A parent should understand that each child is a unique individual with different traits and his own unique style of processing information.
Experts have categorized primary learning styles into three groups:
- Visual Learning: – In this style children learn better through visual aids and are quite observant.
- Auditory Learning: – These children learn better through music and song and they like to read aloud.
- Kinesthetic Learning: – This applies to children who like to work with their hands and enjoy projects and physical activities.
Parents would be able to help their child better if they could identify the child’s primary learning style, especially at an early age. The following tips could guide parents in observing their child’s interests and actions to identify their learning style.
- Observe how the child expresses herself / himself.
- A parent should notice what interests the child has.
- Pay attention to how the child solves problems.
A Visual learner can show his/her emotions through facial expressions. The child enjoys reading, has a vast vocabulary, spends time watching television shows and is imaginative and observant. The child may be fond of drawing and colouring.
The parent will notice that this child likes the things in order. The child tends to get upset if the toys are out of place and even likes to place the crayons and colour pencils in a specific way. The child pays attention to details.
An Auditory learner on the other hand likes to listen to stories, enjoys learning through music and song and likes to talk to people. The child enjoys oral classes to written assignments and likes to participate in dramatic play. The child also tends to verbally repeat things to reaffirm information. It is most likely that he/she may start speaking early.
A Kinesthetic learner uses a lot of hand gestures and body language to express herself/himself. She/he enjoys different forms of physical activities, is energetic and can’t sit still for long. The child prefers working on projects which involve working with the hands to reading or verbal activities.
Once the parent has understood his child’s learning style it is important to match the correct teaching style.
- A Visual learner grasps information better through visual aids, flash cards and educational videos. She/he would enjoy vividly illustrated books. The child could be taken for walks and be made to observe her/his surroundings as a learning experience.
- An Auditory learner would grasp information better if it is through verbal explanations and through songs, music and rhymes. The parent could play musical instruments with her/him and give her/him audio books to listen to.
- A Kinesthetic learner would enjoy making models and different forms of craft work. The child could be given modeling clay to express her/his creativity. The parent could help her/him learn through projects like learning about animals by making a model zoo or let the child learn about plants by encouraging her/him to help in the garden.
It would be important for the parent to connect with the preschool teacher or caregiver who also observes the child, to determine his learning style. A teacher or parent should not limit the teaching style to just one. For an all round development of the child it’s important to focus on a combination of all the styles.
Multi sensory learning is important to all children. So it is essential to consider the child’s learning style, but in a balanced way.