How To Teach Your Child Something New

How to teach your child something new.

Seems pretty simple, doesn't it?

Well, first we have to understand how your child learns in order to teach them something new.

Understanding how they learn really helps us adapt how we parent them.

It adapts our parenting to meet their needs in a very effective way for them.

There are three main ways that your child learns:

  1. Holistically.

    They learn through their whole body, they learn through everything that's surrounding them, everything that they're seeing, that they're hearing, that they're feeling, that maybe they're smelling or even tasting using their senses. So that whole body, that holistic experience, really makes a connection for them and it builds context and meaning to what they're experiencing.

  2. Doing.

    Not being told what to do, but doing, being in the middle of it, getting their hands in the mud, pulling bark off the tree, doing it, looking at it, exploring it, feeling it. This really helps them develop more hands on experiences. It helps them with their thinking, helps them with their language describing what they're seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting. Their language, their imagination, their speaking skills, their listening skills. All of these skills that they have through creative play.

  3. Senses.

    What they see, what they hear, what they smell, what they taste, what they feel. In Kindermusik we talk a lot about multisensory learning. We're talking about it this week with our toddlers. The more senses that your child is using to learn something, the more concrete the learning is, the more it is retained in the brain.

I heard through a parent that their child is in preschool and they're getting homework.

And I have to be honest with you, I was astounded.

I try to stay pretty neutral on certain things, but this is one that really hit me actually in my gut.

I know the homework is very simple and it seems like it's harmless, but my understanding is in some of the preschools now, children are required to learn how to read and write their name.

Sounds kind of like a good idea, doesn't it?

It's actually not.

A three and four year old do not need to be learning that.

They're a little too young for it.

It's not how they learn best.

I was bothered by this because I really want to share through all the research that's been done over so many years and the thousands of articles on how young children learn best to really bring this point up because I know that schools have to fill requirements.

I know they have to fill standards so that when children are heading into kindergarten, they are meeting certain standards.

This is what's happening in our education system today.

While we can't necessarily fight it as much as we would like, although I think it's okay for parents to speak up, I wanted to bring a message what can we do to help your child maybe outside of preschool, when you are engaged with them and when you are exploring and discovering with them?

How do the arts and creativity help your child in early learning?

I want to talk about how we can help your children the most and what they really crave.

The arts are providing a fantastic opportunity for your child to learn in a holistic way, to use all of their senses and to learn through play.

Your child must learn through play.

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From birth to age seven, children learn best through play.

That means that if three children are sitting next to each other and they're working on a little project in school, those three projects should not end up looking the same.

They need to be learning through play.

They need to be experimenting, to be discovering, to be observing, to be touching and feeling and hearing and smelling and to have their holistic approach to learning.

Soak it all in, let their imagination run wild.

They're learning about all the little aspects of everything that they are surrounded by in their environment.

That's how they learn best.

Sir Ken Robinson is an advocate for truly transforming our education system so it helps children and how they learn best. He says that we are getting educated out of creativity and that we should see our children for the hope that they are.

Our task is to educate the whole child, not necessarily sitting a three or four year old down to learn how to write their name.

They will learn how to write their name eventually.

Step back and have you look at the long term.

By allowing your child to learn through play and open discovery and in a holistic sense using all of their senses, you are helping them set an enormously strong foundation for what is to come.

By having that strong foundation they will learn to read and write.

They will learn math.

They will learn all of those things, but if you don't allow them to learn through play now, they may have trouble learning to problem solve, learning to do critical thinking.

They may have problems with their executive function skills.

The way to teach your child how to learn something is to play, play, play with them. And allow that process of holistic learning to take place.

Don't expect an end result.

Expect them to be entrenched in the mess, in the creative things that are happening around them.

Let them be entrenched in nature.

Let them just learn and watch and discover and soak it all in.

That is not only teaching your child how to learn something, it's teaching them actually how to learn.

If you disagree with me, that's great. I want to hear your comments.

I would love to have a wonderful discussion about this, whether you agree or whether you might be not sure. Let's talk about it. Let's see what we can do to help our children in the best ways that we can.