Spring is now in full bloom! With the changing of seasons the temperature rises, flowers bloom, baby animals are born and our side of the world awakens from its winter slumber.
The changing of seasons is an exciting time for children as they begin to recognise changes in the world around them as the environmental cycle continues. As the Early Years Learning Framework demonstrates being, belonging and becoming are elements of a child’s early learning and, once you start looking, you start finding these lessons everywhere.
What happens today in a child’s life will shape their attitudes and opinions of the world for years to come. By encouraging your child to engage with life’s joys and complexities, you can further improve their sense of being.
Life cycles are a fantastic way of introducing the circle of life, nature and change to your child without watching the Lion King (although that is a great choice too!). A life cycle, to a child, presents itself as a story – with a beginning, middle and end. To an educator or a parent the introduction of a life cycle represents the opportunity to incorporate science and nature into a lesson and spark a child’s curiosity in the world around them. A popular life-cycle story is that of a caterpillar where they begin life as a caterpillar, eat until they develop a cocoon, and break free as a beautiful butterfly to flutter about in Spring.
Much like the changing of the seasons, your child can learn where they belong in the world around them. Whether their role is to be a son, daughter, nephew, niece, grandson, or granddaughter – every child has a role. With a little imagination, some roles can be dreamt up – like pretending to be a mermaid, a pirate, or a police officer: through play, children can learn where these roles fit in society. Finally, aspiration can begin early where children develop what they wish to be in life and it all starts with what they learn today. In understanding their environment, why the seasons change, and how the cocoon in the tree has now created a butterfly (let alone how a seed turned into a tree!), there are stories everywhere. Each story is a chance for a lesson and through these lessons, children are capable of becoming more comfortable in their environment and therefore more connected.
Learning allows children the opportunity to participate fully and actively in society. The knowledge gained in their early years will constantly change their perspective. Children themselves are a part of a life cycle and as they grow they will come to this realisation and see where they belong. The fast and substantial changes to their identities allow them to see where they have been, identify where they belong, and strive to reach the goals of what they wish to become and, in doing so, bloom into important, independent flowers in the garden of life.