Understanding young children and how they develop and learn is central to how adults support and teach. How can we teach if we do not know the ways in which young children learn? The joy of working with young children is to observe them as they play, talk and create. Then our challenge is to unpick what we have seen and make sense of it so that we can support them further.
Mary Jane Drummond sums this up very well in the following:
‘When we work with children, when we play and experiment and talk with them, when we watch them and everything they do, we are witnessing a fascinating and inspiring process: we are seeing them learn. Through our observations in everyday practice we think about what we see, and try to understand it… and then put our understanding to good use’. 1993 p.13
It’s important to recognise that children, including babies, are rich in their potential for finding out and are competent and capable protagonists in their own learning. With this in mind we need adults who are knowledgeable, confident and open, to support and guide our children. Adults who understand how children develop and learn, the role of talk and conversation, the role of play and how children think and create their own ideas.