Since the early 1900s research findings document that humans learn by exploring our environment. Providing a clean, open space for children to move in safely is the best way childcare centers and teachers can encourage the child’s development. If there is ample space and time for the child to move freely, the role of the adult can be simply that of observer, narrator, and guide. Offering safe, colorful balls and objects at floor level, eye level, sitting, and standing levels motivates the child to roll, scooch, crawl, walk, run, climb, reach, and grasp–movements that activate the brain. Letting children achieve these milestones and then enthusiastically naming and acknowledging their efforts builds self-esteem and independence.
Shifts in priorities for children have resulted in crowded learning spaces, insufficient teacher education in children’s movement and play, and top-down mandates that often create conflicting priorities for Early Childhood (ECE) educators. Luna partners with ECE centers, districts, and agencies to help establish environments conducive to children’s neuro-development. Our work includes needs assessment, professional development, side-by-side model teaching, strategic planning, and advice about using space well. Partner teachers become confident in recognizing children’s spontaneous learning during play, they learn to extend children’s play and movement ideas, become adept at infusing their circle and story times with children’s dynamic movement ideas, and gain skills in observing students’ strengths.
Luna has partnered with Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Oakland, Berkeley, and Alameda; with Oakland Unified and Berkeley Unified School Districts; with Marin County Office of Education Early Learning; with San Francisco Ballet Dance in Schools and Communities and Asian Women’s Center, San Francisco. Luna faculty served as experts as California developed the Preschool Learning Foundations.