The Learning Curve

The Learning Curve, Pt. 1

This blog is part of a series of musings on what I have learned about kids and education throughout my years of teaching. The ideas here aren’t original, but this is the record of how my brain has processed them. I hope it helps a parent or teacher somewhere. 🙂

Today’s lesson?

Kids. Are. Amazing.

They are little learning ninjas. Also, like ninjas, they are extremely flexible. Seriously, how are they so flexible?!

Ha, anyway, the learning part:

  • They soak up academics when they’re little, SO fast.
    • ABCs and 123s, in order, by the time they’re 3? Whew!
    • Learning to read and write all this by the end of Kindergarten? Oh, man!
    • Playing with all these letters and numbers so much that by 3rd grade, they’re writing whole paragraphs and starting to learn the beginnings of how to multiply and divide?!? *Mind explodes*
  • They learn how to push our buttons.
    • They sure know how to get us going, don’t they?
    • This tells us that their social and emotional capabilities are probably much more advanced than they seem to let on most of the time…
    • When parents and teachers practice and teach mindfulness to kids, this power can be harnessed for good!
  • They very quickly learn where our boundaries are.
    • If we are firm and fair in holding our boundaries and expectations, kids will learn quickly to respect them.
    • If we aren’t resolute in our boundaries and don’t know them ourselves, our kids seem to intuitively pick up on this. They have a hard time knowing where our lines are if we continuously allow our lines to be crossed.
    • There is no one-size-fits-all solution or system that will get every kid to respect boundaries, rules, and expectations. Some kids need different approaches…
    • But one thing is for sure: praising a child’s effort when you see them trying can never hurt the process!

And, y’know, the flexibility thing isn’t to be sneezed at either. Not only are kids pretty physically flexible, but their minds and emotional states can do some amazing gymnastics as well. If their feelings get hurt, they bounce back with just a little TLC. If their brains are fried from all the worksheets the public school insists on giving them, they’re fine after a five minute brain break. If mom or dad yells at them to get their shoes on after telling them calmly approximately 14,398 times to put their shoes on, they can forgive. They make lots of mistakes, so they understand when we make mistakes, if we can own up to them.

And that’s the most important thing for us to teach them: mistakes happen, but we try again. Kids will learn to try again to be patient, if we try again to be patient with them. They will learn to apologize when they hurt someone’s feelings, if we apologize when we accidentally hurt their feelings. They will learn that failures are a necessary and temporary part of life, if we show them how to fail gracefully and then get back on the wagon. They are born resilient, they are natural learners; they are, as I mentioned before, simply amazing.

I’ll leave you with this video. In it, the speaker mostly talks about helping kids overcome physical challenges, but I very much believe that these ideas can help kids (and us adults!) get through academic, mental, and emotional challenges just as well. Enjoy the video and I’ll see you at class time, Luff Families!

~Mrs. Sarah

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