How Learners Learn?
I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught – Winston Churchill
How do children learn to learn?
In the early years, NO lesson is more valuable for a child than simply learning to enjoy learning. Most young children will respond enthusiastically to new challenges if they are properly encouraged. Above all, learning should be made exciting and fun.
How to provide experiences that are both stimulating and satisfying for the child is important.
Letting the child develop at his own speed and in his own way. If he wants to try to throw a ball let him try if he is content simply to watch an adult do it, let him do that too.
Follow the child’s lead and let yourself be guided by his interests if you’re telling him about the leaves on the tree but he seems to be more interested in the ends on a log instead.
Let him study the ants and encourage effort and modest improvement with smiles, hugs, and as much as all-out success. If he is having a little trouble completing a puzzle, spent time commending him for the part of the puzzle that he has managed to do,” you got three pieces in. Good for you!
Helping the child learn by letting her discover things for herself if she is curious and wants to know how plants grow, helps her plant some seeds. Caring for the plants and watching them develop will teach a more about biology than having the growth process explained to her.
Neuroscientists, educators, and early childhood development experts agree that early experiences have a major impact on the development of the brain and learning as adults. The brain has the greatest plasticity or is the most flexible, during infancy through age five to accommodate a wide range of experiences, interactions, and environments. For example, three-year-olds have twice as many brain â€œconnectionsâ€ as adults. A young child’s experiences with parents and other caring adults, along with the social and physical environment, help to â€œpruneâ€ and â€œsculptâ€ these neural connections as they are used. The connections become more efficient building a solid foundation for all learning. Thus, the development of the young brain is the cumulative layering of foundational skills influenced by relationships, experiences, and environments. This is why nurturing emerging social, emotional, cognitive, and
language skills in the early years are critically important.
Play is at the heart of how young children learn. Through play, children demonstrate what they are learning, what they are interested in, and what they are concerned about. They test out and practice actions to which theyâ€™ve been exposed. When we observe children at play, we begin to learn more about what they understand and can identify the skills that need more practice. This informs our efforts to guide them to the next level.
Playful learning occurs beyond the school or child-care setting. It occurs everywhere. It occurs when parents are running errands when children play
with others in a park, or in after-school settings. This type of learning is often described as informal learning. Children spend most of their time in informal versus in more formal settings. Taking advantage of these opportunities helps children make connections to the larger world. Children are inspired to learn because of the desire to know how to do something or engage with others. The reward is relevant and enjoyable since it is based on the children’s real-time experiences.
ADULT AND PEER INTERACTIONS
Adults, children’s peers, older children, and siblings are important and integral in the playful learning process. Adults guide children and arrange environments to support the learning process. Through materials and interaction, adults can help children identify associations with, and make connections to, previously learned skills. This is often called guided play, a child-directed process wherein adults build on children’s interests and extend what they are doing at the moment to intentionally achieve additional learning goals. This authentic approach helps to make the learning â€œstickâ€ because it is more meaningful and relevant to the child. Adults can â€œteachâ€ self-regulation, for example, by instructing children to stand quietly and not move. They could, however, stand longer and manage greater self-regulation by internalizing the purpose when pretending they are soldiers guarding a castle. This illustrates the potency of playful learning for building
skills when children perceive it as fun and rewarding. It often pushes children to engage in activities more fully. Structured activities involve daily schedules with predictable yet flexible routines.
Children thrive in environments where stress is reduced through children’s understanding of expectations and what comes next. The schedule of learning activities within the curriculum should include all areas of development: physical, cognitive, social and emotional, language and literacy, and 21st-century skills.
Peer interactions are another important context for learning. When engaged in peer play, children observe others and will imitate or build on what they observe. They gain social and emotional skills when they make efforts to create games and coordinate activities with each other. For example, children learn self-regulation when they develop and play rule-based games and they learn perspective when they negotiate the themes within dramatic play activities with others.