How To Help Young Children To Learn


The early years are when the majority of our brain architecture is formed for life. Until around age 6, a child’s brain is fluid, rapidly evolving, and wide open for input. Children open as many as 700 new brain nerve pathways every second during the years from birth to six. This is when we can best help a child develop a stronger, more capable brain for life.  



From birth to around six, children have a ‘Absorbent Minds’. Early childhood is a unique time of rapid learning and brain development. As the folks at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University put it:


“Early experience has a unique advantage in shaping the architecture of developing brain circuits before they are fully mature and stabilized.”


“The quality of a child’s early environment and the availability of appropriate experiences at the right stages of development are crucial in determining the strength or weakness of the brain’s architecture.”


“The exceptionally strong influence of early experiences on brain architecture makes the early years of life a period of both great opportunity and great vulnerability for brain development.”


“Early learning lays the foundation for later learning, and is essential for the development of optimized brain architecture.”


“Early learning lays the foundation for later learning, and is essential for the development of optimized brain architecture.”


Young children typically experience natural Sensitive Periods to learning about numbers and language sometime in their late third or fourth year, continuing until they are five or six. Skills are more easily absorbed during these sensitive periods than at any other time of life. If we take advantage of these naturally occurring periods of heightened interest and ability, children’s brain architecture, understanding, and life skills develop in an optimal way.


From the Center on the Developing Child:


“… specific experiences affect specific brain circuits during specific developmental stages –referred to as sensitive periods –it is vitally important to take advantage of these early opportunities in the developmental building process.”


“When one of these psychic passions is exhausted, another is enkindled. Childhood thus passes from conquest to conquest in a constant rhythm that constitutes its joy and happiness.”


Early learning activities do much more than teach math, writing, and reading. They help a child develop a positive, confident self-image and a true love of learning. This is the perfect preparation for success and fulfillment in school and life. In the early years children require varying amounts of time and practice to master various skills. A child who has the great fortune to be introduced to numbers in the early years, when he is most receptive to it by nature, acquires a marvelous foundation for all later math work. Success breeds success in skills development. A child who enters school already reading and doing basic math will experience quick success with schoolwork, setting the stage for continued success right through his entire education.



You do not need a teaching degree to help your 3-6 year old learn about numbers, fractions, and geometry. All it takes is your time, patience, encouragement, and following the sequence of activities in this article. Math lends itself perfectly to a logical sequence of activities you can easily provide while you track your child’s progress. Your child will learn about numbers in a natural, stress-free way; and acquire a positive attitude toward number work. You will have the great satisfaction of having made a positive difference in his development and future. Nice for you both!



Young children are processing and organizing millions of sensory inputs and exploring the world through movement.


“Watching a child makes it obvious that the development of his mind comes through his movements. Since it is through movement that the will realizes itself, we should assist a child in his attempts to put his will into act.”


especially children ‘take possession of the world with their hands’:


“The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence. The human hand allows the mind to reveal itself.”


All of this means that young children learn best by handling three dimensional objects and interacting directly with the real world, rather than virtual-digital or fantasy worlds. Helping young children learn is best done with materials that use real objects in interesting ways.






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