All children want to learn - they have a wonderful, insatiable curiosity that remains with them throughout their life so long as it is nurtured by parents presenting them with new ideas and experiences and listening and talking to them from birth.
When you see a child who does not want to learn it is usually because they have some thought, belief or emotion that is blocking them.
If the block is removed then the child will want to participate and learn.
Did you know that your child learns the alphabet in its first year through listening to its parents and family speaking - this is why it is so important to speak with them all the time.
If you listen to their babble when they are under two years of age you will hear that they have sentence structure already learnt!!
Covering a pram
I am not a believer in covering a pram as the brain is stimulated by looking at trees moving in the breeze, looking near and far and everything in between, seeing new people while feeling safe with mum or dad, meeting animals on the walk and again feeling safe with mum and dad.
Is my child ready for school?
It is generally fairly easy to know when your child is ready for school because they are looking for more outside the home, wanting to know and to do more.
They are questioning why things happen - the million questions that drive parents crazy are actually indicating that their brain is ready for more knowledge and interaction with new people.
The brain functions best when it is problem solving so the primary way to stimulate a child is to ask a question and give them choices so that they learn consequences e.g. would you like juice or water?
You can help your child to prepare for school through your everyday interaction with them:
a) by reading a book to them every day so they learn syntax and sequencing in sentence;
b) by giving them new experiences, e.g. read a book about animals and take them to the zoo, then when they see the animal they already know something about it which boost their confidence and their self esteem;
c) let them help you in the house, explaining why you do things the way you do and trust them to do the job themselves and guiding them rather than correcting them when they don't do as great a job as you can;
d) get them to help you set the table as this teaches them not only the right way but also enhances the brain's understanding of left and right;
e) for toddlers count the steps with them when they are learning to walk and it is good fun when you go up and down stairs. If you do this every time they will soon learn their numbers;
f) take them shopping and get them to choose something for themselves and pay at the checkout.
All of these seemingly little things help build their confidence and self esteem. It also gets them used to speaking to other people such as shop keepers and gives you an opportunity to explain why they can talk to a shopkeeper about a sale product but must be aware of stranger danger.
If your child is socially immature sending them to school early does not help – another year can make a difference as long as you take that time to socialize them, to teach them basic skills of reading, spelling, numbers and especially writing their name which is the one thing that will stay with them their whole lives. Patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s never forget their name.
Selecting the right school
Trust your child when it comes to selecting the right school - they have a natural instinct that tells whether they will be happy - choose several schools and take your child to each one in turn allowing them to ' feel ' the energy of the school - they will soon tell you if they don't like one and if they prefer another.
Children are rarely wrong in this even when they are a little one first going to school.
Teach them to listen to their intuition and you will be amazed at what they can achieve and how much you will learn.
If they don't like the energy or feel of the school then they will never be happy there no matter how good the school may appear to be.
Most kids grow out of a learning problems by the time they are 8 so don't panic if they are not reading and writing as well as the teacher thinks they should before this age.
It’s a great help to your child if you can help in the classroom or on the canteen. It all makes your child understand that school is important.
Be an informed parent but not a helicopter parent - allow your child to explore on their own within safe parameters and he or she will develop well and be interested in learning.