The game of learning The game of learning

The parents confront the dilemma of teaching in the traditional way in order to avoid the little ones to fall into the technology traps.

Advisor Adriana Maria Arango Góez
Geneticist Biologist specialized on Environmental Education and academic director of Logros

It is true that the inspiration for those who want to maintain their interior child comes from the great capacity deployed by the little ones when they venture to imagine; from their natural facility to learning in a genuine manner, giving space to new experiences. This happens because each child knows how to dream, create, invent and reinvent himself/herself as they discover the world where they live.

This is the same reason why the Geneticist Biologist and Educator Adriana Maria Arango Góez says that during all the life cycles, the human being is capable of learning new things. The different resides in the fact that children have their minds open and permeable to learning, without fear to make mistakes. While the young and adult individuals, regarding the same experience, create barriers and preventions that limit their curiosity.

“From a neurological point of view there are no differences in the learning process as for cognitive flexibility, but possibly it indeed exists in the way how a child or an adult categorizes. A little one learns from imagination and creativity. In childhood, there is no fear to imagine, propose, make hypothesis, dream and this is how he/she learns”, explains this professional.

And if there is something that invites the little ones to imagine is playing. Or, who doesn’t remember his/her dreams built during the long hours of infant playing? Playing is so important for their development that, since 1959, the UN acknowledged recreation and relaxation as a fundamental right.

A very recent study by the UNICEF, Learning, recreation and playing, specifies that playing is a very serious matter in all childhood stages, especially, during the first years of life. Regarding the first childhood, this document details that ludic activities provide the necessary stimulation for since being babies, the human beings learn for the future. “Through playing, an infant explores, invents, creates, develops social skills and ways to think; learns to confront his own emotions, improves his physical aptitudes and discovers himself and his own capacities. During childhood playing constitutes a solid base for a whole life of learning”, this document states.

The above reinforces the idea that Arango Goez has been able to establish during more than 30 years of experience as an educator: “We only learn if we are motivated. Motivation is the fuel of learning”. Motivating implies accompanying that gradual discovery that each child makes of the world around him. And in such a process, the parents are fundamental because they guide, give example, advice, establish rules, regulations and dialogue about the arising questions. This is how one learns.

 New ways to play

In addition, it is also necessary to understand the new ways to play. The apogee of the information and communication technologies confuse the parents about what should be the spaces for their children recreation, especially when free time is used for remaining during hours in front of a computer and electronic devices.

The educator we have mentioned herein, indicates that it is true that traditional games are important for the physical and mental development of children, but she also assures that it is useless to fight against technology because this kind of devices and programs are part of child surrounding. In addition, many of the apparatuses with which the little ones play nowadays offer important learning possibilities that should be correctly channeled.

“The deal is to take advantage of the technology and use it in a limited way. A child should not have total freedom to access the technology, but it is not advisable either to convert the new ways of playing into monsters. The better thing is making them allies for supporting the learning processes”, assures the specialist.

At the time of selecting an application for the children to use, it is commonly thought that as more serious and formal it is, a better educational character has. However, the Psychologist Susan Weinschenk explains in her blog that an app that produces laugh generates a better result. For the purpose of supporting the relation between learning and laughing, this behavior scientist mentions a recent study published on the Cognition and Emotion Magazine, which was made with 18 months old children, and determined that any interaction with an amusing subject highlights the attention, motivation, perception, memory and, of course, the capacity to assimilate knowledge.

The parents, as tutors, can help their children to select well the way in which they learn through playing, if they are aware of what are the strategies their children like, motivate and teach. The question is to allow them to be in order to incentive their talents.

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Learning styles

In order to help the children to better learn, the Educator Arango Goez recommends the parents to become into born observers of their children behavior, because different learning styles exist; such as the following:

  • Visual: learning from observing. The videos function very well for these children.
  • Auditive: some people are more sensitive to auditive stimulus, such as music and words.
  • Kinesthetic: the information is processed through movements and playing.
  • Reflexive: the learning process passes through thought and inquiring is used.
  • Emotive: it consists in making the experience to pass through the senses. It is related to learning through feeling.

The key is finding the way in which the children learn better, and therefore use suitable strategies.

Recommended games

These are some of the traditional and digital games that can stimulate learning in children:

Traditional:

Chess, puzzles, tangram and table games, in which you have to socialize such as Scramble, Rumi cu, dominoes, and others.

Digital:

Videos, platforms for learning languages, strategy games and memory games.

More than fighting the devices, the idea is to incentive laughing and playing as strategies.

Related: Games help to create connection