6 months to 5 years is the age when curiosity is at its highest level. We call this age as infant, toddler and preschooler age. The definition is vague, many people consider 2 months to 1 year as infant age, 1 to 3 years as toddler, 3 to 5 preschooler age. As our kids grow their learning ability also expand with time. Everyday these little ones see and observe thousands new things around them. New things bring new learning and insight about the world around them. Their exploring nature encourages them to see, touch and sometimes even taste things that interest them. At this age a very careful and continuous supervision from adult is required all the time. They also have a very sharp mind, sometimes they listen words for the first time but it may stay for days in their memory. So being a parent, guardian or a caregiver, it’s very important for us to be careful about what kind of teaching we are providing to our little ones. But before discussing more about what to teach and how to teach, the most important thing is to understand how kids learn best especially when they are too young.
Have you ever thought why teaching kids is simple and easy for some while difficult and stressful for others? It is because sometimes there is a mismatch between kid’s learning pattern and our teaching style. The more we understand their learning pattern the more effective would be our teaching would be and they would retaining knowledge longer. Every child is different from another and similarly his learning approach. Some learn just by watching while other may learn better by experimenting. It is really important to understand different types of teaching techniques and analyzing which work best for your kid. There are different learning and teaching methods that I want to share
Visual. As discussed earlier, some kids have great observational power. They look at something and remember it for days. For such kids we may use visual learning technique. Kids are always attracted towards colorful and flashy things. In our teaching we may use colorful attractive objects which would help them to remember things easily for a longer period of time.
Verbal. Some kids are talkative in nature. They like the exchange of information by interacting with others. Being an adult we need to be very careful in the selection of words while talking to such kids. Any negative word may easy get stored in their memory. We may use speech, interactive and repetitive technique to teach such kids
Aural. Aural is the use of music and sound in teaching methodology. Music gives relaxation to the mind, nurture brain, understand emotions and enhance creativity. In many schools these days, music is a compulsory subject. We may use musical instruments while teaching a rhyme or we may also narrate an informational story in musical form.
Experimental. Some kids like to try this whether it is a mathematical problem or a jigsaw puzzle. They keep trying until they get satisfactory outcome. These kids learn and memorize this better through hand on experiments. Memorizing is the most vital part of retaining knowledge. Physical and sensory activities have great impact on kids’ brain development. It also gives the better understanding and knowledge about the subject. Nobody can tell the difference between the same dimensional wooden ply board and a card board until he touches both. That’s why schools these days are focusing more on physical activities because it’s not just good for learning but also gives hands on experiments. It includes educational toys, STEM activities, etc.
Logical. We may also use logical reasoning, mathematical numbers techniques and puzzles to teach kids. It is not only fun but opens mind to think out of the box. Logical reasoning based problems force brain to see a problem from different angles, discovering reasons and exposure to cause and effect by putting them into some hypothetical situation.
Social. Some kids are social by nature. They love company of other kids, doing group play and activities, imitating each other. We may teach kids by hosting fun learning activity competition sing song together or jump and move body. Generally fun group tasks keep kids active, attentive and agile.
Personal. Solitary learners have their own limited space. They learn by themselves and don’t like group studies much. For such kids one on one focused study would be better than any other technique.
Other than these major techniques, there are few more things to keep in mind while teaching kids:
- Practice Exercise: Practice test over and over gives in-depth knowledge of the subject
- Testing and questioning: It’s important to ask questions because it gives deeper insight and help in cognitive development of a child
- Elaborate Explanation: Just stating the fact and telling something happens doesn’t work well unless we explain the reason behind that. Understanding the concept is more important than just learning.
- Slow and step by step explanation: Try to simplify the topic, provide slow step by step by step information. Bombardment of whole lot of information at a time may confuse little mind
- Demonstrating: Kids have a nature of imitating especially young once. Instead of giving them some task to perform, it’s better to show or demonstrate them
- Interrelated topics: Once we have confidence that our kids have knowledge about core subject now we can also introduce them to the other related subjects.
- Add Challenges: As kids have achieved certain milestone, we may add some challenge to it too. Kids love taking challenges. Challenges encourage them to think logically and it continues their interest in subject.
- Help: Help them if required. If they are unable to perform certain task, help them to do it with love and care