How fascinating it is to watch your child learn new words, actions, and gestures as he grows from a tiny fetus into a healthy child. All of this development happening in a being is as exciting as it is worth nurturing. Because of cutting-edge technologies coming into play, the standard of learning is slowly changing, and a child’s future is beginning to depend upon factors, like creativity, adaptability, and critical thinking, rather than on standardised academic knowledge. Therefore, learning requires new perspectives to make children more future-ready.
Young children are like clay. They take the shape of whatever they are moulded into via external stimuli and life experiences. Here’s where the parent’s role comes in. If more parents adopt ‘connected learning’, there will be more future-ready generations of children. But what exactly is it?
What Is Connected Learning? The Pillars of Connected Learning
Connected Learning is a concept of nature and nurture which reiterates the fact that LEARNING abilities of a child can be nurtured from birth itself if the child is provided with the right nutrition and stimulus.
Connected Learning is the interplay of the right stimulus, proper nutrition, and genetics. These three variables promote the child’s ability to learn and thrive in the competitive world. Since genetics are inherited and, to a major extent non-modifiable, it is the stimulus and nutrition that can be modified for connected learning. Nutrition is responsible for building the blocks of the brain and body of a child. Proper nutrition leads to improved mental, physical, and social and emotional development. Proper stimulus, on the other hand, is required to enhance the process of learning in a child, starting from birth.
How a Nutritious Diet Influences a Child’s Connected Learning
Nutrition is directly proportional to a child’s mental, socio-emotional and physical development. It has the potential to influence the child’s academic performance and behaviour. Therefore, a diet rich in nutrients is said to do well in the context of the child’s growth. Nutrients, such as phospholipids (generally found in breast milk), lipids, folic acid, DHA, ARA, iron, choline etc., are important to be present in a child’s daily intake.
To summarise, children with better nutrition intake are said to excel academically, solve complex issues, and show positive behavioural outcomes, including empathy and self-control. And since nutrition is one of the modifiable factors for connected learning, parents and caregivers can take care of it by providing children with healthier choices.
Stimulus: Connected Learning Activities for Children
Children learn social and academic skills easier when they are in a connected and supported environment. This is because they get confident when they engage socially. The following activities are certainly fun and inexpensive and designed to boost your child’s motor, communication, and socio-emotional skills.
1. Counting in the Kitchen
Make cooking fun by including some mathematics. While you prep the meals, you can ask your child to count the number of ingredients or utensils you use while cooking. You can also get creative by asking your child to recognise the things present in the kitchen and name them or ask him to check whether all the plates have an equal amount of serving or not.
2. Creativity Corner
You can make your child enhance his imagination and creativity by giving him colouring books, colour pencils, markers, crayons, erase boards, blank sheets, etc. To boost his imagination skills, you can give your child a dedicated creativity corner, like a separate chair and desk in his room. When he sees new colourful objects, he will definitely want to use them.
3. Encourage Role Play
Role play has significantly proven to tap the creative side in a child. You can start a make-shift restaurant in your kid’s playroom and ask him to choose roles either of a chef, a customer, or a helper. You can also start a departmental store in the playroom using basic things at home like a comb, tissue box, and torch. You can ask him to choose a role and act accordingly.
4. Caregiving Play
Children can learn to care and nurture by focusing on their feelings and practising caring behaviour. You can set up a crib full of stuffed toys, water, toy food, etc., so that your child practice the exact behaviour of caring with his toys as he watches you caring for him. This will enhance his social and emotional skills.
5. Bedtime Fun
Storytime session is an effective activity to boost your child’s recognition skills. While reading a storybook or an ABC book, you can ask your child to recognise the images, letters and their meanings at frequent intervals. This activity will help him enhance his vocabulary as you name and define each letter and image in the book.
6. Set up an Imaginary World
Sit with your child in his playroom and ask him to pretend that he is a magical land, a zoo, school bus, underwater, or a beach. You can drive the participation by asking your child basic questions like what he sees in his imaginary world: “Can you see a zebra in the zoo?” “Can you see the fish in the water?” “What is it doing? Is it eating or playing?” “What are you? Are you a fish or octopus?” This way you can encourage his communication skills and see his capability of imagination.
Connected learning can be called the new paradigm as it customises education to the needs and interests of the child using a supported network. It incorporates values of social belonging, empathy, creativity, and participation for your child’s future-readiness.
If you have any questions regarding connected learning or your child’s nutrition, make sure you connect to your child’s paediatrician or a child psychologist.