Learning types in preschool

Learning types in preschool - learning tools, methods and support

From the beginning, children start to discover the world and learn on their own. They listen to their surroundings and babble away until able to speak. They crawl by themselves and practise until able to walk. Human development is twofold: in addition to this independent process, personal development also stems from external experience. The geographical, cultural and social environments are key factors influencing the developmental stages of the child. This kind of development can be targeted with specific support.

Nevertheless, problems often arise. Many children are ‘oversupported’ to the point of becoming overwhelmed. For some, the degree of support can be adequate, but inadequate for others. Experts warn against this particular scenario, as it is in this phase that the bases of social coexistence and personality development are laid down. During this time children sharpen their senses, discover feelings and re-experience their environment. The little ones also have to cope with the group. Every day in preschool children are influenced by great challenges, new adventures and experiences. That’s why excessive or the wrong type of support can be counterproductive.

To give your child optimal support in learning, we will distinguish here between the four categories or learning types: auditory, communicative, kinaesthetic, and visual. Each type has distinctive features, strengths and weaknesses. The auditory type learns best through listening and speaking. The communicative type is a great speaker, the kinaesthetic learner is a go-getter and the visual type focuses on what they see.

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How do I know which learning type my child is?

Although it is actually not complicated to match children to a learning type, many parents fail to do so. First of all, it is important to understand that different learning types exist because every child has their own way of using their senses and processes what they learn in different areas of the brain. This is primarily due to personal habits and experiences, but can also be hereditary. By observing children in their everyday life you can determine which learning group they belong to. If in doubt, talk to your preschool teachers who observe your child in a social environment.

How do I recognise the learning type of my child?

  • Does your child know audio books by heart? Are they particularly good at memorising poems? Do they have good powers of comprehension? Then they are most likely the auditory learning type and they best process heard and spoken words.
  • Does your child like to tell stories? Do they often pose well thought-out questions? Do they learn from other children? Then they belong to the communicative type. These children have a high level of social skills and start to question facts at an early stage.
  • Is your child practical? Do they act without thinking? Are they guided by their feelings and follow their impulses? If the answers are yes, your child belongs primarily to the kinaesthetic learning type.
  • Is your child better at processing visually appealing information? Do they easily remember shapes and figures? Do they have an eye for detail? Then they should get visual support.

As you can see, there are many indicators as to which type of learning is most appropriate for your child. Take your time to analyse them. Should the questions above not help you identify your child’s learning type, you can test their abilities and interests through play. You can try with puzzles, building blocks, audiobooks and actively talking to them, thus disclosing previously hidden skills. It is also important to know that nobody corresponds to only one single learning type and most children have multiple strengths to be supported accordingly. The four types of learning are not to be seen as hard categories and children should be adequately supported in all areas. This categorisation should definitely not bind children to a learning type, but serve as a valuable aid to their development.

How can I best support my child?

Learning should be fun. This should always be kept in mind. Preschool-aged children discover new things around them every day and have new experiences all the time. For learning to succeed it is important that they have fun. Children of this age should be encouraged through playful means, that are not only educationally valuable but also enjoyable. Only those who are enthusiastic about something will learn in a truly sustainable way. That’s why we would like to present you with concrete learning strategies to support each individual type of learning. As already mentioned, you should not feel restricted to just one of these methods. If your child, for instance, matches the auditory learning type, this is to be considered merely as an inclination to this type. The fact that your child processes information from a particular channel faster and better does not mean that the other learning channels are turned off. Let your child sharpen all senses and discover the world with fun.

Support for the auditory type

For the auditory type, the ear is a particularly important organ. This can be of great advantage as your child picks up what they hear and automatically learns quickly. However, auditory learning types are easily distracted by background noise. Loud conversation or music will immediately arouse the attention of the child. To create an ideal learning environment, background noise should be kept to a minimum. Preschool-aged children love stories or fairy tales. It is best to read different stories at a fixed time every day, or invent your own fairy tales with them. This promotes their intellectual development and is a lot of fun. Auditory puzzles can also be packaged in games. Do you own a loud ticking alarm clock? Then hide it in the apartment. Your child should then listen carefully and find it. Another fun option is testing their auditory memory. To do this, fill 30 small cans (for example, old film cans) with different materials: sand, rice, cotton wool, paper clips or coins and play as if it was the traditional game of ‘Memory’. Each player takes turns shaking two cans at the same time. The player who correctly guesses more pairs first wins the game.

Support for the communicative type

As the name ‘communicative learning type’ already reveals, children of this type like to talk a lot. Use this fact to actively promote language development. This could work, for example, by linguistically accompanying your own actions. Describe to your child what you are doing while you are doing it. Even if this monologuing seems a bit strange at first, you will soon see results with your child. They will start recognising connections between words and actions. Nevertheless, no child speaks perfectly from the start. Correct pronunciation and grammar will follow over time. To assist your child with this, you should follow every mistake with an improved repetition, so they hear the correct version and learn to speak properly. Practice makes perfect, so give them plenty to talk about. Do not interrupt your child's storytelling and listen carefully. That's how they will feel like they are taken seriously. Answer all questions in as much detail as possible and praise your child for their phrasing. This keeps them on the ball and stops them losing interest as quickly.

Support for the kinaesthetic type

If your child belongs to the kinaesthetic learning type, they learn best through movement, practice and experimentation. Educational games are particularly suitable for this because they develop mental and physical skills early on. Pretend that you are making a purchase in the supermarket with your child. They should name the goods and buy them in a given order, which will teach them how to correctly classify and compare objects. Another learning option is the pantomime game. Your child can present their chosen profession or animal. This game works best played as a group; the child with the correct answer is next and must present their own choice. This trains motor skills and self-confidence. Building blocks are also useful. The most diverse works of art can be created with them: beautiful patterns, a high tower or a classic house - building blocks are suitable for the design of many things. Your child learns through play, uses their imagination and improves their motor skills.

Support for the visual type

The visual learning type learns primarily through seeing and observing. Information should first be communicated visually. Let your child paint pictures. Colouring pencils allow infinite imaginative possibilities. Moreover, educational puzzles lend themselves to playful memory training. In addition to the puzzles used in preschool, a good idea is to design a custom photo puzzle of grandma or the family dog. Well-known subjects promote the motivation of the little ones, which increases their receptiveness. You can, for example, let your child select designs from your photo calendar or photo books, which are then produced as a puzzle. The classic game of ‘Memory’ is also suitable for training visual perception. Another useful tool is modelling clay. Your child can independently design shapes or objects. In order to further stimulate memory, you can choose which objects your child should make. Even if this task presents a challenge at first, your child will learn quickly and successfully.

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