Teach Your Kids About Bears by Tapping Into Prior Knowledge

Teaching young children is a balancing act of presenting new information and integrating it with old. If a youngster gets bombarded with too much fresh material without the needed background, she'll become frustrated and confused. She may even start to shut down, unable to learn any more. Tapping into prior knowledge is a key strategy to combine new information with old.  When you're teaching your child about bears, use this easy trick to tap into her existing knowledge on the subject, making her more relaxed, confident, and receptive to learning more. 

1. Ask your child: "What do you know about bears?" Write it on a piece of paper under the heading "Before."

2. Over a period of days (or even weeks), read many non-fiction books about bears. Make connections between what your child already knows with the new information she's learning. 

3. Take your piece of paper and write "After." Ask your child: "What do you know about bears now?" Write down her responses. Compare what she said "before" and "after." Point out all she has learned from books. Notice how her vocabulary has grown and become more sophisticated. What a difference!

Keep a library of non-fiction books in your home for your child. Include some about bears. Children love pandas because they see them in movies and television shows. This book gives facts about these magnificent creatures who hold exalted status in China.

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