Just as we all have different interests, tastes and preferences, we all have different ways of learning. This is especially true of young children, who will all learn in different ways and at their own pace.
As a child develops, it can be tempting to compare them to others, particularly in terms of milestones for achieving certain skills. Ages and stages are important, but in reality, every child is different and it’s important to allow them to learn and grow in the way that suits them best.
In this article, we look at some of the ways we foster individual learning for each child, based on their unique personality and learning style.
Promote individual exploration
Too often children are compared to each other in terms of their development, rather than seeing their individuality. In our centres we see children who are the same age, in the same room, display a wide range of abilities, interests and talents. The milestones of each child need to be valued and supported, whatever stage they are at in their development.
Following the Queensland Government approved kindergarten program and Early Years Learning Framework, we ensure each child has the opportunity to explore, learn and grow at their own pace. A large part of this is fostering individual exploration, specifically by providing a wide range of experiences every day where children can choose to complete tasks and learn through play with guidance from our experienced educators. This can include giving children a choice in their daily program, encouraging them to use materials in their own way to create things, and giving them space to themselves.
Build experiences in response to individual needs
At Catholic Early EdCare centres, our educators create personalised learning plans for children based on their current needs and abilities. Each child will have a journal documenting where they are up to in their learning journey, so that activities can continue to be tailored to their needs.
For example, to help develop literacy and fine motor skills children are asked to use pencils to write their own names or a series of letters. Modified versions of this for children who aren’t yet able to formulate their own letters might include an alphabet card for them to copy. If they can’t yet grip a pencil for writing they will be encouraged to use different materials to form letters.
This is how our educators, using the Queensland Government approved kindergarten program and Early Years Learning Framework, ensure that each child is supported to learn based on their individual needs.
Celebrate children’s differences
A large part of seeing children as individual learners is celebrating their differences, and helping them to celebrate the uniqueness in other children too. Our program is designed to help children share and understand differences, including cultures, language, nationalities and religions.
A great example of this in action is from one of our services where a child was wearing an eye patch for a lazy eye condition. The other children were very curious about it and she began to feel self-conscious. The educators encouraged her to share with the group what it was like to wear the patch every day. Afterwards, the children made patches and tried them on to see how it felt. This helped them understand that it was a challenge to wear the patch, and made it harder to see things. From then on, she never worried about the patch and felt stronger, rather than different. This was a great, practical learning opportunity for the children.
Children are all individuals, each with their own interests, abilities, talents and learning style. To thrive and grow, it’s important that children have a tailored learning plan specifically designed to help them reach their potential.
At Catholic Early EdCare, we will help your child to grow individually, socially, creatively, respectfully, spiritually and confidently every day. The early years of education and care are the foundation for every child’s future, and we actively help children learn in their own way. To find out more about our program, visit our website.