It is a very common understanding that children are more interested in the box that the gift arrives in, rather than the gift itself – ever wondered why?

As adults, we have learned through the years that the box is merely the packaging for something more exciting, something more than the box. To a child, that box is everything they have even wanted. It is a blank canvas, limited only by their imagination and time.

That box, no matter how big or small, is the most amazing, open-ended resource that they could ever want! That box, that cardboard box, is a spaceship, a car, a train, a hideout, a shop, a house – literally anything! The adventure begins within the child. A spark of excitement rushes through their bodies and with every thought and movement they make they become even more excited, deepening their involvement with the idea, their imagination, and their learning.

When children are excited, they become sponges for learning. Like a sponge, they absorb information and new ideas that are all around them. They begin to develop a growth mindset that triggers in itself, a desire for more learning, and more information. They problem-solve, they take risks, and they grow their minds as they test their own knowledge.

Remember that feeling of pure excitement? The one before life experiences hardened you to the awe and wonder around you? Children still have that, and it is the role of the early year’s practitioner to ensure that the innocence and passion for the world they live stay at the core of every day! That the amazing world we live in creates possibilities that are endless and exciting.

At Little Angels our Cardboard Box Approach gives children resources – it is a toy free setting so that children can use their imaginations to explore the world. Our settings are an extension of the home rather than a diluted version of a classroom – after all, children do well where they feel confident and secure, the home is often that place. That is why it is important for the learning environment to be designed with familiar objects in complimentary contrast with exciting bits and bobs.

Moore (1982) wrote “The end product of education or schooling is someone who has improved by what has happened to that person”. Positive experiences with peers and skilful practitioners support brain growth and development in children. Exposure to risk creates resilience and helps them to understand all aspects of how it feels to experience stress hormones – a transferable life skill that is not only essential to growth but also survival!

Learning comes from a direct and personal experience of a child (Wilson, 1969).

Putting the children at the heart of our pedagogy, in the very essence of the planning of the physical environment, the sourcing of materials, resources and equipment ensure that every child is excited to learn. Children feed into every aspect of the intent, implementation, and delivery of the quality of care and education being delivered. The setting is their place to feel contained and learn respect, emotional intelligence, and all about themselves, who they are and what they are capable of.

Article submitted by:
LUCY LEWIN of Little Angles