The beginning of Child Development: Theory and Practice was a rough week for me because I caught a stomach virus from my fellow friends that live below me. However, that did not stop me from learning about the Nordic approach and tradition with educating young children in Denmark. Also, I learned a lot of important information about children play and nature in early childhood that foster growth from children learning about how to interact with nature and classmates.
One of the key points I took away about Danish culture is how early childhood major aspects are about play. The Danish child care culture has a big emphasize on a socio-economic approach, which focuses on child play, relationships, outdoor life, and where learning is supposed to take place through child’s involvement in social interaction and processes.
I remember early childhood education in America as fun, but also a place that put big emphasize on children retaining a lot of information. Also, the classroom structure was set up as an institution, whereas in Denmark the Danish kindergartens did not resemble and institution and instead had sofas, soft cushions, and tea lights, which made the environment a cozy atmosphere. The educational content feels more like home for the children and they call the teachers by their first name and talked to them freely.
On Monday, I was sick, so I did not visit the zoo, but the rest of the class visited the Copenhagen zoo and had an amazing time learning about the history of the zoo as well as how can children benefit from learning about animals and having an up-close experience with the animals. On Tuesday, we spent class learning about the importance of children’s relationships to peers and adults in childcare institutions.
It is no surprise that the staff in child care plays a major part in the development of these kids by influencing the children as well as the child’s peers cultural values, cultural artifacts, and ways of thinking impacts both everyday practices in child care and in families. Basically, when the child is in school or participating in after school programs, the teacher is like a second parent to the child. These children look at their teachers as role models and that’s why it is important that the adults carry themselves in a mature way around the children.
On Thursday, our class learned about the Danish view on children and nature and why it is beneficial for children to spend time outdoors. The benefits of play increase children development, learning, and quality of life. Also, what children learn from play is cooperativeness and that they can produce something together that expands how they look at peers, themselves, and objects. During play children explore who they are and who they can become and are becoming as they are developing. The first week of class was difficult for me due to the illness I was battling, but I learned so much valuable information about the way Danes teach young children about play.