How Children Learn?
By Shelley Ruiz
Nurture and Teach
The single most important thing caregivers can do for a child is
provide a nurturing environment. By doing this, we influence
children's brain development and their ability to learn.
Introducing nurtured children to learning opportunities every day
will help them become happy, well-adjusted adults. In all stages of
child development, each experience builds on the one before it. The
most basic foundations can serve as the basis for the comprehension
of more complex ideas in future years.
Learning Begins at Birth
We are born with billions of brain cells – in fact, all we will
ever have. What is missing is a large amount of connections –
synapses – between those brain cells. Synapses start developing
based on a child's experiences. Children's brains develop faster
from birth to age three than any other time; and more learning takes
place during this time than any other. The more learning
opportunities parents provide for their children from birth until
school age, the more synapses are made. The connections will serve
as a pool of knowledge for a child to access in later years.
Because children's earliest experiences affect how they will
think, learn and behave, helping children learn from birth to school
age is a crucial activity. Parents and other caregivers can create a
strong foundation for learning by providing a nurturing and rich
learning environment from the very beginning.
Children Seek Learning Experiences
Not only do children need to be physically active, it is their
nature to look for opportunities to learn. They participate in
learning by using their senses and asking countless questions in
order to more fully understand the task at hand.
Creating a Learning Environment
Children enjoy learning when they can master an activity. Begin
with a simple task and expand or complicate it after your child has
enjoyed some successes.
Create a safe and secure learning environment. This will help
children do their best learning rather than distract them. Key to
creating this environment is treating your child with respect and
Where Do Children Learn?
Children learn everywhere from school to the doctor's office to
the grocery store. As do adults, children learn from interacting
with others and watching their parents' behavior. Kids are highly
influenced by the people in their lives, especially adults who they
are close to.
Not All Children Learn in the Same Way
In the book Frame of Mind, Howard Gardner described his theory of
multiple intelligences. We all have a certain way we prefer to
learn. The seven multiple intelligences Gardner points to are
interpersonal, intrapersonal, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, musical,
logical-mathematical and linguistic. We have the most success
teaching our children when we can recognize their style of learning
(as well as our style of teaching) and incorporate activities
Playing and Learning
The main way children collect and process information is through
play. Play is the repetition that reinforces old skills and
encourages new ones. Because play is enjoyable, children's minds
are open. Children are capable of much learning through play because
they are very receptive and relaxed. Take advantage of this benefit
and select activities that are fun and educational. Your children
will learn, and you will both enjoy the experience.
Shelley Ruiz is a homeschooling parent and the owner of Magic Lark Learning
(www.magiclarklearning.com) which provides parents and teachers with resources for
making learning fun, including a free quarterly online journal of poems and stories
for kids. firstname.lastname@example.org