Developmental Domains: Learning and Awareness in Children

Children learn on every level at once. For example, the attitude of a parent or teacher can give the child information about gender differences during the course of a long division lesson or a bedtime story. An awareness of the basic areas where a child assimilates experience is important to fostering the whole child.

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A child is more than just a brain. They are social beings with relationships to everyone and everything they encounter. They're physical beings with developing muscles and reflexes. They have senses through which they collect data from the outside world. They are very often spiritual and have an awareness of a higher order to which their experience corresponds. And they have will, motivation and are naturally inclined to find their way in the world. A teacher or parent must be aware of these domains inside themselves to be able to reach their child or student on every level.

The Thirst for Knowledge

A child's brain is searching for information about the world it lives in and organized lessons that build on successes, as well as failures, are very important. An appropriate, challenging pace is vital for the sharp young mind. Being tuned to what a child needs in the presentation of information will help keep them interested and will reverberate in positive ways in their other learning domains.

Honing Social Lessons

Understanding that the distractions of socialization are natural will enable a teacher or parent to navigate the rough spots with compassion and creativity. Success in the classroom can have an impact on a child's self image, which plays a big part in how they will interact with their fellow students. Understanding the interchange a student experiences between learning subjects and finding their way among peers will help parents and teachers to provide the stimulation and guidance appropriate to the child's larger education.

Kinetic Memory

Kinetic memory is the memory of the body. A piano player practices scales to build up the memory in their fingers. It's important for teachers and parents to remember that an uncomfortable child will have difficulty learning. By contrast, when a child's physical environment is stimulating, they're much more likely to retain information. Learning games that involve hand to eye coordination are great ways to help children build memory and logic skills. Games and lessons that require a child to move or physically build (as with blocks or tinker toys) help develop manual dexterity and connect the memory of the body to an exercise of the mind. Lessons read in a book are important, but they travel deeper into a child's memory, and therefore are more completely retained and accessible later, when the body gets in on the act of learning.

A Child's Feelings and Emotions

Children have hearts as well as minds. They constantly experience feelings in relation to external stimuli. An awareness of a child's tendencies in this domain is important to reaching them and challenging them to grow. Does their confidence falter easily when they fail? Do they become competitive when they succeed?

No experience fails to evoke an emotional response. Keeping this in mind will help a parent or a teacher to understand and interact with their student in way that respects and fosters their whole being, which is crucial to education in school and in life.

Using the Senses

Whenever possible, make use of the five senses when conveying information about a subject. Art and science are natural arena's for the addition of sensory enhancement to a lesson. Parents and teachers alike can take students on nature walks and tie the real world up nicely with the lessons learned in the classroom. Many science museums have adopted a focus on tactile learning and some even offer courses to teachers where they can learn to conduct their classes with a more hands-on approach.

Spirituality: Not Just Religion

Spirituality doesn't necessarily mean religion. Many people feel a sense of connectedness to what might be called 'the order of things'. Art can be a great way to help your child or student express that part of themselves that might not lend itself to words. Painting and drawing are great mind exercises as well and call upon the senses through color and even smell. Sculpture is extremely tactile and also requires planning. All these art forms are accessible to any child old enough to grip a pencil or a lump of clay. When his spirit is fed they will move more freely and with greater enthusiasm in the other domains of his being.

The Freedom of Choice

A child will choose for themselves. They are naturally volitional. They have tendencies and interests that guide their choices. It's important not to make education seem like a 'like it or not' situation. Of course that time may come, but it's not a good place to begin. Approaching a child as if you have something to offer, something they want, is crucial. If they are choosing it for themselves, there will be nothing to stop them from getting it. That's just as true of knowledge and information as it is of the cookie jar. Respecting a child's ability to choose for themselves will make the path of learning much smoother and easier to tread.

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