The science of reality and imagination
The belief in fantastical figures like Santa Claus is understood to be a normal and healthy part of development, allowing children to exercise their imagination. As they grow older, usually around 7, they naturally discern these fanciful narratives from reality.
Context and experience play significant roles in this development. As children grow, they gather information from their environment and experiences, which shapes their understanding of what’s real and what’s not. Another study supports this concept, showing that children rely heavily on context and cues from adults to navigate the complex world of reality and fiction.
Nurturing healthy understanding
With this in mind, here are some simple activities that we as childminders can do or set up in order to support our little ones’ understanding. You’ll likely be doing them already, but we hope this list will provide food for thought on why they’re important and act as a starting point for you to develop new and engaging ways to enhance their grasp of what’s real and what’s not.
1. Storytelling with a twist
Understanding the difference between reality and fiction is a complex cognitive leap for children. As childminders, our role in guiding this journey is vital. By intertwining reality-based activities with elements of imagination, we can create a balanced learning environment that both stimulates and educates.
Remember, every question a child asks, whether about a fantastical creature or a real-life bug, is a step toward understanding the vast world around them. Let’s cherish and nurture these moments of wonder and discovery, and as we answer a gazillion questions each day, enjoy occasionally doing our own learning along the way!