Help your child Become a Lifelong Learner
From The Learning Child set of talks and materials
The ability to learn is a skill, just like any other. It is a complex process that combines cognitive, linguistic, perceptual, and motor skills in a multitude of formal and informal ways. But luckily, we are all engineered to want to do it, and to be good at it.
Think how much your walking, talking child has already learnt how to do
Remember, your child has been learning through every experience since before they were even born. Developing their skills and abilities in highly personal ways. But now they are learning in a complex world, they need opportunities to try things out for themselves. They also need to take risks and solve problems; as well as experiencing the riches of a three-dimensional world. To do this, they need opportunities to touch, to handle and to try for things for themselves. And they need to do all of this within a variety of social encounters.
Within powerful learners, key skills such as curiosity, motivation and intuition are forming
Your child will be wanting to learn from the moment they are born. Just look at how much they persevered when learning to walk or talk. Or how interested they were as baby when someone new walked into the room.
However, external demands, ill-designed toys and the lure of modern technology can all get in the way of this process. Especially when it is not properly understood. And these natural responses can be over-ridden.
The developing skills of a lifelong learner need protecting and celebrating; support your child in developing these skills throughout their early development
If you want highly successful educational outcomes for your child, the most important thing you can do is to encourage and promote the skills of a lifelong learner. It is these developing skills that allows your child to know things without needing to experience them. To visualise and reflect, and to make connections in their learning. All with the curiosity and motivation to want to learn.
You need to help your child see the wonder of learning, and its opportunities. So, discover and learn things about the world and them together. Offering them first-hand, spontaneous experiences steeped in opportunities are far richer than the distractions of a screen. Or the unsatisfying delivery of facts in a workbook.
Capture the natural learning instincts your child is born with, nurturing and understanding them from their earliest days.
With every experience you have with your child – from the first nappy change in the morning to writing their masterpiece in the afternoon – consider how you can maximise the potential of the experience for your child.
Learn to support them as they rehearse, challenge and adapt their understanding. Help them try what they think they know with curiosity and perseverance, learning to think in creative and logical ways. Consider how can you make each moment truly open-ended as they experience it through all their senses. Even something as familiar as a well-loved story can come to life when you think of the sensory learning you can add to it.
So, discover how you can support your child in developing skills of a lifelong learner every day. And most of all… switch off the tablet, forget the flash cards and play.
Dr Kathryn Peckham is an Early Childhood Consultant, author and researcher and the founder of Nurturing Childhoods. Providing all the knowledge, understanding and support you need to nurture your growing child. www.nurturingchildhoods.co.uk
DEVELOPING EVERY CHILD’S POTENTIAL