learn to manage

  • hers too. Take time for walks and take breathing breaks in Maine's beautiful outdoors. Your

  • child's wellbeing depends on your health and wellbeing.

  • [music]


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Brain Development

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    Furong Lai posted on 2012/12/14
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