Remember the feeling of exhilaration you had the day your baby was born? You gazed at his tiny face, amazed by that absolute perfection and innocence. Did you suspect that he was already hard at work, examining his world, collecting information and beginning to construct the foundations of his future self? As babies, children begin to experience their world by moving, touching and tasting. They listen, they observe and begin to make sense of their environment. Multi-sensory learning provides maximum opportunities for infants to expand their knowledge of the world around them.
Learning styles are typically described under three basic categories: kinesthetic, visual and auditory. All new information comes into the brain through the five senses and each one of us has preferred modes of processing that information.
Some of us learn best by touching, some by listening. Visual learners rely largely on their sight to take in information. Some people may be strong in more than one area, however most people learn best in one or two preferred modes. Lauren Bradway, Ph.D., a Speech Language Pathologist and author of the book How to Maximize Your Child's Learning Ability, refers to the three styles of learners as Lookers, Listeners, and Movers.
"Knowing about all three styles," says educator and counselor Dr. Linda Budd, author of Living with the Active Alert Child: Groundbreaking Strategies for Parents, "will enable you to help your child strengthen skills in the areas she does not naturally favor, so that she gains other pathways to information."
Infants begin honing their visual skills from an early age. Long before they can organize their physical movements they are taking in information about their world. Your daughter may not be able to control her arm or hand movements but this tiny baby is exploring a great deal with her eyes. Newborn babies will stare at faces that are 8 to 12 inches away and can track objects that are moved slowly across their visual field. Researchers have found that they prefer simple shapes and patterns, particularly those that contrast against a background color. Studies have also found that infants can even imitate facial expressions when they are just three days old! They eventually learn to recognize familiar and unfamiliar people, they distinguish shapes, sizes and configurations of objects around them.