What is your early years superpower?
Do you struggle to find your own ‘superpower’? If so, please don’t worry – you can do this! As an early years educator, you are already a superhero in my book.
Let’s hone in on your very own early years educator superpower.
- Do you provide opportunities for your little ones to make their own decisions and solve problems independently?
- Do you promote an environment that fosters a sense of autonomy, self-confidence, and self-belief for your little ones?
- Do you enjoy creating an environment that encourages imagination and creativity?
If you answered Yes to these questions, then you are an EMPOWERER!
An EMPOWERER means you possess the holy grail of all educator’s superpowers. You understand the importance of giving children the tools to navigate the world around them. This is not just about giving the children the freedom to explore and learn independently, it’s about being patient and empathetic towards your little ones, adapting to their different learning styles and abilities, and recognising the power of play for learning and development.
But how do you become a superhero?
Here is a very simple 10-point list to help you become an Early Years Superhero using imagination and creative roleplay:
- Understand Child Development
Familiarise yourself with all the developmental stages of early childhood. Different ages have different needs cognitively and emotionally.
- Select Engaging Themes
Observe your children and develop their interests by capturing their imagination as you enhance their learning. If your children are dressing up as pirates develop the fun by walking the plank together. The perfect combination of physical literacy, imagination, communication and of course, fun. Who doesn’t like walking the plank?
- Create a Play Space
Designate a safe and comfortable area where there is enough space for role play to take place.
- Open-ended resources
Ensure they can easily access open-ended resources, costumes, and accessories, to enhance their play.
- Storytelling and Scenarios
Encourage your children to create their ideas and solutions within the narrative.
- Develop Communication Skills
Promote their language development by asking open-ended questions, introducing new vocabulary, and fostering communication among the children. Create a language-rich environment through play.
- Social and Emotional Development
Role play is a wonderful way to model and encourage sharing, cooperation, and empathy. Encourage the children to take turns leading, taking turns, and working together in their imaginative role-play.
- Incorporate the Early Learning Goals
Creative, language-enriched, role-play is a wonderful way of underpinning early learning goals for all children.
Recognise and praise your children’s creativity and problem-solving skills during role-play. Encourage them to express unique ideas and validate their play by joining in the fun as the Teacher in Role.
- Adaptability is Key!
Pay close attention to your children’s interests and responses to activities. Adapt role-play based on their engagement, and needs.
The key to becoming an Early Years Superhero through creative role-play is to create a fun and supportive environment that validates their play. Enabling them to explore, learn, and grow to be curious and use their imaginations.
If your team is not feeling too confident in their own Superhero abilities here are a few activities that could help them get on the road to Superhero status.
Creative Scenario Brainstorming
Dedicate some time during team meetings to brainstorm creative role-play scenarios for the children. Present specific challenges and early learning goals to encourage your team to devise imaginative solutions. Encourage collaboration and resourcefulness as we want to help them think outside the box.
Arrange a role-play exchange between your team. Each member of the team creates and leads a role-play activity outside their own comfort zone and area of expertise. This challenges your team to think creatively about how to engage the children in imaginative play. After the exchange, encourage your team to discuss what they learned and how it could influence their future role-play activities with the children.
These 2 simple activities can help your team develop their creativity and innovation which in turn, enhances the learning experiences of all the children in your setting.
Are you up for some festive role-play?
Here is a little Christmas-themed role-play for your children and team – have fun!
Set up a Santa’s workshop play area with tools, stuffed animals, and small and large boxes for wrapping. Let your children and team become Santa’s little helpers. Wrap presents, fix toys, and load up Santa’s sleigh. Don’t forget you could even weigh, measure and chop carrots for Rudolph and friends. This activity will encourage creativity, social interaction, communication, maths, and fine motor skill development.
Create a mini bakery with cookie dough that you make together. This will develop their maths by measuring and weighing ingredients. Set out rolling pins, flour, cookie cutters, and baking trays. Bake the real cookies in the oven. If you don’t have access to an oven, make playdough cookies and create a cardboard box oven – these cookies never burn! Then the bakery elves can decorate developing their fine motor skills, creativity, and of course imagination.
Children and adults dress in festive attire with musical instruments ranging from shakers to bells and drums. You can always get the trusty triangle out! Sing holiday songs together and then let them create their festive tunes. This encourages social interaction, creativity, and language development as they explore music and singing.