I seem to have been asked by lots of people this week about ‘teaching’ and three people have spoken about ‘teaching sessions’ needing to be brief and then children need lots of play afterwards.
When people think of teaching they think of sitting at a table and having to complete workbooks and excersizes which are often viewed as being ‘boring’. In actual fact, learning is simply the acquisition of knowledge which you use in the future and teaching is simply being a part of that other person’s learning process and helping to facilitate it.
Most of what we do is learned, and most of what we have learned has been taught by those around us.
This can be something as simple as a good or a bad habit, the way that we speak, our accent, spelling, math, play skills, social skills. Learning doesn’t have to be boring and over 80% of what we learn and remember we do so through motivation. More often than not, for children, this is through play.
We teach all of Zephy’s new language through play: at the swings, in the bath, through any activity which is motivating. I tried to teach Annabelle her sounds (phonetics) and letters in the traditional way (I did start out in this field as a traditional ABA therapist, you know……!) and it, quite simply, did not work. We then started to teach them as a way of life, when out food shopping, finding items in the house beginning with certain sounds, with pens for the bath tub (I do not recommend these if you have a white bath!)and through writing on different surfaces. We have also made ‘pairs’ of letters to play pairing games. For name recognition, we did this through writing letters and sending little love notes and treats through the post. The children both soon started to recognise their name! It is a really cute game to play. We pop their names on a piece of paper around the house and leave a treat underneath the paper! It isn’t time consuming, it is super fun and they learn in the process.
I would say that everything is a learning opportunity, from cooking, to running errands, to sorting the washing through to fun activities out and about. I would also recommend remembering what is developmentally appropriate for the children to be learning and two have two or three ‘targets’ at a time. Our next target for Annabelle will be recognising money and we will do this very simply by playing shop and going to the shop! Zeph’s next skill to learn is definitely to pull his pants right the way up after he goes to the toilet!! Mine will be to learn to make the chocolate roulade that Ludo likes so, which I am hoping that my mum will teach me.
Have fun learning!