After getting to know Lindsey from The Little Mommy we realised we were mummy doppelgangers on opposite sides of the world! Both studying, both younger parents and with toddlers of a similar age, it’s spooky!
SOooo… obviously we decided to do a collaboration! I wrote a post called 6 Ways To Lose The Weight For Good which you can read over on The Little Mommy and today I am able to share Lindsey’s post on The 3 Step Process For Teaching Toddlers where she gives some great tips on exposing your children to all the types of learning and incorporating some great low-cost ways to get a head start on your toddlers education!
A bit about Lindsey:
She’s a young mother, student, partner and blogger from the Midwest (USA), most days you’ll find her sharing how to live life luxuriously on a low-income budget. She likes nice things, alliteration and the letter L.
Is your child ready for school? One of my good friends is a kindergarten teacher here in the states. (The term kindergarten varies from country to country, so I want to be clear that I’m referring to children around the age of 3 and 4—which is pre-kindergarten age here and nursery age in the U.K).
One day out of curiosity I asked her what teachers expected children to know before entering kindergarten. This is what she said verbatim, “How to write their name, use scissors, numbers through ten, letter names and some sounds. Colors, 2-d shapes. These aren’t rules or anything, just what her kindergarten teacher would appreciate.” So, there you have it—straight from the source!
I’m not going to lie; I was intimidated. Until I realized that Zoey already has the shapes, colors and numbers down. For a child that has been in a home daycare since the age of 18 months, I’d say we’re in pretty good shape. However, being a low-income family means that we don’t have the luxury of dropping our child off at a prestigious preschool. So inevitably, the job lands on us.
After a lot of thought, research and deliberation, I’ve narrowed down how to teach your child in three key steps based off the VAK learning styles model developed by Walter Burke Barbe. (Source: Study.com) In short, the model states that everyone has a preferred learning style, children included. (Source: Study.com)
However, I believe that children are much too young to know what style suits them best. It’s our job as parents and teachers to expose them to ALL styles so that they can experiment, and we can observe what works best for them.
3-Step Process for Teaching Toddlers
Toddlers and preschoolers have an extremely short attention span. I try to go through these steps at least once a day, usually after dinner and before bath time. 30 minutes is all you need. Anything longer than that and you risk losing them completely. (Trust me, I’ve tried.)
Step 1: The visual step
When I introduce a new topic to Zoey, I first introduce it visually with a flash card, drawing or picture of some sort.
You can buy coloring books at any store, but if you have the capability I would suggest printing them off for free. Mr. Printables has everything you need and then some.
Give them the first ten minutes to color the letter, and familiarize themselves with the shape.
Step 2: The auditory step
After she’s warmed up to the new letter, I spend the next ten minutes talking and conversing with her about it.
I tell her what it is, what sound it makes, and suggest a few items that the letter starts with. (A is for Apple, B is for Ball.) Then, we sing the alphabet song, and when we get to the letter that we’re studying I stop and say it a little bit louder and with more emphasis than the rest.
She knows the song by heart, but she doesn’t know what it means. By singing it and physically pointing out the letters that she’s singing helps her to draw a connection between the two.
Step 3: The kinesthetic step
Last, but CERTAINLY not least is the kinesthetic step, and in my opinion, it’s one of the most important ones. The action step. Now is the time to let your child figure it out for themselves, and there are thousands of ways to do this. Here are some of my favorites:
- Matching games
- Tracing letters or numbers in sand/sugar/flour/get creative
- Counting objects
- Sorting objects by color
Keep in mind you don’t have to spend money on any of these. I made an alphabet matching game with construction paper and clothes pins. Have any buttons? Sort them by color and count them as you throw them into a hat. Then let your little one pick one out and guess the color. Easy and loads of fun for everyone!
*(Note: Small children should not be given small objects unless under direct supervision, so make sure you do the activity with them.)*
Reading is a visual, auditory and kinesthetic activity and is one of the most important things you can do to teach your child. I still struggle with this, but it’s something that I’m making an effort to improve.
Are you interested in learning what your personal learning style is? Take the free VAK Learning Styles Questionnaire and find out.