ABC’s of Cultivating a Love of Learning (for children)
by Dr. Joanne Foster, www.joannefoster.ca
Introduction (For Parents)
As little ones learn to speak, sing, and share ideas, the alphabet provides foundational building blocks for language development and communication. Children can combine letters from A to Z in countless and intriguing ways, and over time they become familiar with words, phrases, sentences, concepts, values, and more. In addition, they experience joy, unleash creative outlets, increase their neural capacity, and acquire vast amounts of knowledge.
In this article, however, there’s a twist. The letters A to Z serve as a framework to help young children cultivate a love of learning. These suggestions are for kids. I invite you to chat with them about these ABCs, and see how they respond to the examples. Moreover, you can encourage your child to think of other ideas, with or without your help!
Tips for Children: Strengthen Your Love of Learning!
A – Ask lots of questions.
B – Build upon what you already know. Build structures. Build friendships. Build skills. Build happiness by learning new things.
C – Connect with others, share ideas, and get creative.
D – Dream about all the things that you can do! Then Decide to do them, and Dig in.
E – Empathy means paying attention to how other people are feeling. If you keep empathy in mind, you’ll be able to make stronger connections.
F – Fun is an important part of learning. Enjoy what you do—and keep at it!
G – Games enable you to learn, be with others, and get active. Take part in games that make you smile, think, and move.
H – Help is something that everyone needs at some point. Seek help when you need or want it.
I – Interests are a great starting point for choosing what you’d like to learn more about. Follow your interests, and you’ll extend your learning.
J – Jump, run, skip, skate, swim, dance, climb, and find other ways to keep moving forward.
K – Kindness matters. No act of kindness is wasted.
L – Listen—and then think carefully about what you hear.
M – Mindfulness is about enjoying the present moment. Take in the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feel of the world around you.
N – Nature is full of possibilities for learning. Go outside—spring, summer, fall, and winter!
O – Opportunities are everywhere. Welcome the chance to learn wherever you happen to be.
P – Play is a wonderful way to learn. Play with friends and family, play an instrument, play with toys, play with ideas… Just play! (In fact, play belongs on everyone’s to-do list, including your parents’!)
Q – Quiet times are useful for recharging (like a battery) and for thinking and relaxing. And, for resting, too.
R – Read. Opening a book is like opening a door. Go through to discover new worlds and distant places. Flip pages and see where they take you.
S – Share by letting others in on what you’re thinking, doing, and learning. Then you can think, do, and learn together.
T – Try. If you put forth the effort, there’s a greater chance that you’ll succeed.
U – Upside refers to finding the good or positive in what you do. (It makes doing it more pleasant, too!)
V – Viewpoint is about how you see things. Be willing to look—and to think about what you see—in more than one way.
W – Words create paths that lead to knowledge. Use your words to describe what you would like to learn and why.
X – Xcitement. If you feel happy and eager to do something, then you’ll be keen to see it through. Xcitement makes learning even better!
Y – Yesterday is in the past, but everyone learns from what’s happened before. (That’s called experience.) Focus on what you’ve already learned as you go about activities today and tomorrow. Let your experience shine forth like a light.
Z – Zeal is the feeling that you can do anything you want. Just believe in yourself!
You can go through the list again with your parents, thinking about ideas that really matter to you. You can also focus on other words between A and Z that you think are important and fill them in together, in any order. For example, A is also for Action, H is for Hugs, L is for Laughter, M is for Music, and so on…
As long as you continue to think about and share ideas, you’ll be able to make the most of them—and develop a love of learning. Enjoy!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Joanne Foster is an award-winning author who writes about child development and gifted education. Her most recent book is Being Smart about Gifted Learning: Empowering Parents and Kids Through Challenge and Change (co-authored with Dona Matthews). See, too, Dr. Foster’s book, ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids. For more information and for access to abundant articles and timely resources on children’s well-being, creativity, intelligence, productivity, and learning, go to joannefoster.ca.