How Children Learn

Tips to Facilitate Top-Notch Learning
By Dr. Caron Goode and Kevin Heath © 2007 More4kids Inc. All Rights Reserved


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Table of Contents
Introduction • Learning Styles & Preferences • Information Processing • What Research Shows • What Motivates Children • Creating A Learning Environment Chapter One – How Children and Parents Process the World • What do we arrive with • Input • Integration • Recognizing Children’s Temperaments and Processes • Summary Chapter Two – Learning Styles and Preferences • From Infancy

• To Preschool Years • Summary Chapter Three – Motivation

How Motivation Begins

• How Does Motivation Works • What Encourages School-Age Children? • Parents Are Still Motivating Factors • Teaching Methods that Motivate • The Millionaire’s Mindset • Summary Chapter Four – Learning Environment & Activities • Success Factors in Early Learning Environments • Varied Teaching/Learning Approaches o Themes o Critical Thinking


o Mentoring or private instruction

Chapter Five – Managing Stress & Emotionality • What Stresses Children? • Coping Skills and Resilience • Summary Conclusion • About the Authors Appendix


Start a crusade in your life to be your very best.i

William Danforth

Since the 1960s, educators and parents have taken great interest in how children learn. In this book, we summarize those findings for you. Children take in and process the information from their environments in different ways, yet in common ways that allow us to help them enjoy learning and satisfy their curiosity. In addition, we want to enjoy playing and learning together in our families. We will discuss the following sections of information in depth to provide you a well rounded view of your child’s style of learning and living.

Learning Styles & Preferences
The term “learning style” refers to a person’s habitual way of acquiring knowledge or skills through study and experience. The word habitual implies that the way a person receives and processes information remains stable across all experiences. It is a trait that


parents can consider consistent from day to day and from one learning experience to another. The term “learning preference” refers to a way in which children enjoy learning, or even the best way they learn. One child might prefer hands-on doing, while another prefers to listen to a story. Children’s learning preferences are less stable across the board because of the variety of factors influencing learning, such as a child’s interest in the subject matter and the environment in which they are learning. The tem “learning strategies” are the approaches that promote and empower children to learn, encouraging their interests, strengths and learning preferences. It is not always necessary to try and match a child’s learning style to specific strategies that suit the style. Research indicates that helping a child stretch to different styles and adapt to different learning environments provides a well-rounded approach and can enhance a child’s memory for learning. Other considerations for how children learn are instructional or environmental variations that include o self-paced, o self-directed or guided,


o hands-on, o reading, o through structure, o through social interactions, o working alone, or o within a group setting.

Information Processing
We process information from the environment by taking it in through all of our sensory modalities: Eyes, ears, mouth, nose, hands, muscles, joints and through balance. The bits of information go into our brain’s processing mode which searches for similar data, upgrading new files (short-term memory) and adding to older files (longer term memory). Then we respond to the information in some way: answering a question, making notes, dancing in a circle or contributing to a discussion. Information processing requires input, integration and output. Learning, thinking, and remembering all start with the connections made within the brain in-utero and in the early years of development.


What Research Shows
We will briefly review what research relates about how our children learn and what we can expect as children mature and enter school. For example, all parents with preschool children have enjoyed their children’s imaginary friends and animals. However an active imagination is still highly valued in children all the way through their teen years. This is especially true for gifted children. A new University of Florida study shows that gifted students tend to have more active imaginations than average students, and gifted girls are almost twice as likely as gifted boys to prefer imagination to practicality.

What Motivates Children
Most children are motivated by objects and activities that are varied from their routine and cause them to be curious, surprised and more interested than when they started. The types of activities vary with each age group, but we’ll discuss these three aspects of motivation: Relevance - How the activities relate to children. Movement – Do activities allow for engagement? Creativity – What further inspirations are encouraged? 9

Creating a Learning Environment
Research from focus groups of teachers as well as teachers in classrooms from down-under in Australia is helpful to us as parents in identifying what students reported as motivating. Students enjoyed o An adult’s positive attitude toward effort, involvement, discussion, and activity level. o Use of humor and personal stories. o Written and/or verbal accountability on the part of the child for learning. o Variability of method and instructional mode.

Find Out How to Purchase this E-book on How Kids Learn at a Parenting resource