Creativity, emotional intelligence and independence are basic skills that today’s generation should possess in order to know success both now and later in their personal and professional life. These aptitudes can be harmoniously developed with the help of some educational strategies that identify and celebrate the traits that make our children unique.

Interactive learning in a cheerful atmosphere which is motivating and safe is key to a healthy education. Sometimes however the irresponsible inclusion of tablets or smart phones in the children’s routine makes the development of social and cognitive abilities more difficult, and  instead encourage a sedentary lifestyle and competitiveness.

According to a study carried out in 2016 by the American Association of Pediatrics, children find it difficult to transfer information learnt in the digital world to the 3 D world as their attention, memory and capacity to symbolize are still immature. For healthy development, children need authentic relationships with kind adults, with other children and with a real environment.

„That which a child lives until the age of 7 becomes an important part of the way in which they will think and behave throughout their life” says Helen O’Donoghue, expert in international education systems. A child who is present, involved and active will become an adult who is decisive, independent and attentive to societal issues, while a child who is not active enough and who is deconnected from his immediate environment will adopt irresponsive behaviour.

How can we support the learning process in the age of „social media”?

Helen O’Donoghue shares a few strategies and activity ideas that have the purpose of making learning both at home and at nursery more effective for children who are fascinated by technology and smart screens.

Play means learning, don`t exclude it from the daily routine!

For children, play represents the most important source of information. Through interacting with their environment, both inside and outside, through socialising and role play children come to understand what they are passionate about, what makes them curious and even what scares them. Play is children’s language, while adults (whether they be parents, teachers or relatives) have to learn this langauge in order to ensure harmonious development for their child.

Integrate the interests of every child in extending his cognitive skills. Even adults retain a subject when this captures their interest. For children, learning to write, read and talk should take place through topics that interest them. If a child is passionate about dinosaurs for example. make them out of paper and encourage him to explore texture, size and shape.

Focus on teaching basic skills rather than rushing development. During the preschool period, children prepare for what they will learn later in school. The aim of preschool education is not to teach a child to write prerectly, but rather to develop a link between hand-eye so that the actual skill of writing is aquired easily later. Children can be encouraged to draw and trace shapes in order to encouragement the development of fine motor skills.

Always create a challenge for children Children love adventure and the more learning seems exciting, the more receptive they will be. If a child manages for example, to easily sort wooden shapes from those that are metal or plastic then this activity doesn’t bring any new learning opportunities and only confirms what we know he can already do. This situation can be remedied through asking questions that stimulate thinking such as „which of these materials are natural and which are man-made?”

Include abstract information such as numbers in real contexts. Children are very receptive to concrete activities that they can associate with familiar situations. Words and numbers are abstract concepts but they can be learnt when introduced in the right setting. Create spaces dedicated to real life experiences, for example a space which represents a kitchen etc. Include pictures and words associated with the chosen topic (such as objects, qualities, actions carried out in the setting) and children will come to recognise them more easily.

The involvement of children in fun activities and real life is essential for healthy growth, physical as well as emotional development; the above advice provide an excellent starting point for an education adapted to meeting childrens needs in todays age.