PREPARING YOUR CHILD FOR LIFELONG LEARNING AND SCHOOL SUCCESS

PREPARING YOUR CHILD FOR LIFELONG LEARNING AND SCHOOL SUCCESS

October 31, 2016
By
Susan Hutchison, Director, Crofton House Junior School

What strategies at home can promote school success and continuous learning throughout a child’s life and into adulthood? Society demands lifelong learning for everyone; the pace of new information is unstoppable! Parents have the unique opportunity to prepare the canvas for a child’s future as a lifelong learner and successful student.

  1. Model the joy of learning that will last a lifetime. Be the consummate explorer. Talk about what you learned today. Discuss concepts that are compelling and invite further analysis. Let your child know that you have special interests.
  2. Develop a sense of wonder, curiosity, and discovery. This is the soil in which the seeds of learning grow. Questioning and investigation without all the answers are critical to the excitement and thrill of learning.
  3. Embrace ambiguity. Confusion is an integral aspect of education leading to new possibilities. Help your child to be comfortable with uncertainty as a natural part of learning. Mistakes, failures, difficulties, when experienced in the context of caring adults, inspire growth with a feeling that “I can do it.” They guide us in our learning path, inform us where to place effort, and help us to revise our actions.
  4. Praise effort not accomplishment. Effort is the single most integral aspect to ongoing accomplishment. Through effort, we discover our capabilities. Talk with your child to identify what effort looks like. Effort originates as an internal attitude; internal desire is fundamental to lifelong learning.
  5. Promote self-regulation. The ability to manage emotions leads to sustained learning. Children who can balance personal sensations during focused tasks are better able to absorb the challenges of school life.
  6. Establish a predictable routine and structure but avoid over-programming and over-scheduling! Resist the urge to register for too many lessons. Badges and certificates don’t always transfer to school success. Making balanced choices, sustaining effort in all activities, finding time for unstructured play, modelling a focused approach to tasks, and developing individual interests will lead to continuous learning.
  7. Understand the difference between confidence and self-esteem. Self-esteem stems from being loved and valued as an individual. Confidence can change depending on the situation. How many of us have experienced shaky confidence in new situations? This is normal; however, our self-esteem is a deep, intrinsic feeling of self-worth. Confidence takes practice and is not evident in every situation. A lack of confidence is sometimes appropriate and should never be feared. Self-esteem, on the other hand, is necessary in the ups and downs of lifelong learning.
  8. Demonstrate positive social skills. Learning is a social activity. Successful students possess the capacity to work and play effectively with others. Children who are socially capable have better school outcomes.
  9. Explore different perspectives. The adult world of the future will be quite different from this one. A respect for diversity, a curiosity for differences, an appetite for unique points of view, and a willingness to try novel ways of doing things will transfer to the acquisition of learning with an inquiring mind.
  10. Find time to create, build, and invent. Successful students must be able to innovate and generate their own creative ideas. Allow your child to construct without a blueprint, sew without a pattern, and cook without a recipe. Encourage originality and experimentation.