LivingSignificant learning in children: what it is and how...

Significant learning in children: what it is and how to promote it

Learning is a lifelong process , although during the first years of life, this is especially important. All children learn in a unique way (there are multiple ways of learning), and that is why it is so important to adapt to each one of them.

In addition, there are many types of apprenticeships ; one of the most important, and that we will know today, is meaningful learning, essential in the academic field but also emotional, relational…

This type of learning is one that is very difficult to forget, and the one that each child actively builds. But how is it built and developed? How can we empower it as mothers and fathers? Why is it so beneficial? Discover this and much more.

The meaningful methodology

The learning that we address here is the one that is elaborated, or built, through the significant methodology. In the educational field, this is defined as that which allows one to build one’s own learning and, furthermore, endow it with meaning .

In this way, through this type of methodology, it is the child (or student) himself who is an active agent of his own learning process, that is, he takes responsibility for it and participates in it. In other words: he builds it to later internalize and understand it.

What is meaningful learning?

As we have seen, through the methodology described, significant learning is produced, which is the one that is really internalized , that is, that is apprehended (that is taken with awareness).

This type of learning is difficult to forget, and when children really internalize it, it remains part of their abilities. That is why it is so important to encourage it , because it is learning that lasts and has meaning for the child. But how exactly is it made?

How does meaningful learning occur?

Significant learning occurs in the following way: the child relates a new concept, knowledge or information, with a cognitive structure that he already has in his brain.

Thus, it occurs when new information connects with an important and pre-existing concept in the child’s cognitive structure, that is, with something that they already know and know.

What does all this imply? That the new ideas, concepts and knowledge that the child acquires will be learned in a significant way, to the extent that other important ideas or concepts are available (and related to the new learning) in their cognitive structure.

How to promote meaningful learning?

As fathers, mothers, educators, therapists… we can accompany children in this learning process, facilitating their path .

But how can we do it? We leave you some examples to start working on it:

Create a corner for each learning: learning through environments

We talk about learning by environments, which is a guide for the child’s development; It implies generating spaces and places that go beyond the merely physical , and the “standard”. Thus, it includes meeting points, where children can interact and where more communication flows than it might seem at first glance.

It involves creating, for example, a reading corner at home (or in the classroom), another for construction, another for learning letters and numbers, others to understand concepts of nature, etc. That is, each space invites you to learn a specific area .

Therefore, choose to create these spaces at home; If your child knows that each area is dedicated to a type of learning (it is not necessary to do many! Some can be synthesized), it will be easier for him to relate the environment with the specific learning and, therefore, associate ideas and build meaningful and meaningful learning.

Make him associate concepts with sounds, colors…

Another key idea to promote meaningful learning in your child is encouraging them to relate different concepts with other senses or elements.

For example, if you want to teach him the names of animals, help him discover what sound each animal makes (through videos, imitating the sound itself…). Also, to relate the animal with a color , with a skin texture, with a smell…

All this will make it easier for your child to form a much more enriched idea of what each animal is, and if, for example, one day you go to visit a farm, they will be able to relate each animal with: its name, its color, its smell… .

That is, with previously learned information, which encourages and allows building an increasingly significant learning .

Ask him questions about topics that interest him

This action will arouse your child’s attention, and will improve their motivation to learn. And as we already know, motivation is the basis of almost all learning ; if the first exists, the second is much easier and enriching.

Thus, we encourage you to ask your child questions about things that interest him, and also encourage him to discover new things, to question things , thus also developing his critical and reflective thinking.

Use stimulating resources

In line with the previous point, whose objective was to increase your child’s motivation, we bring you another idea that also has the same purpose: to use stimulating and different resources when teaching your child things.

We are talking about resources such as: movies, books, manipulative material, music, sensory material… Variety is served! In addition, today we find multiple resources and activities, increasingly innovative, whether in libraries, on the Internet, in stores, etc.

Benefits of meaningful learning

What benefits does meaningful learning have for your child? Some of its advantages are:

  • It is a tool that encourages the participation and involvement of the child in their own learning (which favors that this “activation” also occurs in other areas).
  • It increases motivation, because the child is able to appreciate their progress.
  • It favors the results in the school (at the academic level).
  • It is learning that can be implemented in any area of life (home, school …) , and that is useful in all of them.
  • It requires greater involvement on the part of the child.
  • It stimulates curiosity.
  • The child feels personally fulfilled while learning, noticing that it is part of his own process.
  • It is a learning that is difficult to forget, because it has a theoretical and practical sense (and often, also an emotional one).
  • It can favor the development of critical thinking.
  • It favors self-esteem, as the child feels more and more capable and with knowledge that acquires meaning.

It is important to be aware of these benefits of significant learning, both inside and outside the classroom, that is, in any context, because this allows us to see the importance of promoting it.

As fathers and mothers, we are also active agents in the development of our children, and for this reason, we can accompany them on this beautiful path of learning and enriching themselves with everything that the environment offers them.

Photos | Cover (pexels), Image 1 (pexels), Image 2 (pexels), Image 3 (pexels), Image 4 (pexels)

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