The age from birth to three is an explosion of development and learning for young children. From being totally dependent on parents and carers for their every need to becoming independent children, with unique personalities, complex language skills and physical abilities, children learn it all in an incredibly short time.
This does not happen in a vacuum, however. Babies need to hear language and see communication to be able to learn proficiency; a whole range of physical skills are required and need to be practised before crawling, cruising and walking can be mastered; attachment, bonding, episodes of joint attention and developing resilience are just a few of the social and emotional aspects that will help to develop personality.
Similarly, this development doesn’t happen according to a fixed timetable (although there are some general developmental norms) or in discrete pockets of development.
Babies and young children learn and develop holistically, meaning that many areas develop all at the same time and interdependently on each other. This is particularly pertinent in the birth to three age range, where there can be significant benefits to giving babies and young children experiences that are interconnected and consider all areas of learning and development.
For example, baby massage is physically soothing, and, in addition, it is beneficial for bonding and emotional soothing.
Physical development with respect to eye contact, pointing and babbling are all important beginnings of communication.
Of course, communication in the form of storytelling and narratives greatly supports young children’s sense of self, their sense of community and may also be a vehicle for exploring their own sense of morality at the basic level of ‘goodies’ vs ‘baddies’.
Superhero play (which may take the form of ‘goodies vs baddies’) can be used to encourage different forms of movement with older children such as leaping, spinning and creeping during their play.
As you can see, birth to three is all about the interactions, the interdependencies and the links between ALL areas of learning and development.
I have explored these concepts and ideas in my latest book – The Holistic Care and Development of children from birth to three which has just been published. The aim of the book is to illustrate just how vital it is that we consider children holistically, rather than arbitrarily sub-divide their accomplishments into pre-determined boxes, especially in the birth to three age range.
In the book, I have included lots more examples, as well as activity ideas to support them. There are also the underpinning theories about babies and young children’s development at the beginning of each chapter to set the context.
Babies and young children are amazing learners, capable and curious. It seems a shame not to acknowledge this and support them in their preferred way of learning – holistically.
You can purchase the book now from David Fulton Publishers here: https://www.routledge.com/The-Holistic-Care-and-Development-of-Children-from-Birth-to-Three-An-Essential/Brodie/p/book/9781138211056 or from Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2nOcDQK