EARLY LEARNING FOR EVERY CHILD TODAY: A Framework for Ontario Early Childhood Settings
Early Learning for Every Child Today: A Framework for Ontario Early Childhood Settings describes how young children learn and develop, and provides a guide for curriculum in Ontario’s early childhood settings, including child care centres, regulated home child care, nursery schools, kindergarten, Ontario Early Years Centres, family resource programs, parenting centres, readiness centres, family literacy, child development programs in Community Action Program for Children, Healthy Babies Healthy Children and early intervention services.
Understanding Children’s Development
The metamorphosis of childhood can be understood as a dynamic dance between children and their environments.
Understanding the patterns of development (as well as the underlying processes outlined earlier) helps early childhood practitioners plan optimal environments and interact positively with young children and their families.
Domains of Development
All aspects of human development are interconnected. Separating out the development of emotional maturity from social competence or language abilities or cognition is an artificial categorization of what is an integrated process.
However, categories allow us to think and share ideas about specific aspects of development.
In doing so, it is essential to keep in mind the interconnectedness of early child development. Learning to talk is social, emotional, cognitive and physical.
Sequence of Development
Children usually learn to sit before walking and running, babble before talking, and scribble before drawing faces and printing letters. New learning and skills build on earlier changes. Each skill is necessary for the next emerging skills.
Knowing what comes before and what comes next helps early childhood practitioners determine where to enter and what experiences to provide.
Understanding children and their development is central in the attitudes, skills and knowledge possessed by practitioners. Observing children’s behaviour; knowing individual children, their families and their community; and using relevant theory to interpret the behaviour one has observed provide the foundation for curriculum development.
“The appropriate sequence in each area of development is an important indication that the child is moving steadily along a sound developmental continuum.”
- Allen & Marotz (2006)
In early childhood settings, practitioners continually observe children for the purpose of improving teaching and learning.
The rate of development is shaped by each child’s family, culture and daily experiences. To say that a child’s development is typical implies that development is following a predictable broad pattern that is filled in with considerable cultural and individual variation.