Learning in Early Childhood

  • Priti Joshi
  • Subir Shukla


In this chapter, we begin by looking at principles and practices involved in enriching learning during early childhood, taking a view informed by the culture and context in which children grow. Children in the age group birth to three years benefit from sensory experiences, in particular touch and actions designed to elicit a response. Engaging and interacting with infants at home or in a crèche includes a range of spontaneous and planned activities, such as a ‘conversation’, play, song, dance and shared book reading. As children grow older and begin to explore, being an ‘assistant’ to them helps them develop autonomy. This is also the period when children’s learning is more implicit, and their explorations lay the foundation for conceptual systems, mathematics and language. Preschoolers (3–6-year olds) make the transition from home to an early childhood and/or a day-care centre. In this stage, they display more explicit learning and therefore more than direct instruction, they gain from being involved in meaningful activities that build on their agency. Their development is enhanced greatly by adults asking open-ended questions, conversing with them and supporting metacognitive skills. During the early school years (6–8 years) children make yet another transition, to formal school where they come in contact with a larger social sphere and the dominant culture in their area. In this phase, when the child is going through the pre-literacy and pre-numeracy stages, giving space to the knowledge and experience children bring to school is essential to their success in learning. A thoughtful application of the aspects that make play a valuable experience can provide adults a means of engaging children and enabling them to construct their own understanding. As children now spend a considerable part of their daily lives in formal institutions, it is also worth examining how the built environment they encounter may promote their learning.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Priti Joshi
    • 1
  • Subir Shukla
    • 2
  1. 1.Lady Irwin CollegeUniversity of DelhiNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Group IgnusNew DelhiIndia

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