I’m a visual learner. I need to “see” something to really grasp it. I take notes during sermons and lectures because the process of seeing the words as I write them implants the concepts in my brain. Your young visual learner will want to see the pictures as you read a book. Ask a visual learner how to spell a word, and you will find that even a familiar word like a name is difficult without writing it down.

An auditory learner learns through listening. This is the child who loves to listen to stories being read or who can follow several steps when they are repeated orally. This is the learner who whispers while reading. The act of hearing cements the information more than just seeing it.

Each of us uses a combination of all these learning tactics. But one will always dominate. When I’m taking notes, it’s so I can see the concepts. For another person, taking notes may be so the words can be “touched” and “felt,” a hands-on style.

In spite of all the research and teacher training in learning styles, traditional schools including preschools are not set up to accommodate these differences. This is in part due to government programs such as No Child Left Behind. And it is in part due to having to efficiently move children through a system.

How do you know what type of learner your preschooler is? Just watch and interact with your child. Throughout the days and weeks, you’ll notice what type of play your child gravitates to. Become attuned to your preschooler’s temperament. And remember there are differences between boys and girls.

Keep in mind that at this age, though, your child is probably experimenting with different styles. Provide opportunities to try out all the various ways of learning. Also remember that all of these factors will mature in an individual learning pattern which is as unique as your little one.

No one way of learning is better than another, just as no one spiritual gift is more important than another. Just look at the twelve chosen by Jesus. Each had a different style and ability. Just as each one of them had a place in God’s plan, so does your child. Nurture the uniqueness in learning that God has given your preschooler, and you will nurture a lifelong learner.  

Endnote:

1. Judith Graham, Temperament, Cooperative Extension Publications, University of Maine, c. 2001, http://extension.umaine.edu/publications/4358e/

Susan K. Stewart began teaching her children in 1981 and is considered a pioneer in modern homeschooling. Her latest book is Preschool: At What Cost? You can read more about early learning at her blog, www.betterthanpreschool.com.

Publication date: September 14, 2012