Theory of Teaching and Learning: The Role of Teachers

Day Early Learning’s Theory of Teaching and Learning is the foundation for how we accomplish our mission to prepare children to thrive in Kindergarten and beyond. Everything we do is aimed at nurturing each child’s social, emotional and educational needs. Our ultimate goal is not only to prepare children for kindergarten, but also to inspire a lifelong learning journey.

How Do Teachers Influence
a Child’s Ability to Learn?


At Day Early Learning, we believe the foundation to a lifelong love of learning for a child begins with nurturing relationships with their teachers. Our teachers work to build a strong, trusting relationship with each child and develop partnerships with families.

Our teachers implement instructional practices that respond to the evolving learning needs of children. Teachers strike a balance between child-initiated and adult-initiated activities, fostering a rich learning environment that includes a variety of experiences across all developmental domains. 

What Makes an Early Learning Environment Successful?

Educators that nurture and stimulate learning are an integral part of a child’s holistic development, fostering their cognitive, social, and emotional growth. There are six key elements to optimize learning in the classroom: 

  • Relationships: Responsive and caring relationships establish the secure base from which children can explore the world.
  • Understanding Context: Each child must be understood within the context of their individual family, community and experiences.
  • Positivity: Each child’s positive attributes are identified and recognized.
  • Play: Play is crucial to children’s physical, intellectual and social development.
  • Access to Resources: Each child has access to the educational resources they need to thrive.
  • Predictable Context: Each child thrives in the context of predictable relationships, routines and actions.

Teachers Should:

Create caring classroom communities for learning

  • Establish warm and responsive relationships that allow each child to feel recognized, acknowledged and secure
  • Share decision making with children about classroom rules, planning activities and group celebrations
  • Stay attuned and responsive to the needs of all children
  • Plan and implement hands-on activities that develop positive self-esteem and social skills
  • Support children’s friendships by helping them learn to take turns, listen to one another and provide comfort when needed

Have deep understanding of child development and use observational knowledge to interpret, adjust, refine and redirect their practice

  • Actively seek out and apply ongoing evidence-based professional learning that increases understanding of child development and maintains a fresh perspective on learning in the early years
  • Conduct and document regular objective observations to track growth and development and individualize learning
  • Focus practice on identified learning outcomes, the ELI Six Essentials and the Indiana Early Learning Foundations
  • Participate in teaching and learning feedback loops

Implement instructional practices that are responsive to the evolving learning needs of children

  • Understand and utilize curricula, consistently extending learning to support growth and development and expand on curiosities
  • Consistently use daily observations, anecdotes and student work product to design differentiated instruction that supports, challenges and introduces the next developmental steps
  • Plan and implement a variety of experiences that promote learning across all developmental domains
  • Encourage children to think, reason, question and experiment; build skills for children to explain their thinking
  • Provide a balance between child-initiated and adult-initiated, active and quiet, fine-motor and large-motor, and indoor and outdoor activities
  • Promote sound health, safety and nutritional practices
  • Use a variety of media and technology to enrich the curriculum and extend learning

Design stimulating environments that enhance development and learning, responding to the needs, tendencies and interests of each child

  • Thoughtfully and purposefully select materials, spaces and processes to support children’s needs, interests and questions
  • Provide the space, time and support for children to make multiple attempts at success
  • Ensure active supervision of children at all times, interacting with children in all learning spaces (indoors and outdoors)
  • Create and utilize displays to recognize and enhance the children’s learning experience

Understand the effects of stress and adversity, implement tools and techniques to buffer the impact

  • Establish safe, nurturing and predictable classroom rhythms and routines
  • Model and incorporate components of well-being into daily routines
  • Facilitate children’s ability to identify feelings, describe problems, negotiate differences and generate solutions

Empower children to develop curiosities, initiative, risk-taking and a sense of accomplishment

  • Encourage conversation by asking open-ended questions
  • Use observations and assessments to scaffold classroom activities
  • Build leadership in children through individual decision making

Everyone in our Day Early Learning centers empowers children with essential skills.

Our teachers help build essential skills and core knowledge.