Early Learning Tools & Resources
“Parent Coaching” Boosts Early Language Skills
Teaching parents about communication strategies with their infants has a direct impact on their children's language development according to new I-LABS research published online in Developmental Science. Parents instinctively use a special style of talking with their infants, called “parentese”. However, by coaching parents on the how and why of its importance when the infants were 6 and 10 months of age resulted an increase in parents’ language input to their children, and in children using significantly greater number of words at 14 months compared to children of parents who did not receive this coaching. Such a parental intervention has the potential to positively improve all children's language outcomes. (Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences)
Responsive Care giving as an Effective Practice to Support Children’s Social and Emotional Development
Identifying strategies children use to connect to other people and learn about their world in the first years of life.
Babies are born social and ready to interact! For example, newborns often imitate facial expressions of adults.
Babies are attracted to the human face –and even shapes that only vaguely look like human faces.
Young children notice and follow the eye gaze of adults to learn.
Research-based components of high-quality interactions with children. High-quality interactions should:
Be face-to-face with a responsive adult and child.
Use back-and-forth, or turn-taking, interactions.
Be contingent on the behavior or action of the child. In other words, the behaviors and actions of the adult should be influenced by the child’s.
Use “sharing attention”, or the use of social cues such as pointing and eye gaze, to communicate with young children even before they can speak. This is also effective for supporting dual language learners’ language development.
Be adjusted to meet individual temperament, ability, and needs of the child. For example, allow more time to explore new surroundings for a child that is “slow to warm up” before moving on with a task or transition.
The importance of healthy and supportive early relationships and responsive care giving.
Brain development in the first few years of life depends on strong, social relationships with a primary caregiver.
Over time, responsive care giving yields positive outcomes for the child, such as persistence in scholastic pursuits, social and emotional development that persist into adulthood.
Strong relationships with at least one nurturing, responsive adult early on in life also builds resilience to stress. Home visitors and teachers can help support parents and other caregivers’ ability to recognize their children’s cues and be more responsive to them.
NATIONAL CENTER ON
Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning
Early Learning Framework: Ages Birth to Five
Approaches to Learning
Approaches to Learning focuses on how children learn. It refers to the skills and behaviors that children use to engage in learning.
Supporting children's skills in this guide helps children acquire knowledge, learn new skills, and set and achieve goals. They learn to successfully navigate learning experiences that are challenging, frustrating, or simply take time to accomplish. How children engage in learning influences development in all domains and directly contributes to success in school.
An important part of becoming a successful learner is developing the ability to self-regulate in a variety of situations. In infancy, self-regulation occurs within the context of consistent, responsive relationships. In the next few years, the child becomes a more active agent, though adults still provide guidance. Children draw on emotional and behavioral self-regulation skills in many ways. They develop different coping strategies to manage feelings when playing with other children and when following classroom rules. This growing ability for children to manage emotions and behavior allows for more positive engagement in learning activities.
Children also develop cognitive self-regulation skills—often referred to as executive functioning. These skills include sustained attention, impulse control, and flexibility in thinking. Another related skill is working memory, the ability to hold information and manipulate it to perform tasks. Executive functioning skills are present in rudimentary form during the infant and toddler years and develop even more in the preschool years. For example, children become increasingly able to rely on their memory to recount past experiences in detail and follow multi-step directions. Whether climbing onto a couch to retrieve a toy, building increasingly elaborate block structures, or deciding on the roles in pretend play, young children draw upon their curiosity, persistence, and creativity to gather information and solve problems.
Many factors influence how children approach learning. Some children seem to be born risk takers who are eager to try something new, while others prefer to observe for a while. As children with disabilities learn how to learn, they may require more individualized instruction and accommodations to aid with sustained attention or regulation of feelings.