Exploring our World
We are often asked, what do you teach your toddler while so young? The answer is to keep it simple. Our kids are born eager to learn about what surrounds them, and we help them along. We make fun games or draw pictures, communicate, but most importantly, we allow them to explore the world that surrounds them. Their curiosity will naturally guide them, you just have to tag along.
We feed this hunger by bringing our kids on regular outings with no structured schedule. We may think of ideas to guide them in an interest by planning an activity that follows a theme, but we leave the exploration to them. Last summer, Big T loved exploring her senses and how they interacted with her environment. She wanted to touch, look and smell at everything around her. Therefore, we planned activities that would include a multitude of sensory inputs and let her show us her findings.
These outings allowed her to understand her environment better. She recognized natural sounds, and instinctively takes a deep breath while in nature. It is giving her tools for self-direction and to trust herself. It also showed us what kind of learner she was. She learns best when her sense of touch is activated. She loves to grasp, squeeze, feel and poke objects, and retains more information by doing so. By knowing this, we can now plan later lessons around dexterity and manipulation of the objects.
After half a year, we have learned that the importance isn’t in what you teach them, but in how you do so. Buy cuing into your child’s learning style and encouraging it’s development, you are allowing them to become comfortable in using their skills to assimilate more information. They will start retaining more information with minimal effort and won’t see education as a choir. We have already seen a immense development in Big T’s skills requiring dexterity and manipulation, while tasks we pushed using different teaching styles did not evolve.
By 2.5, Big T was able to draw shapes and faces, could form animals out of clay, and would communicate by signs. She could perform elaborate dances and find moss under thick layers of snow by recognizing stump forms. She knew that ice was ‘cold’ water and that it was slippery after making ice catchers. This was encouraging to us, and made us drill deeper in finding new ways to exploit the physical matter of elements she needed help in learning, like expressive communication.
There it is, the answer to teaching your littles. Slow it down, get on their level. And enjoy the adventure!