Like every kid, full-time job of my 4-year-old is to play games and mimic activities he observes from the environment. Like every parent, I think that he is an intelligent child with gifted talent. The reality is that I just didn’t know how intelligent other kids are!. If you have kids at home, you would think the same.
Recently, I started writing articles on learning to learn. One day, I became curious and wanted to understand how kids learn things and what is their primary learning technique. Does the terminology, technique sound too much in kids world? Do you think what is there to learn from kids? Trust me; you will not be disappointed.
Like any four years old, my 4-year-old can
- Use the latest gadgets ( I had to sacrifice one laptop, one tablet and two Android mobile phones till now!)
- Learn how to play games without asking anyone
- He learnt to ride the bicycle by watching elder one. (Even today his foot doesn’t touch the ground)
- Speak language with near correct grammar ( I am the babysitter at home, and I didn’t teach him grammar)
Who taught grammar for my 4-year-old
I wanted to find out the reason how he can learn these many things all by himself. More Importantly, how he can get the grammar right most of the time, even though I haven’t spent any time teaching him any of the grammar rules. If not me, then who taught grammar for my 4-year-old.
Every kid is naturally good learners at the age of 4 or in other words before getting into formal education. We spoil their learning process by putting them into education. So I wanted to find out the difference in learning at home and school to solve this learning puzzle.
I still remember, when my son started talking, he used to spend most of his time with ‘Talking Tom’ game. Now I can figure out that why he was very much attached to that game. It is because he is a ‘talking tom’. Whatever I used to say to him, he used to repeat them many times. He repeats not just the word; he will try to mimic with the same tone of my voice. When my phone rings, he will be the first to pick the call and tell ‘Hello’, the only word which he thinks, should be told over the phone.
Observation and Mimicking
Look at the above picture where my 4-year-old is cooking Biryani with plastic building blocks. When he plays the cooking game, he tells the ingredients to be added in the correct order. No one taught this to him. He has got natural interest in cooking and started observing activities in the kitchen. He enriched his learning by mimicking the cooking activity on his own.
It gave me insight on how he learnt the grammar by himself. He did not understand the principles of grammar such as past tense, future tense, etc. But he is excellent in following the pattern and what words should be used in which pattern without knowing the grammar rules. It is very much similar to how we play games. We just learn the very basic rules of the game ( example – hit the ball with a bat) and start playing the game. Though we don’t know the name of the shot, we play that shot and know when to play that shot.
Kids know that knowledge, if not put into practice, is not useful. They start practicing it right away after they learn anything new. But, we think just having knowledge is sufficient to cope up with our future. The biggest advantage of mimicking compared to reading is that when you mimic something you get very much involved and attached to the subject you are learning.
When you get involved with the subject, you practice it a lot. When you practice a technique lot of time, it becomes part of your habit and happens unconsciously. When something become a habit, it finally results as a life long skill ( For example – cooking ).
Watch how fast this four-year-old reads five books under 4 minutes.
Encourage your children to play and mimic even after they go to school. If you keep that spirits high, their learning ability can be retained at the highest possible level and will guide them to acquire skills. I am a bit scared of his current mimicking subject. He is mimicking dinosaurs after watching Jurassic World.