The Power of Observation and Imitation in Early Development

As caregivers and teachers of young children, we have a profound responsibility to be mindful of what our students are exposed to daily. The sights and sounds they encounter, even casually, can significantly impact their burgeoning minds as they seek to understand the world. Research has repeatedly shown that early childhood experiences play a crucial role in shaping brain development, establishing behavioural patterns, and informing decision-making abilities down the road. At Angelic Treasures Christian Daycare, we aim to provide a nurturing environment focused on spiritual, emotional and intellectual growth. Considering this goal, we must consider how outside media influences can support or hinder this development.

Children from infancy through elementary school look to trusted caregivers as models for proper behaviour and judgment. They learn appropriate and inappropriate conduct through observation, imitation and reinforcement. As their logical functions come online, they internalize rules that guide selection between conflicting choices. What children witness in their daily interactions powerfully moulds the neural circuitry underlying conduct and choice. Exposure to violence, anger, unsafe behaviours and morally questionable actions can normalize such conduct in young eyes and compromise understanding of natural consequences. Alternatively, exposure to patience, kindness, responsibility and ethics fosters pro-social development.

The Impact of Media on Developing Minds

With screen time on the rise for even toddlers and preschoolers, it is crucial that parents carefully curate the TV shows, videos, apps and games their children engage with. Much of today’s media is fast-paced, over-stimulating, and aimed primarily at selling products. While educational content can benefit developing minds, exposure should be limited and monitored. Viewing that is too prolonged or involves anxiety-provoking themes has been linked to attention issues, behavioural problems and difficulties with self-regulation. It’s essential to be aware of these potential adverse effects and take steps to mitigate them. Positive alternatives focused on nurturing curiosity, creativity, and problem-solving are ideal. We encourage families to seek out media and activities that foster wonder in nature, empathy for others and appreciation for community virtues.

Creating a Nurturing Learning Environment

Here at our daycare, we take a balanced approach to media exposure. We strive to balance active indoor and outdoor free play with more structured learning times focused on pre-academic skills, social-emotional growth and religious principles. Music, art and stories are also incorporated throughout the day. With younger ages, we keep screens out of daily activities and instead offer open-ended toys, books and interactions that support language development and imaginative role play. For older grades, limited educational videos or virtual field trips may, on rare occasions, complement our lessons when purposefully selected. However, non-screen activities and social engagement are always emphasized as most valuable for young minds. This approach ensures that children are exposed to media in a controlled and beneficial manner, fostering their overall development.

Guiding Spiritual and Character Development at Angelic Treasures

Together with parents, we at Angelic Treasures Christian Daycare aim to help children establish wise judgment, conscience and spiritual direction from an early age. Protecting their sensitivity to influence and exposure allows character to unfold in a protected setting. By being vigilant yet balanced in what they see, hear, and engage in daily, we can guide them toward discerning choices aligned with goodness, truth, and their divine nature. With compassion and care, the seeds of faith, wisdom and integrity planted now in impressionable souls will bear abundant fruit for years.