LEARNING ABILITIES are EVERYTHING!
Focusing systematically on LEARNING ABILITIES through PLAY for your 3- to 6-year-old, over and above knowledge and skills, is proven to develop QUANTUM LEAPS in their COGNITIVE, COMMUNICATIVE and SELF-REGULATIVE development.
This will enable them to master whatever they need to in the future, with speed and ease.
In our rapidly-changing world, there’s NO better way to prepare your child for an outstanding academic future, combined with exceptional personal success and happiness.
This is what 46+ years of research and practice into giftedness/high capabilities, brain development and learning by 12 distinguished educationalists and developmental psychologists tells us about what young children REALLY need before the age of 6… in addition to a loving, stimulating and playful family environment.
So what are ‘learning abilities’? Where do they come from?
The answer to these questions may not be so obvious.
‘Learning abilities’ are whatever it is that determines the speed and flexibility with which we acquire, and are able to apply, new knowledge and skills.
“Abilities are those qualities that provide successful learning.” Nikolai Veraksa
All of us find ourselves thinking about and judging young children’s different abilities from time to time.
We also tend to believe that while children’s educational and life experiences may affect for better or for worse the way they put their abilities to use, the abilities themselves are a given.
We behave as though they are a part of our genetic inheritance, like the colour of our eyes, or the number of fingers on our hands.
However, Vygotsky considered that we must view human psychological development as a social achievement rather than an individual one.
Young children’s abilities are not innate, or simply determined by biology. Children acquire their abilities with and from the others around them – from the social, cultural and educational context of their lives.
The core of what young children need to learn is not a particular body of knowledge or a specific set of skills. After all, the skills and knowledge children need for survival depend on where they happen to be born, and vary from place to place.
At the heart of what all young children learn, are the universal higher mental functions required to analyse reality.
How deeply and securely children are able to acquire them ultimately determines the differences in their abilities.
The classification of abilities
When we think about what our children might be good at, we often have in mind a specific list.
For example, we might think about Linguistic, Mathematical, Musical, Physical, Visual, Intra-personal or Inter-personal abilities.
However, certain developmental psychologists and in more recent years, professors at Cambridge University too, have stressed that young children must develop communicative, self-regulative and cognitive abilities, in addition to any other subject-specific abilities, in order to learn how to learn.
Their work highlights that there are 3 pre-requisite ingredients for success with learning and for creative and intellectual achievement.
These are the highest levels of:
- cognitive abilities (or meta-cognition)
- communicative abilities (or oracy skills)
We call these three pillars ‘learning abilities’.
Other studies call them ‘learning skills’.
Either way, it is ‘learning to learn’, the ‘how’ of learning, the all-important ability to ‘think about thinking’.
Children need to be able to understand others and to make themselves understood. They need to be able to plan and to manage their own attention and behaviour. And they need to be able to build mental models of how the world works.
These are the general abilities we need in order to reach our potential.
To prepare children to become brilliant, global citizens of our rapidly-changing world, developing these general learning abilities is essential, to enable them to learn and master, quickly and easily, whatever they will have a need for in their future lives.
But there is more…
A person’s learning abilities are 90% determined during the first 5/6 years of life.
So whilst you can always improve and learn more at any age, any child who develops these skills before that age will stand head and shoulders above those who don’t.
What these general abilities look like
Let’s explore some of the skills, mindsets and abilities that make up these ‘general learning abilities:
Focusing on these is how you develop your child’s overall mental, social and personal abilities to an EXCEPTIONAL level.
And leave your child with a profound love of learning…
In spite of increasingly good curricula for teaching knowledge and skills in the early years, many children still struggle with the acquisition and application of necessary knowledge and skills later on in their education, and quickly lose their love of learning.
So why do schools/parents and educational curricula not specifically teach ‘learning abilities’ in addition to knowledge and skills?
Because until recently, it wasn’t clear how to. No systematic and complete approach existed that teachers and parents could easily copy.
If you’re lucky, the learning materials your child is exposed to may accidentally teach them some of those learning abilities, but in most cases they don’t.
Developing your child’s ‘general learning abilities’ before the age of 5/6 is an invaluable hack that will make everything they learn and do later on easier for them (and you).
And all of this can be achieved through vibrant activities, shared play, simulations, role-play, stories and games – where your child doesn’t even realise that learning is taking place.
What started as a 10-year journey to ‘find the secret to giftedness and high learning capabilities’ has resulted in the development of a comprehensive curriculum of activities called Key to Learning, which specifically and systematically develops the full trio of cognitive, communicative and self-regulative abilities in 3- to 6-year-olds.
Key to Learning @Home - creating happy and highly motivated children with exceptional mental abilities, through an exciting, engaging and unique collection of 20-minute play-, game- and story-based activities for use in your own home.