Make Summer Your Opportunity for Fun Learning

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Summer is here but that does not mean learning stops! The beauty about learning is that it is lifelong, constant and it happens even when we are least aware of it. Children are naturally curious about the world around them and every interaction with your child is a learning opportunity. Why not take the opportunity this summer to continue your child’s learning in some fun and interesting ways.

Play-based Learning

You may think you’re just playing with your child but in fact, what you are doing is teaching them valuable skills and knowledge. Play-based learning can be seen as learning through play. It is a familiar concept in early childhood settings where young children’s learning and development are fostered through play.[1] Play is important to children’s development, besides being fun, play helps to develop children’s reasoning, language, physical, social and emotional skills.[2] A simple game with building blocks teaches children mathematical concepts, the nature of the physical world and how to manipulate their environment, which are early foundations for science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) knowledge.[3]

Summer provides a great opportunity for families to relax and enjoy each other’s company and that involves play. Play is not only good for children, it is also great for adults. The benefits of play for adults include relieving stress, making you happy and strengthening your relationships[4]. Research shows that people who engage in play have stronger relationships and are less likely to be involved in criminal activities[5].

Tips for Play and Learning this Summer

Now that we know some of the benefits of play for children and adults, here are a few tips for play this summer:

  1. Hide and Seek – this traditional game is always a hit with children. It involves physical activities and lots of imagination. Who is better at finding the hiding spots in the house and around the yard – you or your children?!
  2. Peekaboo – babies love this one! Engage your baby by covering your face with a blanket or both of your hands for a few seconds. When you reveal your face, you say “Peekaboo!” The Peekaboo game helps babies as they develop object permanence, which is the knowledge that things still exist even when they are not in sight[6].
  3. Ludi – the main board game in many Jamaican homes, is a great game for both children and adults to enjoy. Ludi is a very strategic game that helps with problem-solving which is necessary to beat your opponents and early Mathematics skills for deciding your moves when you throw the dice.
  4. Dominoes – another board game staple for Jamaican family gatherings, Dominoes is a fun game that both children and parents can play. Similar to Ludi, Dominoes involve the critical thinking, strategic moves and Mathematics skills needed to beat your opponents.
  5. Water Play – this play activity is full of fun and helps children stay cool in summer. Besides that, water play presents opportunities for science and Maths learning. During water play, children can learn about the nature of things, what will sink or float. Mathematical concepts such as quantity can be learnt too – full, half-full or empty, less/more and same/different.[7]

Of course, there are lots more fun play activities that you and your children can get involved in that will continue learning this summer. Tell us about some of your play and learn activities in the Comments section!








Be the influence: Show Love, Show Empathy, Show Respect

As we continue to celebrate Parent’s Month, we will take a closer look at the theme “Be the Influence-Show love, show empathy, show respect”- These are some of the ways that parents can make a positive impact on their children’s lives and help them to become emotionally stable adults.

Show Love

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Do you remember the first time you laid eyes on your child? Just remembering that moment with your little bundle of joy is delightful, such an amazing feeling isn’t it? This basically sums up the way most parents feel about their children. Although we love our children endlessly, life has a way of getting so busy that we forget to show our children how much we love them. Showing love to your children is essential to their development because it builds their self-esteem, improve their academic performance, improve your communication with them and reduces behavioural problems.  Given the benefits of showing love to children, here are some tips on how to show love to your children everyday:

  • Hug and kiss children daily and remember to say “I love you”
  • Praise your children for something that they’ve worked hard for
  • Set a special time for family to get together and have fun
  • Schedule regular play-time with children.

Show Empathy

Image result for parents showing empathy to children

Children are “little people” that have their own thoughts and feelings, which sometimes are overlooked by adults. As parents, it is our duty to reassure our children that they are not alone and we are here to listen to them.We do this by “putting ourselves in their shoes”. We make their feelings, our feelings and their fears, our fears. When we are able to do that, it shows our children that we completely understand them and they are not alone.This also helps to build a trusting and secure parent-child relationship and teaches our children to have empathy for others. Some of the ways we can show empathy to children include:

  • Allow your children to express their feelings without fear of being punished or ridiculed
  • Understanding your child feelings and let them know those feelings are real, do not dismiss them
  • Repeat what they have said to you the way they said it, this shows you are listening.

Show Respect

respect children

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“Respect works both ways”?, I am sure you have heard this saying before. The lesson from this has stayed with me throughout my life. Many adults do not recognize that they have a responsibility to be respectful to children. As parents it is necessary that we show respect to our children so that they will learn to be respectful to themselves and others. But you may ask, how can I be respectful to my children? Some ways parents can show respect to their children are:

  • Allow your children to speak for themselves
  • Allow your children to speak without interruptions
  • Appreciate your children’s individuality
  • Listen to your children’s views.

After reading this article you might have thought of other ways that you can be the influence in your children’s life.                                                                                                                                            Please share your thoughts in the comment section, and follow us for notification on our upcoming Christmas posts. 


LaRowe, M. (n.d). 4 Tangible Ways to show your child you love him. Retrieved from

Morin, A. (2014). The importance of showing love empathy to kids who learn and think differently. Retrieved from

Taylor, J. (2010). Parenting: Respect Starts at home. Retrieved from

The ECC is bringing the 1st 1000 Days to Your Mobile Phone!

The 1st 1000 days of a child’s life…. sounds familiar? Certainly, it is not a new concept. It is the concept that is now guiding early childhood development research and practices world-wide. But what exactly are the 1st 1000 days?

Global researchers and experts in child development have described the 1st 1000 days as an important period of the child’s development when the foundations of physical, socio-emotional and neurological development are established. This period includes the nine months of pregnancy through to the first two years of a child’s life.

Why are the 1st 1000 days so important?

The 1st 1000 days are marked by rapid changes and development. In the brain, the formation of neural pathways is a special feature of this period. The brain, structured by these neural pathways, is important for the child’s cognitive functions, physical growth and socio-emotional development. These changes and development during those crucial weeks of pregnancy, are preparing the baby for life outside the womb. Although babies are born “pre-wired”, optimal development is not a given but is dependent on the baby’s carers and environment.

Did you know that babies are born with the capacity to understand any language spoken to them?  However, as children grow and their linguistic abilities are influenced by the language(s) they are exposed to, they gradually lose their multi-lingual capability. Not that you cannot become multi-lingual later on in life – it’s just more difficult to learn a new language, let alone many.

Why the 1st 1000 Days App?

The example above shows us how important it is for us to know and understand the basics of child development and what we need to do to support our children as they grow and develop. Parents are the gate-keepers of our society and as such the family is considered the first institution for every human being. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “the hands that rock the cradle, rule the world.” However powerful they are in their role as care-givers, parents can sometimes feel powerless to effectively execute that role. Like every institution, the family needs support. As the agency that is responsible for early childhood, it is our mandate to ensure that all Jamaica’s children are provided with the opportunities that will facilitate their optimal develop. The 1st 1000 Days App is one aspect of our expression of this mandate. We will harness technology to support parents, in the comfort of their homes and in their free time, to provide them with the resources they need to strengthen their parenting skills and improve their knowledge of child development. This is a new approach to supporting parents and bringing to them the information they need.

More about the App

The App will be interactive and user friendly, targeting parents across the socio-economic landscape. As far as we know, it is the first of its kind, anywhere!

The App will feature resources and parenting tips, information on child development, child profiles with vaccination schedules, push notification and reminders for clinic appointments and much more. This App is the start of something new, a new frontier in parent support and we will not stop at the first 1000 days. While we are launching with the first 1000 days, the App will be updated with other stages of early childhood so that it will continue to be useful to parents beyond those early days.