Keys to Learning

Below is a summary of thirty-one Foundational Principles discussed on this website.

1. The Principle: Becoming aware of letter sounds (phonemic awareness), emphasis on one syllable over another, pitch, and volume, all contribute to the development of oral language skills … and all add to the strengthening of the neural language highway. When a child achieves reading readiness and begins to make the transition from oral language to written language, it is upon this foundational knowledge base – through these neural language highways – that he develops the skills for reading. How Young Children Learn.

2. The Principle: Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) theorized that a specific series of needs must be met before any child could learn. Current brain research confirms his theory. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

3. The Principle: There is a time in the learning process when neural connections are being constructed, organized, reorganized, and assimilated. Recent advances in neuroscience confirm what many parents and teachers have known for decades: students experience occasional memory lapses as a normal part of learning. The Phenomenon of Assimilation.

4. The Principle: By pre-exposing the child to new information, the brain has an opportunity to form new patterns prior to instruction. Prior Knowledge.

5. The Principle: Studies confirm that “mind mapping” strengthens developing neural pathways and increases memory and organization of thought. Mind Mapping.

6. The Principle: A broad range of neural connections and pathways produce or reproduce both positive and negative experiences or associations, which ultimately affects learning. Physiological Memory.

7. The Principle: Parents often bear burdens so heavy that what is right before them becomes obscured. Yet, to the trained observer, the innate, iridescent glow of a child’s gift is unmistakable. Gifts and Talents.

8. The Principle: Our never-changing directive to promote well educated children of excellence includes recognizing and encouraging evident gifts. This includes managing the passion that is generated from this inner calling, for it is this passion that fuels the learning that must take place as the child becomes skillful in fulfilling his purpose. Let His Git Flow.

9. The Principle: Young minds often form worldviews tainted by the need for uniformity. This herd-mentality originates from a tendency to compartmentalize thought, a lower order thinking skill. As one’s cognitive structure becomes more complex, analytical thinking emerges. It is through this critical – higher order – thinking skill that an inclusive mindset is formed. Cultivating an Inclusive Mindset.

10. The Principle: Parental example is the primary standard by which young children measure acceptable behavior. What they see and what their friends see is what they will become. Therefore, if we want our children to be decent, disciplined adults, guided by an inner compass of moral integrity, we must be watchful for opportunities to demonstrate – on purpose – the eight character markers that ensure a good life. Transferring Values.

11. The Principle: Throughout the developmental process, children attempt to compartmentalize their world, including sorting out what is acceptable and what is not. Lying can be an indicator to the watchful adult that there is a need for instruction, reassurance, or another issue the child cannot yet verbalize. Lying can also indicate that there is confusion about truth and its ethical standard. Embroidered Truth – Lying.

12. The Principle: New experiences can bring a child fear of the unknown – especially if he has already lived through situations where he was unprepared (unpleasant travel, a hospital stay, new divorce arrangements, etc). When a child knows what to expect ahead of time, he is less likely to experience fear. Preventing Fear.

13. The Principle: Fear contradicts neural pathways by releasing chemicals that inhibit learning. When considering cognitive development, it is vital that we remember young children cannot differentiate between fact and fantasy. Dealing with Fear.

14. The Principle: The sting of not being valued by peers can plant seeds of unworthiness and self loathing deep into a child’s soul. To counter this pain, turn the focus away from the incident by focusing on how to express compassion toward other victims of isolation. Dealing with Rejection.

15. As the school year progresses and academic demands increase, many students find themselves in need of a little encouragement. Tenacity.

16. The Principle: A child’s brain sets markers for literacy during his first year of life through the influence of emotional relationships. Subsequent connections add to this pre-reading foundation until the child begins to make the transition from oral to written language. Literacy Development – Part Two

17. The Principle: Each dialog in this article adds to a young child’s language neural pathway. It adds to his vocabulary vault. And it adds to his foundation for fluent language and skilled literacy. “If children cannot master the fundamentals of language during their preschool years, they are greatly at risk for educational achievement, particularly for reading skills.” Emergent Reader – Part One

18. The Principle: Building a strong foundation for literacy begins with a variety of oral language experiences. Learning how to manipulate language comes first. Learning how to enjoy language comes next. Emergent Reader – Part Two.

19. The Principle: As a child begins to make the transition from oral to written language, he begins to notice the same few words that are in every story. These high-frequency words or sight words include such words as “I, me, a, the.” These sight words are often grouped in lists, by difficulty and grade, to help educators determine the reading level of the child. I Can Read.

20. The Principle: Rhyming is one of the last auditory discrimination skills (the ability to differentiate between and among letter sounds) that an emergent reader develops. In fact, rhyming is not an ability that is automatically acquired – it is a skill that must be taught. A Rhyme in Time.

21. The Principle: By third grade, much of the curriculum, (social studies, math, and science) requires students to be very capable readers. Negative experiences can hinder the development of this vital skill. One study shows that in order to set the stage for vocabulary development and skilled literacy, a child must absorb rich, home-related language experiences by the age of 3. Literacy FAQ for Parents.

22. The Principle: How the brain organizes new information dictates the way in which the alphabet, or the concept of literary genre, or folk tales should be taught. Literacy and Homeschooling FAQ

23. Four articles discuss Parenting in a Changing World.  Whether you are an educator, parent, grandparent, or you contribute to children’s lives in some other way, you will find these foundational principles, based on God’s Word, vital in today’s world. Parenting in a Changing World.

24. The Principle: The quest for order in a child’s room must never replace the need to cultivate intellect. “The probability that a child who is a poor reader at the end of Grade 1 will remain a poor reader at the end of grade 4 is 88%. In short, remediation is not the answer. Successful readers begin as infants, surrounded by language-rich environments.” Smart Room, Smart Child.

25. The Principle: Homework is the opportunity to reinforce skills learned earlier in the day. It is an occasion to facilitate cognitive restructuring and fortify neural connections. Homework!

26. The Principle: Managing the disruptive behaviors of young children takes some understanding and skill. Because children draw a direct correlation between being good and being loved, unconditional love is not assumed. Cognitive development does not yet allow for analytical thought, therefore this concrete assumption that love is no longer available causes the emergence of fear. Disruptive Behaviors.

27. The Principle: By applying standard business management techniques to parenting, many of the control issues parents face would be eliminated. Developing Leaders.

28. The Principle: The act of illustrating and interpreting a story through imagination is one of the joys of reading. In addition, illustrating a story promotes the development of these eleven literacy skills. The Imagination Station.

29. The Principle: When provided with the appropriate tools, children will develop a sense of ownership and control over their own learning. To this end, we invite you to print these mini-books your child can read and illustrate – independent of adult assistance. TRAILS.

30. The Principle: Speaking to young children using quantitative terms, which are abstract and require a developmental level young children have not yet achieved, can create frustration. The medical community may want to avoid conceptual language and revert to a more concrete vocabulary. To the Medical Community.

31. The Principle: The studies mentioned in this article prove that multi-tasking damages the brain. It is contrary to basic cognitive function. Neural stimuli, competing in such an environment, prevent the brain’s synapses from strengthening. For our children who are rapidly developing neural pathways, multi-tasking should not be encouraged or taught. Multi-tasking.

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