Each Friday, I’m going to be answering some of your questions from the post I did earlier and giving you a little more insight into how we do things around here. One of the most common questions that came from that posts was about teaching Braylen.
Braylen has a really good memory, and she picks up on things really quickly. I saw that she was learning her alphabet and numbers using the Melissa and Doug puzzles early on and then using that knowledge and recognizing them elsewhere. She would point out letters at the grocery store or numbers on a road sign.
As a teacher, I’m always just waiting for that moment when I can unlock a little potential and turn things into a teachable moment, I don’t think learning can be forced. And I think children learn well through hands-on exploration and they learn best at their own pace, especially at her age. So when I saw her natural learning progression I began to capitalize on little teachable moments throughout the day.
Which brings me to a couple of points I want to make about teaching children:
Incorporate learning naturally- Don’t expect them to do more than they can, don’t pressure them and make them dislike learning. For example, if Braylen wanted to show me the letter “A” in the grocery store, I would make a big deal about it and ask her to show me another one if she saw one. I never sat her down at 18 months old and structured her learning time to include specific alphabet puzzles, but when she naturally chose those puzzles, I was sure to point out the letters and talk with her while she played. Equip your child with the tools to learn, but let it come natural.
Make it fun- Plan fun activities, use manipulatives, meet your child on their level. Make learning fun for them, this is the time to instill a love for learning that can last a lifetime. Don’t structure it in a way that is beyond their level of attentiveness or boring to them.
Now that she’s older and has a great foundation, we’re really capitalizing. Right now, she’s a big fan of spelling words and trying to figure out words in books. I’m just guiding her with a little phonics help and waiting for the right time to teach her more about blending words. She also loves math problems so we use a variety of manipulatives to help her figure them out on her own.
Here are some recent favorites at her house:
It’s really impossible to cover it all in one post. Because I absolutely love this topic and because I’m going to need a little creative outlet in the coming weeks since I packed up my classroom this year, I’ll make some printable teaching sets like I’ve been using with Braylen for you guys and give you some posts on how we use them.