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How kids can benefit from learning many different things
Young kids can easily learn many things and become better learners and more creative in the process.
Personally I found playful learning to be the best activity to educate and bond with my kids.
At times it is more challenging than other more entertaining activities but overcoming challenges helps us know one another deeply.
I am also happy to see my kids proud to become more resourceful and grateful I helped them achieve it.
Here below three specific benefits of learning many different things:
1. The earlier, the easier, the better!
Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression. Haim Ginott
Kids learn faster, with little effort and retain longer; they are naturally better learners. One way of taking advantage of this temporary superior ability is by helping them learn as much as they can, about as many things as they can.
Children quickly adapt to stimuli and thrive in any type of environment thanks to the higher level of plasticity of their brain and neuromuscular system and to the higher flexibility of their muscles, tendons, ligaments and cardio-respiratory system.
Adults instead need to apply intense effort and focus to learn, and can only achieve big changes through a series of slow incremental improvements (Linkenhoker & Knudsen, 2002).
For example, my daughter started on a balancing bike when she was 2 and learnt to ride a bicycle when she was 4. Last week she was complaining that when she rides at super slow speed the handle bar doesn’t remain straight but moves left and right. She was blaming the bike and couldn’t realize that it was her, instinctively moving the handle bar left and right to keep the bicycle balanced. Since she started so early, balancing a bicycle has become an involuntary reflex she cannot control. Now she can fully focus on a new skill like avoiding obstacles.
2. Stay fit for learning
The only constant in life is change. Heraclitus
It doesn’t matter what children learn as long as it helps them train to become better learners, able to quickly adapt to changes and even be actors of change.
It is empowering, it builds confidence, confidence that no matter what happens they will always be able to achieve whatever they aim for and enjoy the process, too.
Learning exercises their minds and bodies, pushing them to explore the world outside of their comfort zone, keeping them physically and mentally healthy, curious, interesting and alive.
Learning many different things engages multiple areas of children’s body and brain, acquiring a general level of fitness that keeps them ready for any future challenge and newly discovered passion.
It helps develop general learning skills like: higher range of motion, coordination, improved memory for different things (shapes, melodies, movements, concepts…), sharper filtering mechanisms to focus on what is meaningful depending on the context, higher endurance to different types of efforts, intuition for understanding mechanisms and strategies.
For example, we are moving abroad and schools require a minimum level of fluency in English. Since my daughter learnt to read French at 4 she is learning to read English much faster, facilitating verbal comprehension and fluency.
3. Diversity favours creativity
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist. Pablo Picasso
Creative ideas result from the novel combination of two or more ideas that have been isolated from their usual association and context. In fact a long time of information acquisition is needed before creativity can emerge (Radford 1990).
The farther apart the components are, the more creative the idea is. Universality is one of the characteristics of creative people.
Creativity requires: 1) a large pool of elements to form associations, 2) speed to produce many associations, and 3) a good comparator to eliminate inappropriate solutions.
Learning different subjects and skills helps provide exactly the large pool of ideas needed to be creative. The rest is about constantly practicing to make valuable creative combinations.
Personality has also a powerful influence on creativity at comparable levels of intelligence. Creativity is highly correlated with self-confidence, sociability, perseverance (Terman and Oden 1959).
These personality traits can be improved through experience and practice. And learning new things is a good way to train those traits.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it!