At the Children’s Studio, our goal is to develop the whole child, not just the academic child. These social/emotional attributes are tied directly to a child’s success, both in the ability to learn academic material and function as a member of a group. They are part and parcel and cannot be separated when looking at a child’s success. A child who is gifted in math but has no impulse control or has trouble working with others will have a difficult time succeeding even with those great math skills.
On the academic side, we recognize that brain development and function are a condition of experiences. Every academic area (science, math, reading, language, etc.) has a primary place in the brain. We have developed curriculum designed to stimulate these areas and help activate the wiring (creation of dendrites and neural pathways) that help the child access all of the information available to them when trying to solve a problem. We see this next step when the child can take one part of something they learned, combine it with something else, and come up with a completely new or different solution (synthesis).
Example: We know playing with blocks and arranging items into groups helps to stimulate the area of the brain that develops math skills. We also know that pretend play in a group helps to develop language. When a child/children are pretend playing and they run into an issue of where their pretend play people need a place to sleep, they may incorporate block building skills to create hotels, homes, or something new for them to sleep in. Bringing into play life experiences also contributes. If they are playing in a group, children who haven’t had these life experiences or who haven’t developed certain areas of the brain will also learn through observation (observational learning). This is an example of how a child is not only a learner but becomes a teacher.
Understanding that a child’s success in life is directly tied to emotional stability, we take this part of child development as or more seriously than the academic side. Much of a child’s social/emotional success is directly related to the development of their executive function.
While observing a child at play we can begin to see how well their executive function is developed; if it is in a normal range or if there are areas the child is lacking or needs help in developing. In some cases a child’s difficulties are tied to a disorder (ADD/ADHD etc.) and early diagnosis is key to putting a plan together with the family and perhaps a therapist or agency that helps in these types of disorders.
Most of our social/emotional curriculum is based around the executive function and are designed to develop them in conjunction with brain development and cognitive learning. They include impulse and emotional control, self-monitoring, planning and prioritizing, flexibility, organization, and task initiation. Other areas are conflict resolution, transitions, and small and large motor skill development.
Our goal is to develop a smart, happy, healthy, well-adjusted child who develops a love of learning and inquiry and the ability to develop deep and lasting relationships, both in the present and in the future.