Developing Self—all children differ in temperament, learning style, home environment, cultural background, needs and abilities. These differences are strengths that influence their self-awareness, development, learning style and relationships with adults, siblings and friends. The Approaches to Learning; Social and Emotional Learning and Development; and Growing, Moving and Being Healthy are the primary domains in this section.
Approaches to Learning
Young children come into the world eager to learn. They are competent, active learners who continually challenge themselves to move to new levels of understanding. They are problem solvers as well as problem generators who are innately curious about the natural world. They seek and create novel challenges. They are often self-motivated and self-directed, while influenced by strong social interactions.
- Play and ExplorationChildren engage in play to understand the world around them.
- InitiativeChildren show curiosity about the world around them, and take action to interact with it and learn.
- Problem SolvingChildren engage in play to understand the world around them.
Social and Emotional Learning and Development
From the time infants first respond to our smiles, to when they are negotiating with us for just five more minutes of play, to when they begin to understand how to work on a team, our children are navigating the construct of our social world. Social and emotional skills are the “bricks and mortar” of all areas of development, according to Jack Shonkoff, Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University (Epstein, 2009).
- Emotional and Self-RegulationChildren express a range of emotions, and regulate their emotional and social responses.
- Self-AwarenessChildren demonstrate awareness of their personal characteristics, skills, and abilities.
- Relationships with Adults and PeersChildren develop healthy positive relationships with adults and peers
Growing, Moving, and Being Healthy
As children grow from newborns to third graders, their nervous systems mature; this maturational process enables them to perform increasingly complex large and fine muscle movements. Children also need to develop strength, coordination, balance, and stamina to play, explore, get from one place to another, and complete various other activities.
- Motor Development and CoordinationChildren develop strength, coordination, and control of their large muscles.Children develop strength, eye-hand coordination, and control of their small or fine motor muscles.
- Health and Safety PracticesChildren develop healthy eating habits and knowledge of good nutrition.Children develop personal health and self-care habits, and become increasingly independent.Children develop the ability to identify unsafe situations, and use safe practices.