learning strategies

Learning and Thinking Strategies #15

I sometimes feel like I’m only at a kindergarten stage when it comes to computers but, to make it worse,  I’m missing the kindergarten readiness and preparation. Thankfully, a little one came to the rescue by showing me another important learning and thinking strategy.

early-learningWhen kids first learn to walk they take baby steps. Tiny little steps forward, not giant leaps. (That’s what I need to do when it comes to mastering technology, just take baby steps.) This is an important learning and thinking strategy for children as they build new brain connections. Sometimes dividing a learning task into smaller bits is obvious. For instance, kids learn to make high towers by piling only a few blocks on top of each other. With practice they can soon balance many more and achieve a tower. They will challenge themselves to use other materials, too. Less evident, for instance is learning to count accurately. Numbers and counting start with a small number of objects but kids will use small and big numbers many, many times as they become more proficient.

Babies don’t participate in corporate task analysis discussions; they just take baby steps naturally. But for older children, helping them to learn to do a little piece at a time can be very useful, not just for kindergarten readiness but for later challenges as well. During your day, can you help your child do an activity one step at a time?

Kindergarten Readiness – Learning/Thinking Strategies #14

I scream, you scream, we all scream for … kindergarten readiness! With a few sunny breaks today, kids were able to squeeze in some outside time before it rained again. Since the walk was dry, it was a good time to play with some sidewalk chalk. And that’s just what this child did.

learning-persistenceHave you ever noticed how kids can get an idea stuck in their head and not let go? Any guesses as to this idea? It was ice cream. Of all the wonderful things that hands and chalk could draw, (or at least have help to draw) the choice was ice cream. Just as I wanted to groan, I realized that I was seeing another learning and thinking strategy, that of persistence. I could almost see that little mind thinking, “Hmm, if asking for some ice cream didn’t work, maybe drawing a picture of some would.”

Children have amazing persistence for something they want. On occasion, they wear the adults right down to get it, too. Kids’ persistence is often negative but it can be positive as well. Learning something new requires persistence and so does kindergarten readiness. I love this explanation on Kidpower Blog:

Now, some children know how to persist, but they do it in negative ways by whining and getting upset when they don’t get their way. Our job as  adults is to help them learn how to persist in positive ways and how to accept disappointment gracefully.

Adults can help children learn to use their persistence by:

      • Giving them opportunities to overcome challenges;
      • Complimenting them when they are persisting in a positive way;
      • Telling them if they get discouraged that even if something doesn’t work that you are proud of them for using their persistence and trying their best;
      • Guiding them to be persistent and positive by asking them to use a regular voice instead of whining; and
      • Helping them deal with disappointment by telling them you admire their persistence even if they are not going to get what they want.     (from Kidpower Blog, Jan 17, 2010, Irene van der Zande)

Supporting young children as they learn involves so much more than academic skills. For your child’s learning and thinking development, is there an opportunity to encourage the skill of persistence?

Kindergarten Readiness – Learning/Thinking Strategies #13

(photo Hardeep Singh)

Relaxing on Sunday and enjoying some Earth Day activities, I was reluctant to prepare for Monday morning. Then I saw the example of a small child and thought he had a great attitude that will help for more than kindergarten readiness. Little M is have fun mopping the floor. His strategy is to turn work into play. Now that’s powerful thinking and learning.

Children will exert tremendous effort into doing things. They do not distinguish if it’s work or play.  Washing dishes, stirring muffins, putting groceries in the cupboard, or making the bed can be as much fun as digging in the sand box, building with blocks, or playing dress-up. Sometimes their help makes more work for parents, but their willingness to assist needs to be encouraged. (Especially while it lasts.) Helping others and sharing tasks is an important part of social and emotional development.

Monday may not be grownups favorite day of the week but for kids any day can be fun day and work can be play. And it can help children learn new skills and practice developing ones. For your child’s growth and development are their some activities where s/he can help and turn work into play?

Kindergarten Readiness – Learning/Thinking Strategies #12

With Earth Day celebrations and events tomorrow, it seems natural to talk about how nature can influence children’s development and kindergarten readiness. Recent studies are finding more and more benefits to spending time outdoors such as improving health and fitness, increasing the length of attention span, promoting problem-solving and observational skills, encouraging creativity, reducing anxiety, and … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Learning/Thinking Strategies #12

Kindergarten Readiness – Learning/Thinking Strategies #11

Instead of thinking about what adults can teach kids to help them with kindergarten readiness, I turned the question around and asked what can kids teach adults. I kept that perspective as I watched a little boy playing with some cars in the dirt and later a little girl building with wooden blocks. Each child … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Learning/Thinking Strategies #11

Kindergarten Readiness – Learning/Thinking Strategies #10

A visit to the dentist gave me lots to write about for children’s learning and kindergarten readiness. A preschooler was also there for a checkup. She chatted away to her mother  about what was going to happen, “The dentist is going to look at my teeth. ” Her mother answered that yes he would look at them … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Learning/Thinking Strategies #10

Kindergarten Readiness – Learning/Thinking Strategies #9

Kids communicate to us about what they need to learn for kindergarten readiness and beyond. Are we getting their messages? This little one is a perfect example: Kids need balance. Kids need balance in lots of different ways. They need to learn how to balance their bodies in a variety of spaces. Their days require … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Learning/Thinking Strategies #9

Kindergarten Readiness – Learning/Thinking Strategies #8

Having a sense of adventure can be thought of as a learning strategy that will influence children’s readiness for kindergarten and zest for life. Just like curiosity, it’s important that the adults in children’s lives encourage and support their internal motivation. For children, even playing in the mud can be adventure. Usually, kids are not … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Learning/Thinking Strategies #8

Kindergarten Readiness – Learning/Thinking Strategies #7

Being curious may be the most powerful learning strategy of them all as children grow and develop. Curiosity is definitely a key factor in kindergarten readiness. Dr. Bruce Perry calls curiosity The Fuel of Development. Being curious promotes all kinds of brain connections and stimulates discovery and questions. Did you know that by the time … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Learning/Thinking Strategies #7

Kindergarten Readiness – Learning/Thinking Strategies #6

Did you know that going skating is a super kindergarten readiness activity? Any kind: ice skating, roller skating, roller blading, etc. I don’t just mean the way kids get exercise and have fun, or strengthen their muscles and coordination. I mean the falling down part. That’s right, the falling down. With lots of protection on so … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Learning/Thinking Strategies #6