Early childhood is a period of child development which is quite sensitive for the young ones. As a result, both parents and teachers aim at providing children with the best experiences to ensure that growth takes place without any hindrances. For kindergarten children, teachers aim at providing a learning environment that boosts the five domains of child growth which are physical, cognitive, social, communication, and adaptive skills development. All these areas can be developed in children by simply allowing them to play.
The first stage of development is communication skills development which relates to how children pass on information among each and other, to their parents, and to their teachers. The ability of the children to develop a language that they can comfortably use in communication is an important step in this domain of childhood development. Some of the activities that I would engage the children in to boost their communication would involve singing songs, reciting nursery rhymes, reading books that play with the sounds of language, and game-like activities (Whitebread et al., 2017). Reading books that play with language sounds will help the children to learn the different sounds that exist and playfully begin to practice using them in their speech. Singing songs help in mastering words that are found in those songs.
Secondly, the physical skills domain is primarily meant to help in the development of the children’s motor skills which involves moving hands, moving legs, turning around, and jumping among other skills. For the children in my class to develop these skills, I would get them to play games that make them move around such as jumping ropes, exercises involving cutting out shapes, learning how to play instruments, and building car models (Charlesworth, 2017). As the children engage in these activities, they will find it easier to move about and thus possess better motor skills. Thirdly, the adaptive domain is a developmental stage that is concerned with the ability of children to be independent. It is not really about expecting them to be independent, but to help them know how to perform small tasks such as feeding themselves, brushing their teeth, and putting on their shoes (Whitebread et al., 2017). Doing so helps them to function and meet the demands of one’s environment. The best way to do this would be to get my young students into a workable routine that contains class time, breaks, feeding times, and playtime. Lunch breaks are an opportunity for the children to learn how to eat their food and to ensure that they clean their food containers (for the slightly older ones).
The fourth domain is the social and emotional (affective) domain which helps the children to learn how to relate well with their friends, teachers, and parents. It also deals with teaching them how to navigating their feelings and learning how to react and respond in social situations. One of the activities that I can use to help my students to be sociable is through cooperative playing (Charlesworth, 2017). Playing together helps the children know how to work as a team in sports activities, how to be courteous, and how to deal with winning and losing in the games. Besides, providing an environment where the children have an opportunity of talking with friends also helps them in developing social skills (Whitebread et al., 2017). In the end, through these activities, the children develop courtesy, good social skills, and how to deal with their emotions.
The last domain that needs to be developed in children is the cognitive skills domain. Under this domain, the concern of the teacher is to help the student to develop healthy learning and thinking processes. Exercises that can help in cognitive development include counting, systematically repeating information, and organizing objects such as flowers or pencils by shape, color, and function (Charlesworth, 2017). Telling the same story over and over again also helps in developing the children’s memory since they are capable of remembering the story after one week or two. Another way of developing cognitive skills is by providing children with the information that they need in form of responding to their many questions. These questions are normally motivated by their desire to understand what they see, hear, or their imaginations. Giving the right answers, even when they do not quite understand it at that time, helps them to build up a pool of knowledge that they use to answer life questions as they grow up. It is also at this time that the children want to know where children come from, what death is, why they have to brush their teeth before bed, and many more. It is important that as a teacher, I do not ignore any of these questions.
Thus, early childhood development is significant in the growth and development of the children as far as their social skills, communication skills, cognitive, adaptive skills, and physical skills are concerned. As a teacher, my job is to provide an environment full of play in form of exciting games, exercises, music, and storytelling which help in their growth.
Charlesworth, R. (2017). Understanding Child Development. 10th Edition. Cengage Learning: Boston, USA
Whitebread, D., Neale, D., Jensen, H., Liu, C., Solis, S. L., Hopkins, E., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Zosh, J. (2017). The role of play in children’s development: a review of the evidence. The LEGO Foundation White Paper. https://www.legofoundation.com/media/1065/play-types-development-reviewweb.pdf