The first years of a child’s life is a period of rapid growth and development. In the context of a caring and nurturing environment, these first years should provide the basis for the competencies and the behaviors that support lifelong learning and a healthy development. Every child’s early experiences influence whether they can assertively explore their environment, and have the persistence they will need to overcome the many challenges they face when acquiring new knowledge, or learning a new skill.Everyone has different ways of acting, thinking and feeling when it comes to learning and thinking. How your child approaches learning can be developed from birth, and it is shaped by her characteristics such as temperament and gender, and her environment. Caregivers can help children develop good learning and thinking habits by encouraging their curiosity, critical thinking, attentiveness, creativity, and persistence. How children, and even adults, learn and think is fundamental to language, socio-emotional, and cognitive development. Good habits become personal qualities which are foundational skills critical to different types of learning throughout the lifespan. Good learning and thinking skills are likely to bring about social and academic outcomes throughout childhood and into adulthood.Research also shows that if children start school with a strong set of attitudes and skills that help them “learn how to learn”, they will be better able to take advantage of educational opportunities. While some learning skills come naturally to children, others can be developed through a supportive environment. The opposite is also true; children who experience significant levels of stress at an early age are less likely to develop these characteristics because of the effect of stress on early brain development. All children face challenges. Their learning can be affected by individual circumstances, such as culture and language. When adults support their efforts, children become more willing to try new things and take risks. Adults encourage children’s enthusiasm for learning by honoring their culture, valuing their curiosity, and setting up safe, interesting environments. Adults who nurture healthy approaches to learning form a strong foundation for future learning, success, and enjoyment of life.Developing curiosity and initiativeChildren have a natural sense of curiosity and wonder. With curiosity, children are motivated to acquire knowledge for its own intrinsic value, and they love to explore new ideas and learn new things. We can encourage curiosity and initiative in the following ways:
Developing intellectual autonomy or critical thinkingHaving critical thinking is the ability to think and reason for oneself. In the age of digital media, children will be exposed to messages and advertising about what they should buy, wear, watch, use, consume, look like, etc. Having the ability to question what they are told during the appropriate times is a crucial ability. Parents can cultivate critical thinkers by:
Decision-making is one of the most important skills in adulthood and should be fostered early in your child’s development.
Developing attentivenessHaving curiosity maintains interest and motivation, and having intellectual autonomy allows one to think for oneself. These attributes will get the learning process started. Attentiveness, which refers to being alert and focused looking and listening, helps keep learning on track.
Developing creativityHaving creativity is the ability to invent and try new things.
Developing persistenceGive your child support when she needs it, being careful not to take over the project completely is imperative.