In today’s fast-paced world, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are the driving forces behind innovation and progress. To equip the next generation with the skills they need to thrive in this exciting landscape, we have to recognise the incredible impact of early childhood education. A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California Irvine has revealed the transformative power of high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) in nurturing children’s STEM achievements throughout their educational journey.

The study’s findings are both exhilarating and promising. They show that children who have access to top-notch ECEC before starting school are more likely to excel in STEM subjects as they progress into high school. This underscores the vital role of investing in early education and providing children with the necessary tools and support to build a strong educational foundation.

The Secret Ingredients: Curiosity and Care

The researchers identified two key factors that contribute to the success of early childhood education in fostering STEM abilities. Firstly, igniting children’s curiosity through cognitive stimulation has a profound impact on their problem-solving skills and overall STEM performance. Early childhood educators who create engaging learning environments and incorporate hands-on experiences play a pivotal role in nurturing children’s passion for STEM. Secondly, the study emphasised the crucial role of educator sensitivity and responsiveness. When educators demonstrate empathy, attentiveness, and genuine care for children’s needs, it not only supports their overall development but also significantly influences their STEM achievements. The emotional connection established during these early years lays the foundation for children’s social-emotional skills, which are closely intertwined with cognitive development.

Promoting STEM Equity and Inclusion

Interestingly, the study also revealed that sensitive and responsive caregiving in early childhood has an even greater impact on STEM performance for children from low-income families compared to their peers from higher-income backgrounds. This finding highlights the importance of addressing equity in early education and ensuring that all children, regardless of their socioeconomic status, have equal access to high-quality early learning that fosters STEM engagement. Speaking of STEM, did you know that Little Scholars offers an exciting STEM program for our kindergarten children? In collaboration with our friends at Lab Kids, we provide an incredible educational STEM program that aligns with the Early Years Learning Framework and the Australian National Curriculum. From exploring motion and states of matter to learning about light, sound, and chemical reactions, our curious little scholars embark on an exciting journey of STEM discovery!

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Finally, the University of California Irvine study reinforces the immense value of early childhood education in nurturing STEM success. By providing high-quality early learning that fosters curiosity, responsive caregiving, and an inclusive learning environment, we begin to realise the full potential of our Little Scholars.  Book a tour at Little Scholars.

Are you a parent racking your brain trying to figure out how to get your little one to stop hitting, biting, or pushing other people?

The good news is, it’s really common. The bad news for you is, it’s still your child doing it and you have to deal with it.

For babies, this is a way to explore the world through cause and effect. Besides teething, babies bite to see what you’ll do. If you laugh, they might try it again to get the same reaction. If you get mad, that baby might be fascinated by your reaction, not quite understanding facial reactions and meaning.

For toddlers, they may have seen other children do it. They might do it because they’re angry, upset, hurt or excited and don’t have the means to express it differently.

Both babies and toddlers could be pushing, biting or hitting because they feel overwhelmed, bored, overtired or hungry.

No matter why your child is doing it, it can be frustrating and embarrassing for parents. But know that it’s not about you. It’s not your failure as a parent. When we think our child’s behaviour with us is a reflection on ourselves, we bring a lot of baggage with our response.

Now’s the time to manage it calmly.

“I like to explain to parents that these kinds of behaviours aren’t usually appropriate, but are age-appropriate and can come from a place of frustration in children,’ says Claire, an educator at our Nerang Campus.

“Biting is common around the age where children are beginning to learn how to talk and can’t quite get the words out and are frustrated.”

It is important to ensure when you are guiding a child’s behaviour to label the behaviour and not the child, Claire says. Telling them they’re being bad or naughty isn’t effective, and it isn’t likely to change the behaviour. Remember, every child is good. They are learning everything, including regulating and dealing with emotions and impulse control.

Claire also recommends not projecting your own feelings about your child’s negative behaviour. For example, try not to make statements like ‘Stop it, you’re making Mummy sad’ or ‘Look what you did!’ Try to remember that your child is learning empathy, so putting shame or guilt on their actions won’t fix the negative actions.

So how do you respond?

Stay calm. Your emotions can set the tone for how to bring down a heightened moment. By yelling or immediately punishing, you’re giving that undesirable behaviour attention. It’s also modelling explosive reactions, like what you as a parent are trying to adjust.

A calm, firm response could look like ‘Hitting/Biting/Pushing is never OK. I won’t let you hurt your brother.’ If the behaviour continues, a follow-up ‘I’ll move your brother over here to keep everyone safe.’

This sets and actions the boundary for behaviour. Once everyone is calmed down, that’s a better opportunity to teach coping skills, according to Sarah, an educator in our Senior Kindy studio from Deception Bay.

“Calm approach, sometimes for the older children, they need that time to themselves let them have their rage in a safe way, of course. There is no point in trying to get them to calm down when they are in the state they are in. It’s best to wait and then talk to them once they are ready,” she says.

Understanding those emotions

If you feel your child is old enough to have a conversation about what happened, you could follow with, ‘You seem to have a hard time not pushing, I wonder why that is?’ If they tell you what/who is bothering them, you could tell/make up a similar story and tell them how you handled it. By modelling a response to a negative feeling, parents can help children understand and regulate their emotions.

Brooke, a Schoolies educator also at our Deception Bay campus also suggests asking the child what they need in that time can help.

“Every child is different and an approach that will work with one might not necessarily work for another or might not work every time which makes things difficult,” Brooke says. “I feel like asking the children what they need in that time is a big thing in diffusing a situation, because some children could want the space, where others may need a hug to feel safe and secure.”

Hayley, an educator also at Deception Bay in our toddler studio, agrees how the situation is dealt with is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

“I would say it would depend on the situation, age group and other factors,” Hayley says. “If it’s a child that’s not going to stop, I would then definitely redirect either to a different activity or to someone that they feel more comfortable with. For example, say it’s a child from the Senior Kindy room who’s just moved up to the Kindergarten room, you could ask them, ‘hey would you like to go see (previous educator)?’ if they say yes, it removes them from the situation, and it’s the child’s choice too.”

“I also like to give them a choice when redirecting so, ‘hey I know you’re frustrated, would you like to go run outside or do you want to do some painting?”

Biting Blog

Helping to recognise others have feelings

Some experts also recommend trying to fight the impulse to force your child to apologise. Children need to focus on learning to regulate those emotions, if you’re asking more of the child by forcing an apology, it’s likely to make them more frustrated or ashamed, and they won’t do what you’re asking, and certainly won’t feel like they’re being seen. They will learn apologies in time, but we don’t want them to think ‘when I’m sad I should say sorry’ but rather ‘when I’m sad I should think about what made me sad, take deep breaths, count to 10.’

However, it’s still important for your child to understand that other people have feelings too, so you could say, rather than forcing an apology, ‘Let’s see how we can make him feel better.” By involving your child in the resolution rather than ordering them to do something, you’ll likely see better results.

Focusing on the positive behaviours

“Praise your children when they are doing something positive, even on the days it feels like all they have done is bite or hit,” Claire adds. “Soon enough they will be chasing the positive reinforcement and be replacing the negative behaviours with more positives.”

Guiding positive behaviour is a goal of Little Scholars by creating a safe environment for the children within our studios.

“This is guided by John Bowlby’s attachment theory,” explains Chloe, an educational lead at our Redland Bay South campus. Bowlby believed that the earliest bonds formed by children with their caregivers have a tremendous impact that continues throughout life.

“Every morning upon arrival, we create a warm welcome space for the children to be dropped off to. Once the children feel a sense of belonging within their learning environment, they are able to venture off and participate in the day’s learning.

“Respect and care are important parts of our day-to-day curriculum and is embedded in our learning by educating the children on their emotions identifying how they feel through use of conversation and cues, and guiding them in strategies that can assist with the way they are feeling,” she continues. “With these embedded practices, it helps to eliminate those rough behaviours.”

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Related topics

You can help bring Christmas joy to vulnerable families.

We are collecting new gifts for children (aged 0-17 years), parents and caregivers. The gifts will be distributed by Baby Give Back to families doing it tough via their network of caseworkers during December.

Only NEW Christmas gifts can be accepted.

We ask that all gift donations be made by 10th December 2021

Is my child ready for school? 

So, the questions that pop up often for a parent when their little ones are in their last year of kindergarten is; is my child ready for school, or what do I need to do to make sure my child is equipped for their school transition? These are all totally normal thoughts to have as a parent, but we can happily reassure you that at Little Scholars, we offer an extensive School Readiness Program that will give your child the life skills they need and confidence to have a successful transition to big school!

School Readiness, the National Early Years Learning Framework and Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guidelines

What we believe makes a successful transition to school is our Little Scholars School of Early Learning service and educators working in collaboration with local schools and our community to make sure we are assisting children and families with this transition. Our School Readiness Program is based on the National Early Years Learning Framework and Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guidelines, as well as we have wonderful Early Childhood Teachers who teach the children and support their learning and development hugely.

Child development and learning new skills

School readiness is about the development of the whole child – their social and emotional skills, physical skills, communication skills, and cognitive skills. For children to thrive at school, they need to learn important skills like following instructions, communicating their needs, and getting along with other children. At Little Scholars, we are truly committed to ensuring that our Little Scholars are supported and motivated in all aspects of their learning and development so that our children in their last year of Kindy are ready for that next stage of their lives.

Some key points involved in getting your child ready for their school transition and that make up our School Readiness Program are the following:

  • Regular visits from the teachers from local schools
  • Close working relationship with all local schools
  • School excursions and visits in the last term
  • Transition statements for every child
  • Lunchbox days throughout term 4
  • Uniforms in home corner.

These are all fundamental steps we teach our children in School Readiness so that they can learn a comfortable school routine and most importantly, so they can adapt to this new transition period. At Little Scholars, we want their routine to feel as normal and as exciting as possible, rather than something daunting. It is important to support the children in every way imaginable during their School Readiness program, and the most rewarding part for us is watching our Little Scholars go confidently into their next chapter, blossoming and becoming a positive contribution to our futures.

Our Little Scholars Kindergarten rooms integrate some small but very useful routines for the children which assist in getting them ready for school. We bring in programs for the children that start at 8:30 am, so we encourage you and your child to arrive before this time so they can become used to big school starts!

We focus on teaching age-appropriate independent skills in the kindergarten room – such as packing their bag, carrying their own bag, opening lunch boxes and food containers, dressing as well as emotional regulation skills.

At Little Scholars, we offer a range of stimulating extra-curricular activities that give the children a firsthand experience into the diverse range of subjects they would learn at school. These extra-curriculars include Reading Eggs program, sports and fitness program, languages program, yoga, and dance programs weekly, STEM and finger gym programs, Bush and Beach Kinder programs, and excursions and incursions.

Preparing for school at home

Wondering what else you can do with your child at home to assist in preparing them for big school? We can help with this! You can help your child develop a basic awareness of numbers by helping around the house – they could set a table and count the plates, match socks from the clothing line, or measure ingredients for baking.

It is super beneficial to read with your child as often as possible, and try talking to them about the story, point out new words and ask questions – this will help with their comprehension, vocabulary, and language skills.

Let’s say you have some free time in the afternoons, or even on the weekends, you can play games with your child like Snakes and Ladders or Go Fish! These simple games are great for practicing turn-taking, sharing, waiting, and learning to cope with not winning.

Finally, encourage your child to have conversations with you – ask them questions, listen to their answers, and encourage them to talk about what they think and feel so they can express themselves with new friends and teachers.

We are extremely happy to have you with us, if at any time you feel there is more we can do, please let us know as we are here to encourage and support your child to learn and grow in a fun, exciting, and stimulating environment.

Come and see the Little Scholars difference

Let us hold your hand and help looking for a child care centre. Leave your details with us and we’ll be in contact to arrange a time for a ‘Campus Tour’ and we will answer any questions you might have!

Come and see the Little Scholars difference

Let us hold your hand and help looking for a child care centre. Leave your details with us and we’ll be in contact to arrange a time for a ‘Campus Tour’ and we will answer any questions you might have!