Welcome to 2015! Another year has come to greet us and we can take the opportunity to stop and think about our children’s beginnings. How do we best prepare them for the many years ahead of them?
Education is the single most important gift we can give our children after unconditional love and a strong self esteem. But does that mean we should sit them down to formal lessons and begin teaching them mathematics and computer skills as soon as possible? In some Asian countries children as young as three years old have formal iPad lessons and spend up to four hours daily learning English as a foreign language. They are correct in realising that our brains are most ready to learn new information when we are young; the mistake comes when we forget that children’s brains are designed to learn by moving, doing and interacting with their environment. When children spend too much time seated at a desk, they are losing key time for neuromuscular development. That is the development of the pathways between our brain and our muscles. The pathways that allow us to comprehend fully what our eyes see, our ears hear and understand the world we live in. In it through movement and interaction with our world that we develop an understanding of our world and even a true understanding of ourselves as part of this wonderful planet.
Getting outside and interacting with our world, gives children a deeper understanding of life, our limitations and our possibilities. Would Newton have contemplated gravity if he had spent his time sitting indoors where no apple was likely to fall on his head? Would the Wright brothers have developed an aeroplane and tried to fly if they had bee seated at a desk all day? Even just being outside watching ants can teach our children about teamwork.
New Year, the time for new ideas and new plans. Plan lessons that awaken your child’s whole being. Plan lessons that enlist all the neural pathways in experiencing and learning to understand their world.
Here are some tips from teachers I have met:
· Take the children outside and let them write with chalk on tarmac (or with sticks in sand). This not only has a novelty factor which enhances learning; but also increases the sensory feedback from the fingers to the brain, ensuring greater memory for how letters are formed.
· Teach mathematics table with clapping, dancing or singing. This enlists the part of the brain that is involved in rhythm and sequencing and therefore increases the child’s ability to remember the repetitive sequence of his tables.
· Teach early phonics blend in a hopscotch game. This movement enlists the parts of the brain involved in balance and sequencing of movement and supports learning the sequencing of the letter combinations for phonics.
· Make tags of sight words which can be found around the house and garden. Let your child paste them on the objects. Your child will see and feel the object and link it with the word; then the word will remain on the object for future reinforcement. This does mean that your garden will have labels on the tress and your house will have labels on the walls and windows; but that is a small price to pay for teaching your child to read.
New Year is the perfect time to look at how we help our children grow up. Let’s not limit their development with too much desk work. Let’s get them up and moving and enlist all their brain pathways when we teach!
Click here to have a look at this revolutionary, fun, effective reading program. Designed for helping children with dyslexia. Works perfectly for all children.