May 3, 2012 by mamacravings
Being a mom with a background in education, I spend a lot of time studying how to help Baby Eli develop a heart for learning. From research, writing and my own experiences, I have developed 3 tips to help inspire your children to love to learn.
1. Spend time reading.
The encouragement to read to your children comes from all directions and for good reason. Reading to children fosters many things: language development, imagination and an excuse to snuggle.
Stretch beyond reading the story to your child, ask him/her to read it back to you.
* Ask your child to read the story back to you.
Children as young as 1 can begin to “read” the story back. Many times, they will associate pictures with memorable sounds and words. This is the beginning of sight reading. During this type of activity, children are also practicing the art of story telling and tackling the concept of beginning, middle and end.
* Practice making predictions.
Simply stating, “I wonder what happens next.” or, “I didn’t see that coming!” can help your child evolve from passive listening to active listening. This will, in turn, develop active readers. Ask your little ones to make predictions. The more involved they are in the reading process, the more they are going to learn and enjoy it.
* Don’t stop with “The End”.
The end of the book is another opportunity to impart learning. The story, theme, characters and lessons can all be reviewed through questions such as “What was your favorite part?” and “Wasn’t it nice for Elmo to share his baby with his friends.”
“Few children learn to love books by themselves.
Someone has to lure them into the wonderful
world of the written word. Someone has
to show them the way.”
— Orville Prescott from “A Father Reads to His Children”
2. Make it a game.
Learning games are not limited to flash cards and board games. They start as early as asking, Where’s your ear?”. At the park, ask which color swing would be preferred. At dinner, ask how many apple slices are wanted. At the grocery store, ask for help to find the rectangle shaped cheese.
Treating learning as being fun and playful helps your child to develop a heart and passion for seeking out new information and for pushing through frustrations of mastering new concepts.
3. Never miss an opportunity for learning.
This has been my philosophy in my classroom since my first day of teaching. Even line time was a great opportunity to whisper multiplication facts or to spot different types of leaves. Be watchful for moments to impart learning.
The grocery story is one of my very favorite classrooms. There are letters to identify, shapes to find, items to count and to sort. It is an exciting, noisy, colorful and dynamic place. I credit Eli’s emerging number line to the grocery store.
I crave for Eli to have a heart for learning. I want him to seek knowledge and understanding passionately and with persistence. This craving stretches beyond honor rolls and being student of the month. A heart for learning and for understanding opens one’s world beyond himself. It fosters tolerance and an open mind. While all A’s and a bumper sticker would be great, I want the application of these activities and practices to inspire a life-time love of learning.