Children Learn Best When They Are Interested

by Mary Ann on March 31, 2014

Children Learn Best When they are Interested

Benny LOVES learning about tools!

Benny is 2 and he loves knowing how things work! Yesterday as I came upstairs I saw him working really hard on the vent on the wall, with a screw driver. He was trying to put the blade of the screwdriver into the slot on the screw head. Of course he doesn’t have fine enough motor skills yet to manage it. Then there would be the issue of being strong enough to turn the screw driver. He didn’t seem to be perturbed or discouraged about what he couldn’t do. He was totally immersed in learning about it to his level.

I said, “Benny, what are you doing?” He replied, “Take off.” When his motor skills catch up with his desire to “work” with tools we had all better look out!!!

I am thinking about Benny today because of what happened this morning. I have been tied to my computer for a few days working on a project. This morning he climbed onto my lap and watched for a short time. Then he said, “What this”, while pointing to the cord that connects my computer to the source of electricity.

I responded that this cord brought electricity to the computer and that a computer had to have electricity to work. He repeated, “Electricity”.

He then pointed to the printer cord and said, “What that?” “It is a cord to the printer Benny. It lets the computer tell the printer to go toChildren Learn Best When they are Interested work”. I pointed out the cursor and then hit the printer icon. Then we watched the page print.

Then he pointed to the cord that connects the mouse to the computer. “What that?” “That is the mouse Benny. See when I move it this little cursor moves on the screen and lets me pick what I want.” He repeated, “Cursor.” He was fascinated by this.

Then he pointed to the thumb drive that I was using for my project. “What that?” I told him it was a thumb drive and that it had some pictures on it. He said, “Thumb drive”. Then I moved the mouse, pointed out the cursor on the screen and he watched while I opened the device and then the file with the pictures. We took a moment or two and scrolled through the pictures while he named off the people.

Children learn best when they are interested!

When we were done looking at the pictures he pointed to the thumb drive and wanted to start over again! Children learn best when they are interested.

Children learn best when they are interestedThis is a perfect example of what happens when we listen to children and respond to what they are currently interested in. I was listening and I ‘heard” his interest and I responded and then we had a familiar conversation and he began to learn.  It was so tempting to say, “Benny, I can’t play right now, I am working.” But who knows when he will come again to ask about the computer.

And since when does a 2 year old sit still and learn about something way above his level to understand for about 5 minutes! Anytime he is really interested. And that is the key to real learning. When a child is interested in something, they want to know more. So it is important to resist the temptation to put off what we could do now, until later, when it is more convenient.

Really, children learn best when they are interested!

We can’t always respond right now but we should really try whenever we can; the younger the child, the more fleeting the interest and the teaching moments.

Benny won’t remember the terms that I said today and of course he has no idea how any of it really works. Here is what he will remember, Grandma loves him and is interested in what he is interested in. Learning is fun. And he is never too young to learn anything.

We can scale down any topic to fit the age. We need to listen to children, hear what they say, watch for Sparks and then respond as soon as we can.

I gained some great enjoyment from helping Benny learn more about the computer today and it went a long way to increasing his confidence to ask. Children learn best when they are interested

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