When children wake up each day, they are wired and eager to learn. Whether it’s exploring a new place, observing a change or trying a different exercise, everything they come in contact with inspires them to discover something new or a different way of thinking. This constant exploration children experience throughout their early years and beyond demonstrates their joy for learning. If you watch and listen closely, you’ll see their inquisitive nature come alive, their eyes light up when they explore a topic of interest, and satisfaction when they make connections based on their own experiences and intellectual thinking. As a parent or educator, you are their greatest resource to keep investigation and collaboration alive—to foster a love of learning. It’s easy to set your learner up for success when you challenge yourself to take on these effective roles:
Listen and Watch
Observe and watch your learner’s interactions with others as well as their materials. Incorporate children’s interests into your daily program. By understanding and incorporating children’s processes, you will foster a sense of independence in children that builds confidence and skills, according to Scholastic’s Teaching Children to Love Learning.
Encourage and Accept
Inspire children to share their original ideas, accept all contributions equally and show sensitivity to individual abilities. This creates a safe and secure atmosphere in which learners feel free and are willing to share their ideas without the fear of being wrong. Give out praise to build on children’s strengths and abilities so that all learners see themselves as competent, successful achievers.
Inspire and Assist
As a parent or educator, being aware and present allows you to ask open-ended questions or add new materials to inspire children’s thinking. Asking questions such as, “How many ways can you…?”, “What will happen if…?” or “What interesting ______ do you see…?”, encourages learners to think creatively, fluently and critically (Scholastic).
Demonstrate and Surprise
The simplest events and smallest mistakes have a big impact on learners. When you demonstrate excitement about small discoveries, such as a new learning tool or a critter in the classroom, it invites children to lean in. As a parent or educator, it’s okay to make mistakes in front of your learners. It opens the classroom and your child’s mind to help them problem-solve with you and demonstrates it’s all part of the learning process (Scholastic).
These subtle roles, when used together or individually, encourage your students or children to learn in ways that build confidence, critical thinking, social skills and lifelong interests. When it comes to listening, watching, encouraging, inspiring and demonstrating surprise as a child’s parent or educator, the WordMasters Challenge™ analogy-based competition helps you do just that. It builds high school and college-ready skills for students grades three through eight and motivates learners outside the standard curriculum—letting you sit back and take on the roles of an effective teacher. When children find new materials they enjoy and succeed with, it opens their minds and hearts to a life full of learning. Learn more about the WordMasters Challenge™ by visiting www.wordmasterschallenge.com.
Lisa Lombardi is the President of WordMasters Challenge™.