By Sandy Hooda
These are times when smartness and creativity lead to success and parents and best schools in Gurgaon have realised the importance of these 21st century skills above academics. Some Top Gurgaon schools have introduced problem based and project based learning methodologies to help their learners develop these essential skills.
However, a parent’s role is most vital in nurturing their child’s smartness and creative quotient. It is easy to raise an intelligent child if we start early and maintain a healthy learning routine at home. Here are a few tips:
I cannot stress enough on the importance of reading with children at home. Start early, when they are a few months old. Start with sensory books for babies and then move on to board books for toddlers. Ask questions! Even older readers can be engaged in intelligent post-reading discussions by asking questions about what they infer and how they would have planned the ending or the setting. But for older children, it is important to expose them to different genres of books – non-fiction often gets overlooked but this genre helps improve the intelligence quotient.
Questioning is an important means to develop critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and emotional quotient. Observe how children naturally ask questions about everything. Don’t let the spark die out. Instead kindle it with your own questions. I once had a collection of small plastic bottles and I asked my little one what we should do with them. He came up with the idea of making a train by joining many such bottles. He also gave his ideas about how to join them together- should we use tape or glue; how should we use the caps, and so on. Older children can think about how to make a working model of the train! And you have a project-based learning opportunity right there.
Taking academic learning forward:
Music and sports:
Explore the outdoors:
Many students are able to cope with academics better because there is some sort of reinforcement at home. Of course, we as parents keep track of what’s going on in school and make sure that our children are up-to-date with their assignments and tests. But this just allows them to cope. In order to excel, they need to see real-time application of the concepts they study in school. Why did the milk curdle? What’s the difference between the shape of leaves in two different trees? Why do cows keep chewing? How do simple motors work? How does a GPS work? What is the history of the city we live in? Meanings of new words? Visiting the art or the science museum. There are innumerable opportunities to reinforce concepts outside of school.
While listening to music has a calming effect on the brain and helps relieve stress, studies show that learning to play an instrument builds cognitive abilities. The same is true for sports and outdoor activities. Taking music lessons leads to improved aesthetic sense and reading comprehension skills while sports teaches valuable life lessons of discipline, patience, perseverance and team spirit. Studies have shown that children who take serious music or sports classes have better academic performance too. You will find that the top Gurgaon schools have excellent sports facilities and a strong arts department because they realise their value.
Allow them to be adults:
Children love to imitate their parents so give them tasks which allow them to feel like a responsible part of the household. These could be simple chores such as cleaning the car or buying vegetables, or lending a helping hand in home repairs, painting, buying furniture etc. Talk about budgets, choices, pros and cons of any decisions, and so on. These activities encourage children to think more creatively and like adults, thus improving their intelligence quotient.
There are many more such activities that we can do with our children. I have written about those in an earlier blog titled ‘Ways to improve your child’s listening skills’.
There are many learning opportunities available through outdoor explorations. Growing children should be provided with hands-on learning experiences through nature walks, hiking, visiting the zoo or the parks, cycling or swimming. Outdoor activities are most helpful in building stamina and endurance and also in teaching children to be empathic and tolerant towards nature and animals. I know as a teacher that many students just don’t have the endurance or patience to do an outdoor activity for more than a few minutes. It is a huge deterrent to confidence and personality development.
With the New Education Policy 2020, CBSE schools in Gurgaon are adopting new teaching methods. As a top CBSE school in Gurgaon, combining academics with experiences (exploration), inquiry (asking questions) and projects (learning by doing), the goal is to develop children to their potential.
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