“The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six.” - Maria Montessori
One of the world’s best known educators, Maria Montessori’s theories on education have been in practice for more than 100 years and followed by institutions across the world. She believed that early childhood education is the key to building a better society.
So, as a parent, what you teach your child during his early years and how you do it plays a significant role in determining the kind of individual he would grow up into. Here are seven ways you can give an early start to your child's education.
- Encourage curiosity: Your child will learn only when he begins to ask ‘why’ and 'how'. Though his numerous 'how' and 'why' questions might irritate you at times, do not curb his curiosity. Remember, you are his most reliable source of information — the only one he looks up to for answers. So, be patient and answer his questions to encourage his thirst for knowledge. This is one sure way of helping him become a lifelong learner.
- Teach self-esteem: To know is one thing, but to believe is another important aspect of learning. It’s very important to teach your child to have faith in herself and remain confident when dealing with problems. In fact, research suggests that there is a direct relationship between self-esteem and academic achievement. In their study, ‘Self-esteem and academic achievement: a comparative study of adolescent students in England and the United States’, published in 2011, Margaret Zoller Booth and Jean M Gerard state that self-esteem is related to academic achievement. They also say that, ‘Utilizing mixed methodology, this paper investigates the relationship between self-esteem and academic achievement for young adolescents within two Western cultural contexts: The United States and England. For both samples, quantitative results demonstrated that fall in self-esteem was related to multiple indicators of later year academic achievement’.
- Develop the habit of reading: “Reading is to the mind what exercising is to the body.” This quote by the famous English poet Joseph Addison aptly describes the importance of reading, and how crucial it is to learning and broadening the horizons. Through reading, your child can not only sharpen his language and communication skills but will also learn something new every day. So, try to inculcate the habit of reading in your child from a young age to help him reap its benefits.
- Foster creative thinking: Sir Kenneth Robinson, a British author, speaker and international advisor on education, once said, “Creativity is putting your imagination to work, and it's produced the most extraordinary results in human culture.” Your child’s creativity is a skill that must be nurtured and encouraged. Not only will it help her come up with ingenious solutions but also awaken her thirst for knowledge. Make sure that her pursuit of creative endeavours is never hampered by the rigours of academic work. Encourage her to think creatively and give her a platform to showcase her work.
- Include learning in daily activities: Most learning happens outside a classroom. A simple household chore can turn into a teaching moment for your little one. Whether it’s about teaching ‘different kinds of vegetables’ while shopping at the supermarket or ‘spotting colours’ at the traffic signal, show your child that there’s always something new to observe and learn. This will teach him to be more observant and willing to learn.
- Provide time for independent play: When your child has uninterrupted and unstructured play time, it helps develop her cognitive and motor skills. It also builds her sense of imagination and enables her to take initiatives to solve problems instead of calling out for help. Make sure that your little one gets at least an hour of outdoor or indoor free play every day.
- Make learning fun: This is perhaps the most important aspect of learning. Whether it’s teaching your child to write the alphabet or helping him learn to count, infusing a little fun into studies will always make things interesting. It will make him believe that learning is a fun activity and he’ll always be eager to learn.
Follow these tips and make everyday learning into a fun activity. This will also help you to bond with your child.
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