The Influence of Environment on Learning of Children
It is during these early stages when children brains develop synapses that can be used to form strong connections with the environment. In this regard, the lack of appropriate surroundings during the childhood stage brain alterations that will negatively influence the learning and development of a child. Basically, the environment within which a child grows plays a significant role in ensuring that the brain develops in the right way. The Reggio Emilia is a prominent approach that is used in the education of young children. A closer evaluation the approach showcases that the educators have been seriously influenced by theorists such as John Dewey, Lev Vygotsky, among other theorists of childhood development and philosophers. This is because Dewey’s system and approach emphasized the needs and interests of the child.
According to his views, the child should be allowed to explore their interests and environment. Moreover, his belief was centered on an inter-disciplinary curriculum or rather, a curriculum the focused on numerous subjects where the children have the freedom of freely moving in and out of learning centers based on their interests. In this way, children would have the capacity to construct their own methods of gaining and acquiring knowledge. In this paper, we will discuss the two theorists, John Dewey and Lev Vygotsky, particularly on the importance of the environment in influencing children development. However, this is not considered as a fact in isolation but with the environment, which comprises of the family, children, teachers, and the surrounding community. In this regard, the approach perceives each school as a system that established mutual relationships and is supported by the system itself.
In addition, the approach affirms the fact that all children have interests when engaging in relationships and have the ability to create their own process of learning as they relate to the people and things around them. Reggio Emilia views educators and children as partners in the learning process. It is assumed that a strong image of the child must correspond with a strong image of the teacher. Moreover, children could learn important scientific concepts as they watered and cared for the plants. The basis of Dewey doctrine closely relates to the approach of Reggio Emilia in schooling. His theory was based on three main concepts that influence the learning of young children. First, Dewey proposed that education is interconnected with everyday life, not a separate entity.
Second, he concluded that children learn best when they are engaged in the process of doing, by interacting with the environment, which included their peers, parents, and teachers as well as the day-to-day activities. Such interactions include those with their parents, instructors, peers, and siblings. Moreover, the relationships proposed by Vygotsky include the interaction with other objects such as toys, books, cultural practices, and beliefs, among other things and activities. In these interactions, children participate actively in the process of creating knowledge as they develop their abilities and attitudes towards certain issues (Christy, 2013). Vygotsky strongly opposed the concepts from psychologists of his time who held the view that the development of children occurs as a spontaneous activity. One clear supposition of his theory is that adults within the society foster the cognitive development in children through intentional and systematic manner.
Therefore, the learning of the children is supported by both formal and informal interactions and the knowledge conveyed by adults based on the culture and how they act in particular circumstances. The linguistic and thought patterns of the child become more independent during the first initial years of life. Moreover, Vygotsky concluded that the children are capable of carrying out the more complex task when they are supported by people who have advanced skills in the particular trade. Through play, the children are able to stretch their cognitive abilities and enable them to take on roles that they could not undertake in real life situations. These propositions closely relate to the Reggio Emilia approach to teaching students. Lindsay, G. Reflections in the mirror of Reggio Emilia’s soul: John Dewey’s foundational influence on pedagogy in the Italian educational project.
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