Just think of the smiles on your kids’ faces when you read them a great story, or how their eyes light up when you show them tiny plants buds just peeking through the soil. The great thing about teaching young children is that they have an innate desire to know more about the world. Sadly, this innate love of learning is often squelched by the time kids hit elementary school, crushed by ineffective academic standards and incorrectly implied curriculum that take the delight out of learning.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! That’s why we’ve worked with the early-learning experts at VINCI Education to inspire kids to love learning. As a teacher, you can make a big impact on your students’ future love of learning by simply allowing them to learn in a way that’s not only educational but also fun. Here are a few ideas to help you do just that:
- Teach them to be critical thinkers.The adrenaline rush from solving a tough puzzle leads kids to want to do it again and again—and that creates life-long learners and problem-solvers.
- Meet kids where they are.Some kids are kinesthetic learners and need activity to thrive.Others love games.Still others love to get wrapped into a good book.Work hard to show your kids that you value their unique interests and learning styles.
- Inter-woven learning and play.Play and learn can go in parallel. For young children, play is learning, so work to incorporate concept teaching during fun activities such as building sand castle or pretend-playing with toy kitchen. Make educational fun an important part of any early learner’s day from an early age.
- Facilitate learning with technology.Kids love technology—and one of the best ways to get kids excited about learning is to supplement your spoken curriculum with technology.Try letting kids play a related game on a tablet after you teach math or reward good behavior with technology time.
- Listen to your kids.Be willing to spend time talking to your kids and finding out what interests them so that you can adjust learning to fit.
- Show your kids that you love to play and learn.Bring a copy of your favorite book to school and let your kids catch you reading it.Or, divert from the art lesson to demonstrate your own love of painting to the kids. Show your talent with sand castle or getting a toy sunk in the water… Participate and show your enjoyment in playing
- Recognize achievements.If you notice a kid has mastered a particular skill or is excelling on a certain game, point out his or her achievement or give that student a sticker or a smiley face.Even little acknowledgements can serve as major motivation.
- Involve the entire village.Send home fun enrichment activities for your early learners to do at home.Likewise, communicate what you are doing with parents and ask them to send you ideas, books, and activity suggestions.
- Mix it up.Try blended learning one day and a nature hike the next in order to let kids know that there are lots of ways to learn and grow.
- Always make a summary.It seems simple, but when you make a short summary at the end of play, you help kids retain the learning that they gained. Take a few minutes to recall what was played and learned and their retention will increase