The 4 Things You Need to Help a Child Learn
Play matters. It is important, but is that really all children should do? Just play? There are some that would probably argue yes. I think there are actually four components to learning. Four parts that support the child's innate desire to explore their world and learn. In no particular order, the four components are to GO places, READ good books, PLAY every day, and do all of these within a caring, responsive, securely attached relationship with a grown up.
Why these four pieces?
I believe that going places with children offers them real examples, real interactions, and real life experiences. These adventures, both big and small, create a solid, concrete basis for learning. Children need a context for learning.
The opportunity to explore first hand how all the pieces of our learning and our world fit together. For young children who are still figuring out the world and need concrete examples these experiences are crucial.
For older children that are beginning to think more abstractly and can imagine the world from books, these experiences offer the real world contexts that motivate them to learn more. Ultimately, learning through adventure makes education more meaningful.
When education is more meaningful it is more internally motivating and exciting and when we are more motivated we learn better. This is a universal truth.
READ MORE ABOUT GOING PLACES WITH KIDS
It has been said that the single most important thing you can do to help a child be successful in school and life is to read to them. Such a simple way to make a huge impact on a child's life and yet would you be amazed to know that there are children who don't hear stories every day?
Reading, especially in our reading and math focused society, is an easy thing to promote to most people. Reading encourages language development, learning introduces children to how books work, and reading models reading.
All of these are vital to children learning how to read. However, reading aloud to children is also important because it instills a love of reading. It teaches children that reading is fun and full of diverse worlds and ideas. It gives children fond memories of snuggling with someone and hearing a good book. Reading aloud introduces children to different authors and favorite books.
This love of reading that we are building is important to creating lifelong readers. We want children to learn to read because they can't wait. We want them to be eager to understand how words work and how they can tap into the incredible library of books waiting for them once they can read. This is why we read.
READ MORE ABOUT READING EVERY DAY
When I was in school learning to be an early childhood educator I never imagined that I would have to work so hard to defend play. It seemed obvious through the research, readings, and observations of children that kids learn through play.
If you observe a small child building, creating, tinkering, questioning, imagining you can see the learn. You can almost observe their little mental gears turning and you can clear document the results.
Play is learning. It is crucial to the education of all children that as a culture we acknowledge, observe, support, and embrace this vital piece of childhood and of life.
READ MORE ABOUT PLAYING EVERY DAY
I will share more about the grown up's role in all this soon, but you are vital.
Learning happens in a context, an environment and within relationships. Having an adult to comfort you, respond to your needs, and make you feel safe is crucial to a child feeling confident and secure enough to go out in to the world (or a playroom) and play. Your conversations, your observations, your interactions, your input to the environment are a huge part of what makes all learning successful. Whether you are a teacher, a grandparent, a parent or some other caregiver - you are important. A vital piece of the learning puzzle.
Below you can access a FREE printable with 365 Ways to Play. One for every day of the new year. These are simple ways to make little moments every day and even routines and chores more fun.
Obviously we aren't going to spend all day every day gleefully laughing and smiling, but I hope these ideas will help add more fun to your new year.
Subscribe below and I'll send you this FREE printable. Print it out and hang in up somewhere handy for those moments when you need a little inspiration, need help surviving a rainy day, or just want to put a smile back into a crabby day.
The areas in this collection of play ideas include;
*Simple things to add to your playroom or play space
*Quick prep, minimal materials activities
*Short ways to interact playfully with your child
*Fun ways to play on the go
*Subscribe to the Bambini Newsletter (If you're already a subscriber - the printable is on its way to you now)
*Print out the FREE 365 Ways to Play
*Keep it handy for whenever you want play inspiration
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