Answers to Questions About Learning and School
Parents send their children to school and trust that the "magic" of learning happens. Parents often think they know about school because they went to school. People who have worked in school know it is quite different from what they remember from childhood.
When children have no problems in school, parents don't think to ask questions. When children have difficulties, parents often don't understand the situation and try to deal with the consequences of the problems. This page attempts to simply answer common questions that many parents have about school and how their children learn.
- Why don't my child's teachers teach what my child needs to know?
- Who decides what my child will learn?
- What is taught in each level of school?
- What does it mean that my child's school is in crisis?
- Is this a good system of grading schools?
- What are educators doing?
- What is the difference between remediation and intervention?
- School Safety
- Cognitive Development
- School Readiness
About school readiness...
- What are school readiness skills and how do kids develop them?
School readiness skills are what the average child "normally" learns by 5 years of age. Most parents are not aware that what they teach their child is preparation for school. From before birth, a child learns language skills from his parents and environment. The child learns sounds that will become words and intonation and rhythm patterns. Vocabulary, initially just single words, becomes important as phrases and sentences develop. Words have new meanings and expand the child's vocabulary from simple and functional to descriptive and complex. If the home language is not English, the child must learn all the same skills in English. Since language transfers meaning between people, it is a critical skill for a child to develop completely and accurately. It is the foundation that teachers use in school.
While a child learns how to crawl and walk, he learns about his physical body and attributes of objects around him (hard/soft, large/small, breakable/sturdy, etc.). Balance, the ability to coordinate movements across 3 midlines (upper/lower, front/back, right/left), visually track objects and coordinate hands and feet to grab, grasp, lift and carry objects are all basic skills. As he explores objects in his world, he learns about spatial relationships (above, below, beyond, through, etc.).
Children practice oral language skills by identifying objects. Classification of objects becomes part of play; an example is that balls, plates, jars, bottles, and spoons now become "round objects". This ability to group and classify is a large and important step in preparation for school.
Click here to listen to recordings of Dr. Jennifer Little discussing various topics relating to education.