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How Children Think and How They Learn*

1. Children learn when their physical needs are met and they feel safe and secure.

2. Children construct their own knowledge; they develop their own understanding of the world around them. Making mistakes is a part of the learning process.

3. Children have different ways of thinking at each stage of development and their thinking changes over time.

4. Content should have meaning for children; this motivates children to learn.

5. Children learn through social interactions with adults and other children; social development cannot be separated from cognitive development.

6. Children learn through play: functional play, constructive play, games with rules, and social dramatic play.

7. Learning takes place in cycle and includes four stages : (See Reaching Potentials: Appropriate Curriculum and Assessment for Young Children, NAEYC, 1992)

Awareness (to learn anything new, children have to be aware of its existence)

Exploration (to know and understand something, children have to explore it through direct experience and make it personally and meaningful)

Inquiry (children compare their own ideas to what is expected by society)

Utilization (children are able to use what they have learned and apply it to new situations)

* From The Creative Curriculum for Early Childhood, 3rd Edition © Teaching Strategies, Inc.,
Permission to reprint must be submitted in writing to:
Teaching Strategies, Inc., P.O Box 42243, Washington DC, 20015

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