How children Learn

This post was created by Anne Sterling, who attended my workshop at Crunchy Granola Baby.  Anne is starting her own blog that will discuss some practical techniques to help children learn math.

This morning I was lucky enough to be part of a conversation at Crunch Granola Baby in Salem, MA led by Dr. Gerald Gould or Jerry as he would rather be called. Jerry advocates development of the six senses sight, taste, sound, touch, smell, kinesthetic as pathways to brain for learning. Sensory input from the six senses comes in through the child’s body (hands, feet, eyes, ears, taste, etc.) and creates a track from the sensory organs to the brain. Information travels to the spinal cord through the fingers and arms causing more brain connections to grow. The more inputs to the child’s brain using all six senses the larger will be their capacity to learn.

The child will naturally become interested due to their abundant curiosity; they seek our sensory stimulation, which in turn builds the sensory pathways to the brain. Getting information from the world and using it to understand is how children’s brain learn naturally. Creating these pathways of neurodevelopment in turns stimulates the development of even more neuro pathways; while lack of sensory stimulation dulls the child and stunts their development. Children get better and better at each task as they repeat their exploration. Children’s brains are so open that children create habits out of nothing, so why not pattern their brains to learn using all six senses. Learning through traditional speech and memory are different than learning through sensory information and is easily forgotten. Nurturing helps the brain to learn in a very physical and real sense because it builds strengthens neurological connections. Memory tracks are created in our neurology by repetition and stimulation.

Children learn best when the information becomes relevant to them. How does this occur? Make it interesting by engaging all six senses, not just speech and memory. This is how children’s brains function, so take advantage of the six senses when providing math and arithmetic learning opportunities for children. Get their bodies involved, use blocks for counting, addition and subtraction. Use pails, sand and water when teaching volume and space (geometry). Fill things up, empty them out, and rearrange objects (spatial awareness). Take objects away and add them back (addition and subtraction). Ask the child to guess how many will be left, then count the remaining blocks to see if he/she was correct (estimation). Use colors and sizes to sort objects into groups (graphing). Have the child stack boxes side by side to see which tower is higher and which is shorter (number sense). Create groups of blocks; ask the child which group is larger and smaller (number sense). Only after these playful concepts are real and relevant to the child, does relating them on paper as symbols (numerals) make sense. You want to engage all six senses so that the child does not simply memorize the symbols; but actually understands what is meant by each symbol and how that relates to their world of bigger and smaller; less and more.

To learn more about Gerry Gould and Hamilton-Wenham Family Chiropractic visit

Crunch Granola Baby in Salem, MA