An ideal learning approach is a holistic early childhood practice, model, or tradition that supports all young children’s growth and development. These approaches share several core philosophical and theoretical beliefs about high-quality early learning — the Principles of ideal learning — that paint a vision for what children need to grow and thrive. The principles are influenced by developmental science and built on the central idea that children are born learning. You can also use them at home to facilitate your child’s growth and development through daily routines, play, and interactions.

Because children are born learning, any environment can become an ideal learning environment — especially at home.

From your child’s birth through their early childhood years, you can bring the principles of ideal learning to life at home. Here are resources from members of the ideal learning roundtable that can help you build playful, relational learning into your daily routine.


AVANCE

AVANCE started in 1972 as a mother-infant Program in Dallas, and believes that parents are their child’s first and most important teachers and that home is the first classroom. Hence they empower parents with the tools to nurture and care for their children and create ideal learning environment that helps their children reach their full potential.

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Bank Street

Bank Street, founded in 1916 by Lucy Sprague Mitchell, is informed by the work of educational theorist John Dewey. Bank Street is centered on the belief that children learn best when they are engaged with their surroundings and are able to make meaning of the world around them. At home, you can approach everyday routine through active exploration with people, materials, food, ideas, and the environment.

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Friends Center for Children

Knowing that children develop with ease when the adults surrounding them are partners in learning, Friends Center works closely with families, who are actively engaged to understand their children’s growth and contribute their love and talent to the community.

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HighScope

Through active, playful learning, HighScope’s approach supports cognitive, problem-solving, and social-emotional skills. At home parents can facilitate optimal development through enriching family learning activities.

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Montessori

Montessori emphasizes the critical role of the prepared environment and the power of exploration. Your role as a parent is to be the dynamic link between your child and their environment, fostering independence and building confidence, using observation to guide their learning.

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New Haven ChILD

New Haven Children’s Ideal Learning District (NH ChILD) is a place-based ideal learning district, where partners across the community are working to create high-quality learning experiences for every child. If you live in or near New Haven, please get involved to support both your child and every child.

LEARN MORE ABOUT NH CHILD

Reggio Emilia-inspired

At the center of the Reggio Emilia-inspired approach is a strong image of the child: social from birth, rich with humanity, and full of intelligence, curiosity, and wonder. You can encourage your child to explore the home environment and to construct, express, and negotiate their understandings through multiple paths and all their symbolic “languages,” such as movement, drawing, painting, building, sculpture, dramatic play, numeracy, and music.

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Tools of the Mind

Learning how to learn is important at Tools of the Mind

Executive functions and self-regulation are underlying mental processes that allow us to plan, intentionally focus, sustain or shift attention as needed, remember on purpose, and manage how much energy we put into a task. At home, your child can develop these skills through engagement in intentional make-believe play, creating a strong foundation for learning.

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Waldorf

Waldorf education focuses on how to best support each child’s growth towards their unique potential. You can foster your child’s development at home through play, conversation, hands-on experience, story, and a range of artistic expressions.

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