All children are born with emotional talent. But if left untended, those talents can wane during the first five years of life. Children are sensitive and social beings from birth, exhibiting an innate enthusiasm for communication that must be satisfied for healthy development. If their feelings, agency, and motivations are met with affection, if they are respected and nurtured, then children will respond creatively and that inherent desire for companionship will
However, with the recent changes in political and educational systems, early years education has seen a decline in focus on the emotional wellbeing of children and the development of their creativity. Those systems need to adapt if educators are to bring out the best in our future generations. By nurturing creativity and emotional wellbeing in the first five years of life, long term social benefits can be wrought.
The book focusses on children's readiness for learning. It addresses the natural joy explicit in children's early conversations and engagement with music and their development through play with both adults and other children. This kind of education allows children to develop their bodies and skills, accept and understand their feelings, build relationships, and progress both their imagination and their problem solving skills. In this way, play with others drives development.
With contributors from the fields of psychological, educational, and political spheres, this book will be of interest to anyone concerned for the future of our children.
Colwyn Trevarthen studies how infants communicate. His work supports parents, teachers and therapists to give care and companionship to all children, including those suffering loneliness, shame, or disorders such as autism and depressive illness. He describes the talents of young children as a gift to the community, exploring how 'musicality' in movement communicates joy in play and story-telling. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Member of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters, a Vice-President of the British Association for Early Childhood Education, and Advisor at the Research Base, Pen Green Centre for Under Fives and Families in Corby. Jonathan Delafield-Butt is a developmental psychologist whose research examines the early origins of human experience and its embodied and emotional foundations. He researched brain development at Edinburgh, and infant and child development at Edinburgh and Copenhagen. He held scholarships at Harvard and the Institute for Advanced Studies at Edinburgh for science-philosophy bridgework on the mind-body relation. He trained pre-clinically in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and contributes to development in infant mental health. His work addresses principles of best practice in support of the social and emotional lives young children in education and clinical care, with attention to those with autism spectrum disorder. He is Reader in Child Development and Director of the Laboratory for Innovation in Autism. In her current role, Aline-Wendy has chosen to focus her research and writing interests on educational transitions, children's learning journeys, family engagement in education and practitioner identities, beliefs and practices. She also contributes to PG student supervision. She believes passionately in the importance of the Early Years in Scotland and is widely published. She is the Scottish Project Coordinator for the Scottish Transitions as a Tool for Change Project and CI the 'Child and Family Transitions: the role of childminders'; 'Autism and Film Literacies Project'; 'Narratives of Educational Transitions: A Longitudinal Study 3-18'. In 2013 Aline-Wendy was awarded an MBE for services to early childhood and autism in Scotland. She is a Vice-President of Early Education.