Parents can help children become better learners. Right from when the brain starts developing, the foetus is able to distinguish voices and can listen and slowly comprehend what it hears. This is the beginning of a long learning association between the parent and child. The first step when you are dealing with a baby is to try and figure out how the baby is inclined to learn. Some children learn via what they hear. They are auditory sequential learners. Another set learns via what they see or through pictures. They are visual-spatial learners. There is a third set who learn via touch. They are kinesthetic learners.
Once parents get an idea of the type of learning their child prefers, half the battle is won. Parents can help their children savour the learning journey by letting them approach new pieces of knowledge in their own way whether by sound, sight or touch.
Trying to rate the child on his or her learning prowess is the biggest impediment to their progress and most Indian parents are victims of this mindset. They want tangible measures of their child’s achievements and learning milestones to give them a sense of satisfaction and improved self-worth. Instead of letting the child explore and self-discovery, they force-feed facts and measure the child’s memory and rote-learning skills. A test based on memory skills does not really measure intelligence but be it at home or at school, overzealous parents are obsessed with putting their tiny tots through the pre-defined grind. Interviews at nursery schools are no less competitive than the entrance exams for prestigious engineering colleges.
Spending time with your little ones, reading together, laughing over pictures, listening to your child’s interpretation of a picture, doing fun science experiments, showing them the night sky, going on an exploratory walk of the park, these may not convert directly into marks but will successfully nurture a happy learner who is ready to begin an educational journey.
(The author is an Early Childhood Consultant)
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