How kids learn
As parents, most have wondered what our children have learned at school. However, one of the most interesting concepts to think about is how do they learn? You may have asked yourself, “How does my child learn this stuff?” Different ages and grade levels provide different forms of learning. The following are descriptions on how your child learns from each grade level – Pre-K to 5th grade.
In preschool, children are just becoming learners. They begin to view themselves as learning by finding problems to solve. They do all their learning through play. They learn phonics through songs, stability and balance through building blocks, and math by helping you measure ingredients for a cookie recipe. Children in preschool begin to learn one skill at a time and have trouble figuring out more than one concept at a time. Visualizing how things work is an important way of learning for preschoolers. They form pictures in their head much like a movie to figure out processes such as making two blocks fit together. As they play, these mental pictures allow them to figure out a situation.
Children who are in kindergarten have been going through a lot of changes since their preschool days. They have grown bigger becoming more coordinated. They have grown intellectually focusing for longer periods of time on tasks. They have grown socially having better skills needed to form friendships and work together in a group. Their thinking has grown to be more complex and are able to understand answers about the “why” questions about the world. The best way for kindergarteners to learn is by hands on experience. They make sense of things by experiencing them physically. They are more capable at following directions and focusing on tasks.
Even though play is still important for first graders, they are able to move slowly into more organized learning dealing with symbols and concepts. They begin to take baby steps into a more abstract world that is harder to understand. Just like when they were first learning to walk, it takes time for them to become fluent in their thinking, writing, and processing. First graders are willing to use what they know to make connections to abstract concepts. They base these connections on what might make sense to them at the time. These connections aren’t always correct, but first graders learn best by doing and by making mistakes. It’s important for first graders to be surrounded by encouragers who can give them examples of how they can learn from their mistakes.
Second graders learn a great deal from experience. They compare the things they are learning to what they have all ready experienced or are experiencing. If a second grader has never seen a hot air balloon before, it would be hard for him or her to understand how a hot air balloon works even if they have a detailed description of it. Second graders are better at processing information than they were in first grade. They understand riddles, jokes, and sarcasm. They are able to build on things that they all ready know and are making connections to new concepts. The senses of worries and pressures begin to affect second graders. They are beginning to care how others see them and enjoy being considered as part of a group.
Third graders are often considered as confident learners. They take pleasure in mastering new skills and enjoy using linguistics for all the same reasons adults do. They love to discuss things they see or read, and they often times strive for more independence from their parents which makes talking about school with them somewhat difficult. Third graders find friendships to be one of the most important things in their life so learning through group work becomes a typical practice for them. In group settings, third graders lean on each other for help with their strengths and weaknesses. If one is a fantastic reader, he or she might help a slower reader learn a new strategy at reading. Though it’s great to see the confidence third graders have for getting things accomplished, they often take on more responsibility than they can candle. This produces more worries and anxiety, and they get anxious about failing. It’s important to keep a watch over these anxieties and provide support for them at home.
Fourth grade is where children began to find their academic niche. Fourth graders begin spending time in areas that interest them and where they feel the most confident in their abilities. They are also finding their social niche which may hinder them from being open about not understanding certain things for fear that they will not look as smart in front of their peers. Because they are so concerned with peer responses, it is important to encourage them to continue to ask questions. Fourth grade begins the social drama with many children, but most of them want to work things out so it’s important to use these arguments and fights as a time for improvement of their communication skills.
Fifth graders often become distracted. They think of themselves as independent individuals but quickly can revert to immaturity when they want comforts that they are sometimes afraid to ask for. Academic learning begins to be put aside, and social learning becomes the important factor. The good thing about this age is that fifth graders have developed the ability to think logically about difficult problems. They are able to figure out problems by pulling out necessary facts and strategies needed to solve it. This is often the time that most children hit puberty so differences in maturity levels in the classroom become broad. Pressures to fit in becomes very important. Having trouble with subjects in school can become embarrassing for most which is why parents should look to find extracurricular activities that their child enjoys to help broaden their peer group to others their age who have similar interests.