O'Connor, D. (2012). Pedagogies and policies of impediment: How a lack of connectivity is a barrier to learning within early years education. ICERI2012,, 1076-1082.
Connectivity is a multi-faceted concept. It relates to three main central pillars of early years learning. These are; the inter-personal connections between educators and children, the connections between the children themselves and the connectivity to learning that exists within each individual child. The interpersonal connections, whether they are between the children and their educator or peer to peer are important because their level of positivity leaves the child either free to learn or unable to progress. If there is a lack of positive inter-personal connectivity within a child’s central relationships, they are unable to focus on anything else to any degree of productivity. Amiable and connected relationships free a child to learn unhindered. For this reason, the educator must be very connected to the inner worlds of all the children in their group. They must be mindful, aware, reflective and caring, creating an environment where the children feel loved and valued. This is not simply good practice from a perspective of care, although that too is important, it is also of vital importance from an education perspective. Freedom from feelings of unconnectedness and anxiety about the implications and ramifications of a negative interpersonal relationship leaves a child uninhibited to engage productively in their own learning journey.
Equally important is the child’s inner connectivity to their learning journey. This too requires both an informed and mindful pedagogical approach as well as national educational policies that are knowledgeable and supportive of the way young children learn. Young children learn in a connected and integrated way. Their main vehicle for learning is play. Rich play experiences should incorporate the full sensory gauntlet. Sensory learning is cellular learning. In the early years, sensory integrated learning creates a powerful vehicle for connected learning experiences that have a formidable impact on foundational learning for important educational skills such as numeracy and literacy. Pedagogies and policies which seek to deliver universal educational goals such as numeracy and literacy skills to children under age six without due consideration of the principle of connectivity within the child’s inner learning journey will ultimately impede and potentially damage the child’s ability to reach those very educational goals.
primary school, teacher student relationship, student peer relationship, holistic education, child-centred, empowerment