5 Priority Practices from the Early Learning Lab


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Early learning professionals know that positive interactions between children and their caregivers are crucial to children’s wellbeing and ability to thrive. But do we know what these interactions really look like? 

The Early Learning Lab, an Oakland-based organization that sources and shares techniques to help children 0-5 learn and grow to be kindergarten-ready, has collaborated with researchers and program implementers to identify five priority practices. These five evidenced-based practices, listed below, can serve as top-of-mind guidelines for educators and caregivers engaging in quality interactions with young children.  The chart below offers examples of specific interactions that work well with young children.  (Click here to visit the Early Learning Lab website and view the full article.)

  1. Provide rich learning activities that build on the child’s interest: Create a world of wonder by knowing what a child is excited about – extend learning using natural interests. 

  2. Read, sing, and tell stories: Use a variety of sounds, words, melodies, and rhythms to “bathe” or immerse children in language.

  3. Know the stage of a child’s development and what comes next: Offer just the right amount of practice and challenge. 

  4. Create nurturing relationships and use positive guidance: Provide warmth and support, teach positive behavior, and prevent rather than punish challenging behaviors.

  5. Be responsive and expand verbal and non-verbal communication: Build connections in a child’s brain through back and forth turn-taking, which supports language development and healthy bonds.


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