Ways Preschoolers Learn, Part 2
In Part 1 we considered how to help visual and tactile learners in our Mission Friends groups learn more effectively. In this article, we turn to the auditory and kinesthetic learners. Everyone can learn in all four ways, but each person has a dominant learning style.
Auditory learners learn best when they hear information. They generally listen when others are speaking. They may not appear to listen; however, they can often repeat what was just said. Oral repetition is important to their learning. They enjoy sounds, but too much sound or silence may be distracting. Conversations are enjoyable to them and help them process information. Try these suggestions to help your auditory learners:
- Read aloud or tell stories.
- Engage in conversation about an activity.
- Use songs, finger plays, chants, and retelling of stories.
- Allow the child to talk out loud about what they are doing.
- Record the child and play it back to hear the information again.
- Invite the child to retell the story.
- Make your voice interesting by changing tone or pitch.
- Encourage the child to ask and answer questions out loud.
- Allow the child to make sounds—orally, with musical instruments, and with their body (sounds such as clapping or stomping).
- Play music while the child is working on a project or in an activity area.
In the earlier article we considered tactile learners who process information through feeling and touching objects. Kinesthetic learners are similar in some ways but are distinguished by their need to move. They interact with their environment by moving their body. Leaders need to recognize this need to move as a characteristic of the child’s make up and not misbehavior. Some ways to help the kinesthetic learner are:
- Allow the child to stand, pace, wiggle, and generally be on the move.
- Break up extended times of sitting with physical activity, even if it’s just providing a stand and stretch break.
- Play active games.
- Add motions to chants and Bible verses, and use finger plays with large movements.
- Role play or act out the story, especially with props the child can move.
- Have the child act out instructions rather than just listen to instructions.
- Avoid distractions during story times. However, having the child doodle or sketch the story may help attention span.
- Outdoor play provides needed opportunities to move.
- Encourage appropriate emotional expression as feelings may be expressed physically—hugging or hitting.
Plan with All Learning Styles in Mind
As we plan our sessions, we ensure there are activities for each learning style. These may overlap. For example, acting out a story allows the visual learner to see the story, the tactile learner to feel the story, the auditory learner to hear the story, and the kinesthetic learner to move in the story. Or we may plan a particular activity for one style of learning to meet the needs of one child.
Leaders make the environment in the classroom. When we plan with all the learning styles in mind, we make our classroom a welcoming place for each unique child God has entrusted to us.
by Vivian Howell