How do children learn?
As we already know, the first years of life are a critical period of life where children absorb a lot of information from what they experience and are influenced by the environment. Day by day, they live great moments of learning—whether we notice it or not—that are shaping their personality, lenguistic skills, and cognitive skills, among others. But do we know how children learn? In this post, we tell you what this fundamental learning process is like.
The game: main source of learning
When we see a child play, we can think about how cute he looks, how entertaining he is, or how busy he keeps himself so that we can do our things. However, as adults, we can be amazed and surprised by how much a child learns via play. This depends on the game and the child’s age, of course. . In the words of UNICEF, “encouraging children to play and explore helps them learn and develop socially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually.” That is, as we have already mentioned, the game is the main means through which children learn endless thingsIt’s not just a way to kill time or have fun; it’s also a powerful way to learn about many different things.
When a child plays pretend, he or she learns social rules.
When we read a story to him
he learns new words and ideas. When we take him to the games in the square, he learns how to control his body in space.
Because of this, UNICEF and other experts recommend that children play stimulating games every day and use them in their everyday lives. Families and educators have a huge role in promoting play and exploration as means of learning.
Nature is wise. We all have an innate need to acquire new information that would enhance our understanding of the world and, consequently, our performance in it. During childhood, this desire is manifested more clearly than at later ages. . As we can imagine, children have some innate qualities that promote learning and the acquisition of new knowledge. (Innate means “that which is not learned and belongs to the nature of a being from its origin or birth.” We are aware of the classic situation of children around 3–4 years old asking repeatedly “..and why…?” until they drive their parents crazy. Why do you ask so many things?
They are trying to understand the world, and their inner impulse for exploration and knowledge leads them to look for answers. Below, we give you some key points that children use to focus on their learning.
Curiosity and interest: they ask everything, they intrude on spaces, and they are struck by the new.
Initiative: in general, children start the game without any request from adults. They are inclined to accept tasks and “hook” on learning opportunities if they are striking.
Perseverance and attention: a child’s ability to try something he or she is learning over and over (for example, buttoning a vest) and to remain attentive when he or she is interested.
Children thrive at creativity and invention: the ability to come up with the most odd ideas and construct new things from everyday objects
Experiences and atmosphere
Children’s learning is heavily influenced by their early experiences and environments, in addition to the roles that play and intrinsic abilitie. . A child who lives in the countryside can know a lot about cows, how cheese is made, and how to harvest apples, while another who lives in the middle of Santiago in an apartment can know about cars, microphones, and how the elevator in his building works. Similarly, a child who grows up in poor stimulus environments may have less knowledge from his or her experiences. In this sense, it is important to take the environment into account when evaluating “how much a child knows,” since what is usual and familiar to one can be something completely unknown to another.
Learning is primarily a social activity. Without going any further, according to psychologist Lev Vygotsky, children learn by adopting the activities, habits, vocabulary, and ideas of the community in which they grow up.
Sometimes we can hear a child say something or do something and think, “How did he learn that?!” and it turns out that he heard or saw it from the parents of the neighboring boy he plays with.”
We all know that children learn through imitation, but what exactly is limitation?
Cognitive development is the process by which the brain absorbs information to “give meaning”—something that our brains do naturally.For infants and young children, the most meaningful experiences are those spent interacting with their caregivers.
This supports the idea that learning is inherently social, and that infants learn by seeing and mimicking the actions of those around them.
Imitation offers children the opportunity to practice and master new skills. Imitation also serves as a basis for the development of empathy, or the ability to experience what another person feels. Even at a very young age, children imitate the behavior of their parents.
The behavior of the parent or caregiver presents powerful lessons for a child and leaves impressions in the development of the mind.So, children store both good and bad images in their minds, which they can then copy or test later. Here are some interesting things about imitation:
Children from each culture show the same ability to imitate.
Imitation is not a skill that children learn; it is a skill with which they are born.
A child’s ability to imitate simple actions, such as sticking out the tongue, comes from the same part of the brain that allows young children to develop empathy.
Children pay attention to what other children do.
Younger children admire what older children do.
Games that include imitation and other social interactions help children feel a social connection with the other children.