Research shows that if children start school with a strong set of attitudes and skills that help them "learn how to learn," they will be better able to take advantage of educational opportunities. While some learning skills come naturally to children, others can be developed through a supportive environment.
Tips for building learning skills:
Seven-year-olds enjoy having the opportunity to share their knowledge with others. They display a longer attention span and the ability to tolerate less-detailed directions and last-minute changes. Seven-year-olds are curious and frequently ask adults and peers questions to satisfy their need to know. They utilize increasingly complex and creative strategies to solve problems at home and at school.
Has some difficulty making decisions and may attach great weight to seemingly simple choices (e.g., says, "But I don't know if I should wear my sandals because what if we go ride our bikes?").
Shifts in seat, jiggles legs, or fidgets with hair or clothes when required to sit still (e.g., plays with shoelaces while a classmate presents a book report).
Shows greater toleration for open-ended assignments and enjoys planning steps in the task completion process (e.g. says, "I think I am going to draw the dragon from the first part of the story. I will use glitter for the fire.").
Uses knowledge of routines to plan ahead and do work (e.g., thinks, "We only have five minutes before lunch, so I need to hurry up.").
Eager to acquire new skills and activities, but remains timid or fearful at times (e.g., says, "I do want to sleep over at Davon's, but maybe I should stay here since it is my turn to do the dishes?").
Engages in higher-level questioning (e.g., asks, "I know that the birds will fly South, but what will the fish do when the pond freezes?") and is curious about cause and effect (e.g., thinks, "If there was a blizzard, would the bus be able to get to George's house?").
Expresses enthusiasm about learning new skills at school and with peers (e.g., explains, "Jake said he would teach me how to ride his skateboard!").
Enjoys predictability of activities, but is able to cope when things do not turn out as planned (e.g., says, "I wanted to wear my green shirt today, but it is in the wash. I'll wear this striped one instead.").
Continues to seek frequent help from adults or older peers. May try to solve a problem independently before asking for help (e.g., "Should I try to do it this way? Do you think this will work?").
Continues to develop abstract thinking skills. Benefits from having the opportunity to ask questions and explain things back to adults (e.g., says, "So when I add these up, I am carrying the "1" and that is like a "ten" over here in this column.").
Creates increasingly complex scenarios in play (e.g., says, "We'll pretend we are orphans and we have no food so we have to go hunt for it").
Utilizes creative strategies for solving problems (e.g., says, "I don't know how to add these numbers up. Maybe we can use the beads to help us?")