We had a fun and engaging speaker in the form of Victoria Carlton, founder of International Centre for Excellence in Perth. She shared with us some useful tips on how to encourage our children on their life-long learning journey…
1. Create a conducive learning environment
Children learn best in an environment that’s stress-free, fun, and filled with love. Love? Yes, it’s like a brain booster. Kids thrive on love, and knowing that they can’t lose this love no matter how badly they fare gives them the confidence to explore, learn, and make mistakes.
Also, remember that young brains need good doses of daily exercise and sufficient sleep to function at their best. And may I add a good wholesome breakfast 😉
It sounds pretty obvious, but I think we tend to overlook these things sometimes.
2. Encourage journal-writing
The practice of journal writing actually increases your intelligence! How so? Well, it requires you to reflect on your experiences, helping you to learn from them and remember them better. So…don’t wait. Encourage your kids to keep a journal as soon as they start writing.
I suppose blogging counts too? But, there’s something timeless about putting pen to paper, and writing in your favourite notebook…don’t you think?
3. Read good books
Foster a love of reading good-quality fiction from a young age. (Better still, model it yourself!) Fiction books help to create a secondary world where kids can pick up creativity and problem-solving skills. We should pick out books that are well-written and creative, and try to read them aloud to our children.
Here are some of her suggested reads for children:
Falling Angels, Colin Thompson
I Took the Moon for a Walk, Carolyn Curtis
T is for Terrible, Peter McCarty
Fantastic Mr. Fox, Roald Dahl
The Toymaker and the Bird, Pamela Allen
Do you have a favourite book to share?
4. Give them room …
To be different. To learn at their own pace. To do things unconventionally. To invent. To tear apart (within certain limits of course).
How many times have you told your child to color an apple, red, and a leaf, green? I’ve done that countless times! When they are older, they will learn the right order of things anyway, so give them room for creativity and let them enjoy making their own choices.
Every child learns differently. If you find yourself getting frustrated with your child and wondering why, perhaps it’s good to evaluate his or her learning styles, and changing our approach accordingly. In Victoria’s words, “each child is a gift to the world, and we need to find out how we can nurture this gift.”
It’s often tempting to compare our kids to others…whenever you face this, remember that your child in a unique individual with unique strengths and weaknesses, and it’s up to us to encourage them to discover their potential and their own purpose in life.
5. Make learning an adventure!
While there is a time and place for rote learning and memorizing ABCs and 123s, kids learn best when they’re having fun! Bring them to experience the great outdoors. Turn everything into a game, such as ‘I spy with my little eye something that begins with ‘A’, and see how many things your child can spot. Or encourage them to write their own adventure novel, or make up their own song. Who knows? You might have a future writer/singer in the making.
As you can see, I enjoyed and learnt a lot from the workshop. Victoria also asked us to create our own story book as a family, and I thought that was a really cool idea that we could embark on when the kids are slightly older. 😉
How do you help your child develop a love and thirst for learning?