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:
Six-year-olds enjoy taking on new roles and responsibilities. They are able to pay attention for longer periods of time but continue to prefer structured activities to more open-ended experiences. Six-year-olds still require much direction from adults and frequently ask questions to ensure that they are completing tasks the right way. They typically are excited about going to school and learning to read, and their pretend play is increasingly complex.
Enjoys having opportunities to make decisions independently (e.g., explains, "Ms. Cash said we could pick any book we want to share.").
Has difficulty getting started with less-specific activities and may appear frustrated (e.g., says, "But you didn't say what part of the book we should draw!").
Requires quite a bit of direction from adults, but is beginning to view self as an autonomous individual capable of solving problems (e.g., thinks, "I don't know how to spell 'giraffe,' but I can go copy it from the title of the giraffe book.").
Seeks out opportunities to gain new skills and experiences (e.g., says, "Sandra takes karate. Can I sign up too?").
Asks open-ended questions to fulfill curiosity (e.g. asks, "What would happen if I put super glue on my fingers?").
Eager to attend first grade and learn to read (e.g., says, "Now I will be able to read the stories at bedtime!").
May become frustrated when events do not go as planned (e.g., says, "But you said we could go to the park! We can go in the rain!").
Seeks help, clarification, and permission from teachers or other adults. May use nonverbal bids for assistance (e.g., tugs at teacher's shirt and asks, "Where should I write my name on this?").
Begins to develop the ability to think abstractly (e.g., says, "Mommy will miss me even though she is far away on her trip to California.").
Pretend play becomes more complex. Enlists others in pretend play activity (e.g., says, "You are the dragon, and you are mad at the knight, so you come around the castle this way and attack.")
Develops creative ideas about completing tasks (e.g., says, "We can use the blankets from the attic for our fort!")