The countdown to Primary school has started and it’s as much a nerve-wracking experience for you now as it will be for him when the D-day hits. The classroom structure is different, the teaching style is not like his kindergartens, and the homework – how will you both deal with the endless homework?
Luckily, we had a panel of experienced teachers and speakers at our recent Primary 1 seminar to dish out advice and tips to parents. The event was held at Holiday Inn Orchard City Centre on April 25.
Nick Cheadle, business development and training manager at Lorna Whiston Schools, gave a breakdown of different learning styles that kids may have and explained how knowing what your child’s learning style is can help you prepare him for Primary 1. Here are three:
Visual learners. Kids who fall under this category learn by watching. They generally enjoy art and drawing and are good at mazes and puzzles. However, they often have trouble remembering verbal instructions. Use the following strategies to help them learn:
• Use flashcard to learn key information
• Draw symbols, pictures and mind maps
• Highlight key words and pictures in their text
• Organise information in charts
• Translate words and ideas into symbols, pictures and diagram
Auditory learners. These student learn through listening. They tend to talk aloud to themselves and understand concepts by talking about them. They also work well in group settings and enjoy explaining things to others. However, because their ears are so attuned to their environment, they can sometimes be easily distracted by background noise. Follow these strategies with your auditory learner:
• Use phonics to practise reading and spelling
• Play rhyming games
• Use tapes, videos and audio recordings as teaching aids
• Use repetition to memorize facts
• Ask him to give spoken accounts of what he’s learning and recite facts out loud when studying
Kinesthetic learners. If you have a kinesthetic learner, you’ll notice that he learns by touching, feeling and experiencing, and studies best when he is moving. Communication is often coupled with gestures and movement. These kids generally have trouble in a traditional classroom format, so try these tips to help them at home:
• Build in lots of physical activity – try hiding various bits of information around the room and have them search for it to work on the task
• Allow him to move while he things and learns. For example, it might help if he has a stress ball in one hand.
• Incorporate concrete manipulatives to introduce or reinforce new information
• Allow him to study in short blocks of time with regular short breaks in between
Cheryl Chia, founder and research director at Brainfit Studio, took the stage to share the benefits of brain training. Here are three brain-boosting strategies we took away from her talk:
Exercise. It’s the only way for the body to naturally product BDNF, a chemical that acts as a natural “brain fertiliser.” It promotes the growth of new brain cells and cell connectivity, especially in the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that is essential for memory learning. Plus, exercising also enhances mood regulation.
Provide an enriched environment. Talk, talk, talk and read, read, read for an enriched verbal environment, Cheryl urges. The number of words spoken to a kid daily directly correlates to his IQ, she explained. In other words, the more words your child hears each day, the higher his IQ will be. Cheryl suggests playing listening games such as Simon Says or Broken Telephone, and to ask open-ended questions during conversations. For an enriched visual environment, Cheryl recommends ball games to develop rapid tracking, jigsaw puzzles and Lego or similar building blocks, and games that involve pattern recognition.
Brain training. When giving Junior worksheets or practice exams, Cheryl suggests using the 80/20 Rule. Simply put, the exercise should be composed 80 per cent of questions that he knows how to do easily, and 20 per cent of questions that challenge him.
(Photo: Marcos Calvo Mesa/123RF.com)