12 Things to Know About How Children Learn*
- Happy children learn more than sad children. Stress and negative emotions drain a child’s cognitive resources. Laughter boosts a child’s memory capacity.
- Play is essential for emotional wellbeing and cognitive development.
- An element of risk (risk of failure, risk of danger, risk of pain, risk of embarrassment, etc.) produces a greater sense of accomplishment and reward.
- Persistence predicts progress more than talent or intelligence.
- Children who believe they will succeed achieve more than children who expect to fail.
- Praise and encouragement help children persist.
- Criticism and punishment undermine motivation.
- Targeted feedback is essential to help kids improve.
- Assignments should be challenging but attainable with effort.
- The learning environment should be secure, comfortable, and free of distractions.
- Surround children with others who know and love them.
- Children should be free to move around, change positions, and take a break without asking permission.
*These research-based principles of learning are true for how you learn, too.