As you learn about different learning styles you’ll notice that certain aspects stand out for individual children. Here we’ll outline different ways of learning and how they relate to teaching preschool at home. Just like understanding your teaching style, understanding your child’s learning style from the beginning can help set you up for a smooth transition into home preschool.
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Understanding a Child’s Learning Style
In understanding your teaching style we took a look at your own style of teaching so that you know what kinds of methods you will personally enjoy using to teach. Now let’s explore your child’s learning style.
This will help you decide how well your teaching style and your child’s learning style align. Don’t worry if you have different styles. This is simply used as a way to help you monitor your planning. If you continually plan activities that are in line with your teaching style but not your child’s learning style, then there may be some challenges. That just means you’ll have to focus on including activities that appeal to the learning styles of your child…or children. But offering a variety of learning activities will help you do that easily.
What is a learning style?
A learning style is the way in which children explore and process new information. To be sure all young children learn through hands-on experiences and play, but if you watch closely there are certain behavioral clues and preferences that will give you an idea of his or her preferred learning style. Understanding different learning styles will help you present information in a way that promotes your child’s strengths.
Different Learning Styles
There are four common learning styles.
Kinesthetic learners are your active kids who learn best through movement. They enjoy a hands-on approach and they may fidget while sitting. Often they will do two things at once like rock in a chair while reading a book or dance around while counting.
These learners retain information best when it is done through action. You can:
- Move along to favorite learning songs.
- Bounce a ball to practice counting.
- Practice the alphabet with a scavenger hunt.
Like kinesthetic learners, tactile learners also learn with a hands-on approach. However, they seek more sensory stimulation than movement. They enjoy working with play dough, drawing, and often getting messy.
These learners retain information best when it is explored through the senses. You can:
- Use sensory bins and small worlds.
- Use puzzles and building sets.
- Provide time for messy play.
- Practice counting with math manipulatives.
Auditory learners learn best through sound. They are children who quickly understand oral directions and enjoy read alouds. They also enjoy music and learn well through the use of learning songs. Auditory learners also tend to be talkers, and they may sing or hum while doing an independent task.
These learners retain information best when it is heard orally. You can:
- Use songs to teach new concepts.
- Practice telling stories orally.
- Read aloud often.
- Listen to audio books.
As you might have guessed visual learners learn through seeing. They pay close attention to body movements and facial expressions. And they enjoy seeing demonstrations to learn how to do something. Videos, diagrams, maps, and charts help them understand new information.
These learners retain information best when it is depicted visually. You can:
- Draw to show how many when learning to count.
- Find special locations on a map together.
- Create a map of your neighborhood.
- Creative a visual schedule of your day.
If you’re looking for more information about your child’s learning style, The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias is a great resource. There is also a lot more research on Myers-Briggs Personality Tests and Multiple Intelligences, but for the purposes of home preschool I think understanding these four basic learning types is plenty to get you started.
Questions to Consider
Which learning style is your child’s most dominant?
What kind of activities can you use to cater to this strength?
This is Unit 1, Lesson 2 of the Guide to Getting Started with Home Preschool Series. Return to the main How to Teach Homeschool Preschool page or proceed to Unit 1, Lesson 3: Identify Your Favorite Activities and Use Them to Plan for Preschool at Home.