Ten Key Points on How do Children Grow and Learn?
- Healthy physical development, including adequate nutrition and sensory and emotional stimulation, is crucial for optimal learning.
- Children are natural learners, driven by curiosity and a desire to understand the world around them.
- The brain plays a central role in learning, forming new connections as children acquire knowledge and experiences.
- Learning is based on associations and connections children make, integrating new experiences with existing knowledge.
- Emotions are deeply connected to learning, with positive emotions enhancing attention, motivation, and cognition.
- A safe, supportive, and stimulating learning environment is essential for effective learning.
- The physical space and psychological atmosphere of the classroom both contribute to the learning environment.
- Learning is enhanced when connected to students’ lives and experiences, incorporating their cultural backgrounds.
- Diverse experiences of children should be acknowledged and integrated into the learning process.
- Listening to students’ voices and honoring their cultural traditions fosters a more inclusive and meaningful learning environment.
How do Children Grow and Learn? (NCF 2023, 3.3.1)
Healthy physical development requires basic needs of adequate nutrition and appropriate sensory and emotional stimulation. There are ‘critical periods’ in sensory development, e.g., normal visual experience is critical within the first few months of life. There are ‘sensitive periods’ in cognitive and emotional development as well, e.g., early childhood and adolescence. Physiological changes have ramifications on the psychological and social aspects of a child’s life.
From an evolutionary point of view, human beings are born to learn, so we come with a drive to understand the world and explain things around us. We constantly make our own theories and refine them based on our perceptions and experiences.
Children are, therefore, natural learners. They are active, eager to learn, and respond with interest to new things. They have an innate sense of curiosity — they wonder, question, explore, try out, and discover to make sense of the world. By acting on their curiosity, they continue to discover and learn more.