Children’s learning styles
10 November, 2021
When it comes to learning, sometimes the ‘how’ is just as important as the ‘what’. As your child grows, they will likely develop a preferred learning style – they may retain information faster if they see it on TV, or more quickly grasp concepts by acting them out. Here, we break down the four main learning styles to help you cultivate them in your children.
Different Learning Styles
Learning styles are patterns that can greatly assist with learning and teaching. The four main learning styles are visual, auditory, tactile, and kinaesthetic, and it’s not uncommon for children to prefer more than one style.
To be able to identify them in your children, it’s important to understand the different learning styles for kids. The four types of learning styles are…
People who prefer to learn visually need to see information in order to process it. Visual learners may like to utilise tools like graphs, maps, and diagrams to better comprehend information, and will typically retain knowledge when they have seen it (for example, in a movie). The visual learning style can also encompass body language, facial expressions and more, meaning visual learners often pay more attention to how people speak than what they are saying.
Typical traits of a visual learner include:
- Distracted by sounds and noises
- Enjoys reading picture books
- Is excited by actions such as nursery rhymes, hand claps etc.
- Good at spelling
- Enjoys reading directions not hearing them
To teach a visual learner:
- Use flashcards and other visual tools like pictures, charts, and diagrams
- Use demonstrations whenever possible
- Write out key phrases and have your child do the same
Those who learn better by listening are called auditory learners. They understand and remember information better when they can hear it, whether it is an audiobook, listening to their teacher, and even by reading out loud themselves. Auditory learners store information by the way it sounds, and better understand instructions when they are spoken to them, rather than if they are written down.
Typical traits of an auditory learner include:
- Whispers or reads books aloud
- Prefers verbal instructions or directions
- Enjoys singing
- Remembers names but forgets faces
To teach an auditory learner:
- Read stories or directions out loud, and have them do the same
- Use rhymes, jingles, and mnemonics
- Record information for them
Tactile learners best absorb and retain information through activities involving touch, and material that is presented in a solely auditory or visual manner likely won’t engage them. Tactile learners learn best by using their hands, so will be more likely to retain information learned through physical projects. An activity-focused approach to teaching is best for tactile learners.
Typical traits of a tactile learner include:
- Enjoys reading aloud
- Recalls what they have read
- Talks quickly
- Uses hands, touch, space and movement to learn
To teach a tactile learner:
- Have your child illustrate what they have learned
- Offer hands-on instruction
- Perform role-playing activities
Kinaesthetic learning is similar to tactile learning, though there are a few distinct differences. Kinaesthetic learners use their whole bodies while learning, and typically have a high level of gross motor skills. Kinaesthetic learners will exceed at activities like athletics, dancing, or acting but, like tactile learners, will struggle with content that is presented in an auditory or visual way and find it hard to sit still.
Typical traits of a kinaesthetic learner include:
- Moves around
- Finds it difficult to sit still
- Likes to participate in learning and teaching
- Likes to do things rather than read about it
To teach a kinaesthetic learner:
- Play charades
- Perform role-playing activities
- Do hands-on activities
How to determine your child’s learning style?
Observation & Questioning
One of the best ways to determine your child’s learning style is to observe your child and consider asking yourself some initial questions such as:
- Do they like to read books or draw pictures?
- Do they like to be told how to do something or shown?
- Do they like to participate in more active activities?
- Are they drawn to numbers, patterns or words?
- Do they find it hard to sit still?
On top of this, observe your child and the way in which they interact and play. After answering these questions and observing your child, you should be able to narrow down which learning style best suits your child.
Online Learning Style Assessment
If you’re still unsure as to which learning style your child might prefer, you could try an online learning style assessment for kids.
How To Best Support Your Child’s Learning Style?
After determining what learning style is best suited to your child, there are several ways you can support them as a parent, guardian or educator. This can include tailing homework activities and teaching strategies in alignment with how they like to learn.
However, it is important to note each child is different and more than one learning style may be applicable to your child. Many children often have a primary learning style and another secondary learning style.
Importantly, learning styles can also change and evolve over time. So, it may be useful to bookmark this blog and return to re-assess your child’s development in a couple of years!
Learning Styles at Edge Early Learning
Edge caters to all children’s learning styles and we implement an inquiry-based approach where children are encouraged to ask questions, explore new ideas and learn through play.
Inquiry-based educating is all about dynamic learning where our Educators start by posing questions or scenarios to trigger curiosity and encourage children to investigate their findings. This type of learning style is particularly beneficial in developing problem-solving and communication skills.
Fostering these skills in a child’s early years gives them the opportunity to develop stronger relationships with their peers and is therefore excellent for confidence building and preparation towards starting school.