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The benefits of colour in early years

It is known that a baby is born with monochrome vision and unable to distinguish the difference between colours. However young children’s brains are stimulated by bright colours — it grabs their attention and feeds their curious minds. It is not until around 8 months when their colour vision is fully developed and by 3-4 years, a child can begin to recognise and name basic colours.
Aside from being aesthetically pleasing to a child, how do you think it can colour benefit a child’s early years development? Infinite Playgrounds, educational play area designers, have provided us with more of an insight. 

 The benefits of colour
Depending on age there are many benefits of a child’s exposure to colour.
Babies begin to notice bright colours at 8 months and this stimulates their minds. It is important to expose a baby to different shades of the same colour because it can help them make important colour connections early on in life. It is not recommended to surround them with the same primary colours. Experts have said that showing patterns to a baby is important as it provides visual and cognitive stimulation for a growing baby as they focus on what they can see.
It is important that a child can differentiate between colours and know their appropriate names, down to the different hues (navy blue, sky blue). Learning these colours allows them to recognise significant visual hues such as red as a code for danger and the meaning behind traffic lights. It is useful outside of the curriculum too — knowing the difference between a red and a blue coloured tap.
Being able to know the different colours helps with their speaking, reading and writing skills too. Describing an object without saying its colour is difficult! Similarly, when they are exercising their imagination when creating a story, colour is an important part of descriptive techniques.
Research has proven that colour can impact moods, wellbeing, productivity and behaviour. Some experts claim that different colours enhance learning in different ways:
·         Blue — a colour that encourages creativity, if overused however, it can bring the mood down in a room. A cool blue enhances relaxation levels in individuals.
·         Yellow — a colour of happiness for children as it is associated with sunshine. This can lift the mood and excite a child due to its vibrant appearance.
·         Orange — this is said to enhance critical thinking and memory.
A colourful classroom is more enjoyable for a teacher too, giving them various colours to refer to when teaching and creating an overall pleasurable place to work. Research has shown that colours are more memorable than monochrome too — a bright and colourful classroom makes new learned experiences stick in the mind.

How to introduce colour into teaching

Learning about and being surrounded by colour is beneficial for many. From introducing games based on colour , decorating your classroom there are a lot of ways that you can incorporate colours into the classroom.
For outdoor learning, consider colourful playground canopies and parasols. These can sit over areas of a playground, allowing the sun to shine through and create many colourful patterns for the children to enjoy. Pupils can  have fun traceing shadows of the patterns on the floor with chalk and learn how they move throughout the day with the sun.
Inspire a conversation about cultural differences and diversity with colour. Talk about how colours have different meanings in various countries, for example red signifies good luck in China and green is a colour of independence for Mexicans. Encourage children to use colour to create their own national flags and teach them about flags from the whole world.
For younger children, encourage sensory developments with colourful playmats and toys. Research has highlighted the importance of messy play too — where children can take part in an unstructured play and get their hands dirty! Let them play with brightly coloured foodstuff such as jelly and develop their fine motor skills too.
There are simple ten-minute games that you could add to the end of any lesson too. How about colour eye-spy, colour matching memory games or presenting coloured flashcards and encouraging pupils to name them.

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