Love Leads to Learning

Carving out time to create our monthly blog is always refreshing for me. It’s an opportunity to step back from writing curriculum and reflect on something that has impacted me recently. As I look back on this past month, one particular memory bubbles to the forefront of my mind.

A few weeks ago, I found myself nestled in the corner of a restaurant lobby, waiting for a table to become available. As I waited, a toddler caught my attention. This child had spotted a set of wooden stairs they were eager to explore. I watched this toddler climb down each stair with such wonder and curiosity. Every step was a challenge, yet an opportunity to master a new skill. Their parent watched them closely as they rested their hand on this child’s arm, allowing their little one to soak up the wonder of climbing down each stair. Eventually, this toddler reached the bottom, though it took them some time to accomplish their task.

As I soaked in the moment of this parent interacting with their child, my heart began to flood with emotions. Seeing this parent show up for their toddler was just spectacular. This parent could have easily picked up the child and rushed down the stairs or hurried them along, but they didn’t. They chose to let their child take a few extra minutes to achieve reaching each step one at a time. This parent stayed close for support but still let this little one figure out a skill all on their own, and something about that moment overwhelmed my heart.

Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time pouring through research and recommendations written by early childhood development experts. Through my reading, I’ve found a consistency. Children enter this world as curious, tiny humans.They learn best when we let them explore what interests them.5,6 Flashcards and toys advertised as educational can’t be given credit for creating opportunities for children to learn.Instead, it’s loving, nurturing, caring relationships that wire healthy connections in the brain and lead to kids mastering new skills. Learning works best when it’s approached as a natural process that occurs when parents tune into their children, engage in their interests, and provide them with just enough support to accomplish tasks on their own.2,3

Watching the parent coach their child to come down the stairs provided a perfect example of putting this research into action. It also ignited my own curiosity and wonder. As I reflected on this loving parent-child interaction, I began to think about what a different learning experience this child would have had if they fell. Of course, this attentive parent would have most likely caught them from any serious injury, as they did not leave this kiddo’s side during their exploration. However, in addition to growing their gross motor skills, this toddler would have learned, “when I stumble, my parent is there to help me get back up on my feet.”

Learning is a beautiful and messy process, especially for children. Though our world sometimes tells us that an adult’s job is to teach children how to get the right answers, learning is really about mastering skills and concepts as kids go through the learning process.4,5  Helping children learn about colors, counting, and shapes is important, but kids invite us to teach them about these concepts every day. An infant intrigued by the rainbow in a book is a wonderful opportunity to label colors. The preschooler stacking a block tower is an excellent chance to talk with them about shapes and numbers. As you watch moments like these come to life in home visits, remember that as kids lead their learning experiences, it’s okay for them to struggle within reason or get things “wrong.”4  After all, what curious children need the most is nurturing parents. It’s through healthy parent-child interactions that kids learn they’re loved. This sense of love helps children develop the confidence to try new things, take on reasonable challenges, and master new skills. In other words, love leads to learning.2,3

References

1. Golinkoff, R. M., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2016). Becoming brilliant: What science tells us about raising successful children. APA Life Tools.

2. Government of the Province of British Columbia. (2019). Toddler’s first steps: A best chance guide to parenting your 6- to 36-month-old. HealthLinkBC. https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/hlbc/files/toddlers-first-steps-english.pdf

3. Parlakian, R., & Lerner, C. (2013). Brain development [Video]. Zero To Three. https://www.zerotothree.org/espanol/brain-development

4. Perry, B. D. (2001). Curiosity: The fuel of development. Scholastic.  http://teacher.scholastic.com/professional/bruceperry/curiosity.htm

5. Touch the Future. (2011, May 1). Bev Bos with Michael Mendizza [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_OoFjCruU4

6. Zero To Three. (2010, February 20). Tips on nurturing your child’s curiosity. https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/224-tips-on-nurturing-your-child-s-curiosity

About the Author
Rachel Cook is a Product Development Specialist. Before joining Great Kids®, she worked as a home visitor with Kentucky HANDS. Rachel lives in Berea, Kentucky, with her husband, where she loves writing and exploring nature.

Recent Posts

The Here and Now

The Here and Now

Earlier this summer, I found myself sitting on my back porch clutching a book about mindful parenting. You’ve probably heard about...

read more
History is Not Your Destiny

History is Not Your Destiny

Some people are born with a love for reading. You know if you’re one of them! My sister is. Even as a child, she often had her head...

read more
Embrace the Joy!

Embrace the Joy!

As I sit down to write this blog, my week is coming to a close. It’s Friday. I’ve spent my workdays in a virtual conference learning,...

read more
Fresh Air

Fresh Air

For those of us who live in the northern hemisphere, spring is officially here, and that’s a reason to celebrate! I don’t know about...

read more
Hope

Hope

Hope can be defined as wanting something to happen or be true or to expect something with confidence, per Merriam-Webster....

read more
The Next Generation

The Next Generation

Great Kids has been up to some exciting things for the past couple of years, and we are finally ready to share with the rest of the world! We have completed our most comprehensive update of our GGK Prenatal to 36 months (GGK P36) curriculum series – we call it the “GGK P36 NEXT GENERATION” series. It has been a labor of love for us. We intentionally reviewed all components of the curriculum, listened to feedback from the field, and incorporated the best practices in early childhood for our revisions, and the result is spectacular.

read more

Growing Great Kids® Next Generation P-36

Our latest effort to support the work of Home Visiting, our Growing Great Kids® Next Generation (GGK®) Curriculum materials.

GGK® for Preschoolers

A Curriculum & Certification Program for Home Visitors aimed at fostering the growth of nurturing, developmentally enriched parenting skills, building protective factors for children 3 to 5 years old.

Open Enrollment

View upcoming virtual seminar open enrollment dates and subject areas.

How to Get Started

Start by scheduling a free 30-minute webinar to learn more about how your organization might benefit from Great Kids® affordable curriculum with no recurring costs.

Schedule Your Free Webinar Today

Frequently Asked Questions from Our New Customers

Please review common questions for those that are new to Great Kids®. Book your free, personalized webinar to learn more.

For Our Existing Customers

Thank you for being part of the Great Kids® family of agencies and programs. Support & information on Great Kids programs is just a click or phone call away.

Pre and Post Certification Products

All the tools you need to start using Great Kids® Curriculum right away and to continue to enhance the effectiveness of your program.

Ordering Materials

Need replacement manuals? Want to add to your library of Great Kids® resources? Find everything you need here.

  • New Products
  • Recovery-Impact-Support-Empower
  • Replacement Materials
  • Spanish Materials Available

Open Enrollment

View upcoming virtual seminar open enrollment dates and subject areas.

Existing Customer FAQs

Are you a past or current customer of Great Kids®? Find common questions and answers here.

Pricing Information for Existing Customers

Find pricing for companion products and other programs.

About Great Kids®

In partnership with home visitors, Great Kids has helped hundreds of thousands of children feel safe and secure, loved and valued, curious and capable.

Contact Great Kids

Contact Great Kids today by phone, by email, through social media, or by our mailing address.

 

Research

Great Kids® has incorporated decades of theoretical and empirical foundations regarding the kinds of interventions that have been shown to make a difference for children into the Growing Great Kids® Prenatal to 5 Years and Growing Great Families® curricula.

Alignment With Program Models

Our curricula are flexible enough to be used within a multitude of program models.

Protective Factors

The research-based principles of the Protective Factors Framework were foundational in the development of the Growing Great Kids® Curriculum.

Great Kids® Blog

Find informative articles about growing creativity in young children, welcoming a new sibling, playing outside, as well as general Great Kids® updates.

GK Video Podcast

A video podcast series dedicated to overcoming bias in others, and within our selves.

Parent’s Place Newsletter

Limited edition, weekly installment Newsletter published by Great Kids® from March through December 2020 with printable resources for home visitors and the families they serve.

Open Enrollment

Great Kids is proud to offer a variety of virtual seminar opportunities! Visit our Open Enrollment page for the latest dates and seminar offerings. 

 

We continuously add seminar dates to our list so please check back often. For more information about how to enroll, contact us at info@greatkidsinc.net.

 

You can also enter your email address in the form below to subscribe to receive regular updates from GK, including information on open enrollment. 

 

We look forward to partnering with you!

We look forward to connecting with you!