Supporting Your Child’s Learning Style
A Guest Post By Beth Ann Balalaos, LICM4All Coordinator
Long Island Children’s Museum
Each and every child has a learning style that suits them best. Whether your child benefits from learning visually, logically, physically, or verbally, there are different ways you can help your child learn in the most positive way possible.
Your Child In School
Ask your child’s teachers about how your child learns best. If your child is not yet in school, you can research Howard Gardner’s Multiple-Intelligences. According to Howard Gardner, there are 7 types of intelligences that identify the way a child typically learns best.
Different Ways of Learning at Children’s Museums and Venues
Once you and your child have worked together to identify his or her unique learning style, it is important to locate resources that can further strengthen and nurture it. Children’s museums, institutions and venues typically have calendars with a number of different workshops and programs that tap into different learning styles. It is always helpful to track these programs to involve children in interactive, interesting activities that strengthen their abilities.
Many children’s venues offer tactile programs. For example, the Long Island Children’s Museum (LICM) offers Messy Afternoons. These are perfect for those who require some repetitive stimulation, those who learn through physical touch, who enjoy science, and who just love to get a little bit messy! During the LICM program, children play with a number of messy mash-ups and leave the mess behind, making adults enjoy the experience, too.
Learning Through Art and Music
Both creative and visual-learners love the beautiful experiences in art programs. Music, sounds and musical instruments are popular for children who learn through physical touch, or children who learn through auditory sound.
Physical and Kinesthetic Learners
If you find that your child is having a blast using blocks to build phenomenal structures, then your child might be a physical learner. Your child might also learn best by doing. Active learning opportunities include lab experiments, nature walks, and physical games.
Special Needs Children’s Programming and Accommodations
Be sure to contact children’s venues and ask about special needs or disability-friendly programming and exhibits. For example, all LICM exhibits are wheelchair-accessible. Our theater is also fully accessible and includes some sensory-friendly performances for children who have difficulty with the lights and sounds of a typical theater environment. LICM also features Friendly Hours, exclusive time for families of children with special needs to visit at a time when attendance is limited, and the lights and sounds in the museum are lowered.
Fun, Interactive Children’s Exhibits for All
To explore the various learning styles, consider bringing your child through exhibits to see what he or she naturally gravitates towards. Children’s museums are places for you and your children to interact, engage, and PLAY with everything you see. While you travel through the exhibits, ask your child open-ended questions such as, “Why do you think this is happening?” to gauge whether or not they understand what they are learning.
When in doubt, ask a staff member for help! If you know your child learns in a specific way, ask which areas concentrate on that learning-style. Most importantly, remember to have fun!
About Beth Ann Balalaos
Beth Ann Balalaos is the LICM4all Program Coordinator and oversees the Long Island Children’s Museums accessibility and inclusion initiatives for all its visitors. Beth Ann graduated from Adelphi University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and gender studies, and a Master of Arts in Elementary Education with an advanced certification in Special Education.