In our busy lives, most of us find that our days are planned from the moment we wake up until bedtime routine begins at night. School, work, sports, after-school activities, and church events make up the parts of our days and weeks that are planned. Then there are those unplanned moments in our day that can leave lasting impressions on our children, which is where the learning really happens. Those teachable occasions are great learning opportunities, so it is important to seize those fleeting moments and make the most of them.
Teachable Moments in the Classroom
Teachable moments are usually unplanned learning due to interests, events, or questions from your child. These critical times happen in the classroom often and teachers have opportunities to zero in on the student’s sudden interest and go with it. For example, during the string of hurricanes over the last year, students naturally wanted to know more about the weather and what causes extreme weather. Teachers know to use those interests and questions to further learning in the classroom.
At our newest campus of NSCS in Hamilton, our preschoolers and prekindergarten students love these teachable moments. Our teachers provide the perfect nurturing environment to practice not only academic skills that will lead to success throughout the school years, but also instill in them the idea that imagining, creating, and wondering about the world around you can be just as invaluable as the ABCs and 123s.
Teachable Moments at Home
Parents can also use these techniques at home. There is no better time for this than during the highly inquisitive age of preschool and prekindergarten when everything is new, interesting, and waiting to be discovered.
Toddlers are especially curious about things they see around them. They are almost like little sponges that just want to learn and learn and learn. Parents can take advantage of this time in their child’s life to teach basic concepts in fun and natural ways. Here are just a few things to try at home with your little ones. If you have some ideas of your own, please share them with us as we love finding new and different ways to capture the excitement for learning at an early age.
- Make counting a part of your toddler’s daily life. Count the steps up to your house, the number of Goldfish they are snacking on, or even the number of teeth in their mouth!
- Naming items can help your preschooler understand that words associate with the things around them. For instance, name the body parts as s/he gets dressed every morning. Name the animals in their books. Name the colors, items, and actions you see all around you.
- Talk about directions such as left, right, near, and far.
- Read about things that interest your child such as the dogs you saw on your walk, the language they heard being spoken at the market, or the rainbow they saw in the sky after a rainstorm. All of these things can become teachable moments.
- Even watching television can become a learning moment. Ask your child about the characters, setting, plot, etc.
- Take pictures of the same part of your yard during each season and talk about the changes you see and why that might be happening.
- Look at the prices of items at the grocery store and how some items cost a lot and some not as much. Sort items by size, color, or any other way your child thinks they could be sorted in the cart.
- When cooking, talk about ingredients and how they come together to make something yummy.
Teachable moments can be spontaneous or something that you keep in your mind for when your child shows an interest in a concept. The key is to take those moments and make it meaningful for your child. That is when the deepest learning occurs.