Preparing your child for their educational journey is important. However, parents need to be a parent at home and not a teacher. Despite this, there are things you can do to ensure that your child is prepared for school at the cognitive, social, and academic levels. Let’s explore the different ways you can ensure your child receives the development needed beginning at a young age and into adulthood that can help them prepare for their educational journey.
What is Cognition?
Cognition is the ability of a person to learn new information, process it, think about it, and speak about it. At the same time, cognition is the ability to apply new information to previous information. A child’s cognitive skills allow them to grasp the idea of cause and effect, understand the relationship between ideas, and improve analytical skills as they age.
How Nature vs. Nurture Plays a Role in Cognitive Development
Cognitive development occurs in a nature-versus-nurture way. Young children can only pay attention for around 15 minutes. This is often seen in children in preschool and kindergarten. However, as the child ages, he or she should be able to pay attention for longer periods if they do not have attention disorders.
You, your child’s teacher, and anyone else in their life can help the child develop cognitively by doing the following:
- Asking questions about a story they recently read or that was read to them
- Asking questions about a field trip they experienced
- Asking questions about a recently completed project
When you ask your child questions it helps them learn about new information, think about processes, and engage in critical thinking.
The Need for Nurturing Relationships
A child’s development will hinge on the nurturing relationships the child has with the people close to him or her, including parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and teachers. When bonds are built between children and the adults in their lives, the children will learn how to be empathetic and intimate, allowing them to communicate their feelings, develop relationships on their own, and reflect on what they want.
Relationships help to foster the following:
- Furnish security
- Physical safety
- Protect the child from injury and illness
A relationship can also protect a child from over–or under–stimulation, which can help them be alerted to new learning and stay calm.
When you build a nurturing relationship with your child, he or she will be able to develop self-regulation, which will help them throughout life no matter their age. A child who can self-regulate will be able to handle their moods, emotions, and behaviors, and how they change. Children who cannot regulate are unable to adjust to changes in their life by showing frustration, anger, and explosiveness in their attitudes.
How STEM(+A) Helps a Child Succeed
STEM(+A) has become a tool for children to learn and succeed in their educational journey. STEM teaches more than just hard skills. It also teaches children the following:
- Creative problem solving
The great thing about STEM is that it isn’t just for children in grades 1st through 12th. STEM can be taught to children of all ages. Think about the types of toys your child likes to play with: Legos, blocks, building kits, and other toys where the imagination runs wild to help your children learn and grow through STEM.
STEM Camps Are Great for Young Kids
STEM doesn’t just have to happen in the classroom. STEM learning can occur throughout the year and in different settings, including at home and camps. STEM camps are held throughout the country all year long. These camps teach children how to use robotics, building blocks, mathematics, and other mechanics to build items and learn how to solve problems.
What is an Academic-Focused Preschool?
There are two types of preschools where you can send your children: academic-focused and play-based. The first of these, academic-focused, will provide your child with the following:
- Focus on rote learning
- Activities led by the teacher
- More structure
- Workbooks and worksheets for homework
- Circle time is used to achieve the ability to recognize numbers and letters
- Preparing the child for elementary school
- Centers set up for writing, math, and reading that the students rotate through during the day
At a play-based preschool you will see the following:
- Academics at an early stage are focused on using play
- Classroom materials are explored more freely
- A higher focus on social-emotional development
- The progress of the student is measured using observations from the teacher
Set Up Your Child for Educational Success
You can set up your child for educational success by encouraging creative play, creative thinking, and asking questions of their experiences. The more you encourage these actions, the better your child will be set up for success in their educational journey.
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