Learning Styles

The longer you’ve been a parent, the more clearly you’ll know that one size doesn’t fit all, particularly when it comes to learning. Each little one is different, even at the same age or within the same family. So it’s helpful for you and your child’s teachers to understand how they take in and process information. The way you approach learning now can build the foundation for your preschooler’s success later in life.

The 3 main learning styles
There are many names for different learning styles, but most fall into one of three categories: Auditory, Kinesthetic or Visual. It helps to know what to watch for when identifying your child’s learning style; even tiny details can reveal how they learn.

  1. Auditory learners
    As a baby, did your child perk up when conversations were happening? Do they show an aptitude now for playing instruments or singing to music? Do they create their own songs, and repeat words and phrases they’ve heard? If they’re a good listener and can absorb information from sound, they’re probably an auditory learner.

Auditory learners may look like they’re not paying attention when you speak, but their listening skills are more developed than their visual skills. They benefit from:

  • spoken directions,
  • explaining things to others,
  • multimedia resources like radio, video, and recordings,
  • group discussions,
  • dramatic performance, and
  • reading aloud.

Tip: Discuss the concept of a circle in an informal conversation. Repeat the basics. Then make up a song or jingle, and ask your little one to explain it back to you.

  1. Kinesthetic learners
    Did your toddler walk, crawl or sit early? Do they use gestures, clap while counting, act out stories, and enjoy writing or drawing? Are they strong at sports, with good balance and coordination? Do they learn best by doing things themselves?

Kinesthetic learners need to be active and use their whole bodies and sense of touch to understand the world. Because they may not be able to focus while sitting still, they can be misdiagnosed as ADHD or troublemakers. They benefit from:

  • using art supplies to learn shapes and colours
  • counting using their fingers
  • acting out stories
  • moving around
  • taking frequent breaks
  • hands-on activities, like Lego and building models

Tip: Take your child on a merry-go-round to help them learn the concept of a circle.

  1. Visual learners
    If your child is a visual learner, they may be good at remembering names, places, and details. Visual learners have vivid memories and imaginations, a good sense of direction and navigation, a love of books, and an interest in observing the world.

Don’t tell visual learners how to do something; they need to see it. They benefit from:

  • access to screens (even educational TV)
  • flash cards
  • charts, tables and maps
  • chalkboards and illustrations
  • highlighting or underlining text
  • colour
  • not having to listen for long periods of time

Tip: To teach a circle, show your little one a video in which a circle comes to life.