Children learn in many different ways and offering them a variety allows them to learn different things and different skills. Some children may choose their preferred way of learning such as being active and that is part of their different personalities.
The Department of Education have made a list of different ways children learn. Offering these different experiences can help a child become resilient, develop their curiosity and social skills.
Playing – indoors and out, alone and with others, quietly or boisterously – allows children to find out about things, try out and practise ideas and skills, take risks, explore their feelings, learn from mistakes, be in control and think imaginatively. Playing is an important centre of learning for young children
As well as developing emotional security and social skills, being with other people – other children and adults – stimulates ideas and involvement that move learning forward.
Young children need to move, and learn and remember things by taking experiences in through the senses as they move. Sitting still for too long can disrupt learning.
Children’s deep curiosity leads them to use all their senses to explore in real hands-on activities, and then put the information together in their own minds to form ideas and make sense of the world.
In ‘self-speech’ children use out-loud thinking to clarify their thoughts, regulate their activities, take on imaginative roles and rehearse their skills
Even before they can talk in words, children are keen to share their ideas through sounds, gesture and body language. Talk helps children to understand what they experience. It is important that they have a chance to express their own ideas, as well as have conversations to hear other people’s ideas, extend their thinking, and use language about learning.
Children deepen their understanding as they recreate experiences or communicate their thinking in many different ways – in role-play or small world play, pictures, movements, models, and talk.
Working out what to do, trying hard, persevering with problems, finding out and thinking for themselves are opportunities for developing real understanding. These challenges may occur in play, or in real-life or planned activities.
Children learn skills by watching others or being shown how to do something. Adults or peers may directly instruct, model, guide or demonstrate.
Rehearsing skills helps children to build mastery, to enjoy their own expertise, and to consolidate what they can do.
There is no place for dull, repetitive activities. Laughter, fun, and enjoyment, sometimes being whimsical and nonsensical, are the best contexts for learning. Activities can be playful even when they are not actually play.
Source: Learning, Playing and Interacting, DFE 2009
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