Aldersgate Preschool

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Sometimes a “little bit” it is just right for our Little Ones


In our world of excess I think about our little ones.

I think about the little bits of things that would benefit them so much.

I recently wrote a post about all the things our children need in abundance.  You can find that post HERE.  Today I’ll focus on the opposite of that – what we need to limit to “just a little.”

A little bit of screen time

Between birth and age three, for example, our brains develop quickly and are particularly sensitive to the environment around us. In medical circles, this is called the critical period, because the changes that happen in the brain during these first tender years become the permanent foundation upon which all later brain function is built. In order for the brain’s neural networks to develop normally during the critical period, a child needs specific stimuli from the outside environment. These are rules that have evolved over centuries of human evolution, but—not surprisingly—these essential stimuli are not found on today’s tablet screens. When a young child spends too much time in front of a screen and not enough getting required stimuli from the real world, her development becomes stunted.

And not just for a while. If the damage happens during these crucial early years, its results can affect her forever.

Much of the issue lies with the fact that what makes tablets and iPhones so great—dozens of stimuli at your fingertips, and the ability to process multiple actions simultaneously—is exactly what young brains do not need.

Read this full article HERE

My thoughts: Our presenter on Brain Balance indicated an underdeveloped right brain is often the root of many developmental delays.  Here is a slide from her presentation. (click on photo to enlarge it)


A little bit of planned activities

Preschoolers need a lot of unstructured activity, free play being the primary example. Through exploration and experimentation in free play, their brains start to build the complex neural networks they will need for advanced decision making further down the road.

Research is now backing up the notion that young children need regular experiences organizing themselves in order to develop their “executive function”.

Executive function refers to the ability to formulate goals, make appropriate decisions towards achieving those goals, all while regulating personal behavior. It also implies that you know how to pay attention to your environment, and how to collect and process the information you need to achieve your goals.

Read this full article HERE

My thoughts: From our experience this is just one area we feel a too full schedule affects adversely.  As you’ve heard us say – Free play is so important.


A little bit of control

“Kids want and expect their parents to provide structure and make key family decisions. It helps them feel safe. While it’s great to give kids a say in things, too many or too big of  choices can overwhelm them or put too much pressure on them.

Give young children the choice between only two things. If they don’t or can’t pick between the two, don’t offer a third. (This doesn’t include “free play time,” where they should be able to do whatever they’re interested in.)”

The article goes on to talk about the need for consistency.  There’s is so much value in consistency.

Read the full article HERE

My thoughts:  Sometimes we will give children the choice between two books at circle time.  We take a vote and then we go with the most votes.  We don’t however, give the choice of whether they sit for a story or not.  We choose the schedule we feel works best for children this age.  Sometimes it’s kids’ choice time and other times it is the teacher’s choice. 

A little bit of frills

For celebrations:  “Simplicity remains the rule for 2- and 3-year-olds too: You might offer cupcakes—the perfect-size confection for little ones—with cardboard Blue’s Clues characters stuck on them. (Check your local stationery or party store.) They’ll appreciate more elaborate parties with themes and planned activities later on. ”

Read the full article HERE

My thoughts: Birthday parties are just one area we, as adults, feel the pressure to be elaborate , exciting or even grand.  Even play dates can be filled with too many frills.  I once heard a mom saying she had planned all kinds of activities for her child and friend’s play date.  They ignored her and quickly ran off to play.   

It goes against our nature to think of denying our children but sometimes less is truly more.