Updated: Aug 19
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 doesn't 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!!
If a child has a spelling problem in later years then they may have had a cold in their first year and didn't hear the words clearly to be able to spell them later.
Covering a pram - not a great idea!
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 'why's" 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 automatically and subliminally;
b) by giving them new experiences, e.g. read a book about animals and take them to the zoo. 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. Explain why you do things the way you do.Trust them to do the job themselves and guide them rather than correct them when they don't do as great a job as you can;
d) getting them to help you set the table enhances the brain's understanding of left and right;
e) for toddlers, count the steps with them when they are learning to walk up and down stairs. If you do this every time they will soon learn their numbers;
f) take them shopping, 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, responsibility and accountability while safe with you. It gets them used to speaking to other people 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 at home can make a difference -take that time to socialize them, to teach them basic skills of reading, spelling especially their name, numbers through play.
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 3-4 years old - they have not yet learnt to judge logically and so 'feel' whether the school is right for them.
Teach them to listen to and trust 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, build self confidence and resilience and be interested in learning.