How Does Learning Happen?

What does How Does Learning Happen?

mean for program quality?

The term quality means different things to different people. In How Does Learning Happen?, quality refers to the kinds of programs that, according to research and practice from around the world, contribute to positive experiences and outcomes for children.

The term pedagogy refers to the process of understanding and supporting learning.

Pedagogical approaches that support quality programs are those that:

build positive and responsive relationships.

focus on children’s social, emotional, physical, creative, and cognitive development in a holistic way.

provide environments in which children learn through exploration, play, and inquiry.

encourage self-reflection, discussion, and ongoing collaboration and learning among educators

engage with families, and value their strengths, contributions, and unique perspectives.

use pedagogical documentation to study, interpret, make visible, and help inform children’s learning and development.

These pedagogical approaches support children as they learn along a developmental continuum and allow for smoother transitions from one program to another – for example, from childcare and family support programs to kindergarten, elementary school, and beyond.

How Does Learning Happen? sets out goals for children and expectations for programs, organized around four foundations that are central to children’s learning and growth. The goals for children provide a basis for thinking about and creating the kinds of environments and experiences that are meaningful for children. They are not meant to measure children’s development but rather to guide practice. The expectations for programs provide ideas and examples of ways in which programs can move towards realizing the goals for children.

Foundations Goals for Children Expectations for Programs HiMamma Enablement


Every child has a sense of belonging when he or she is connected to others and contributes to their world.
Early childhood programs cultivate authentic, caring relationships and connections to create a sense of belonging among and between children, adults, and the world around them.
HiMama enables connections between home and the early childhood program, invites families to participate in children’s experiences, and builds trusting partnerships with families.


Every child is developing a sense of self, health, and well-being.
Early childhood programs nurture children’s healthy development and support their growing sense of self.
HiMama enables educators to observe patterns in children’s health and provide consistency in patterns of eating, physical activity, and sleep.


Every child is an active and engaged learner who explores the world with body, mind, and senses.
Early childhood programs provide environments and experiences to engage children in active, creative, and meaningful exploration, play, and inquiry.
HiMama enables educators to plan environments and experiences slightly in advance of children’s current capabilities to provoke learning


Every child is a capable communicator who expresses himself or herself in many ways.
Early childhood programs foster communication and expression in all forms.
HiMama enables educators to document children’s communication to revisit thoughts and ideas expressed and foster further expression.