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The ideal age for children to start learning, and a school that makes it happen

Posted at 3:50 PM, Jul 16, 2019

Yvonne Spencer is the Utah Region Director of Challenger School, and she joined us with tips for starting children on a path to early learning.

Yvonne says, " The remarkable, rapid development of a child`s brain creates unique windows of opportunity; a child`s brain processes certain stimuli best at certain times. For example, the brain processes visual cues during the ages of 2 months to 2 years. Then, the door slams shut. If the brain does not get enough stimulation, it will not develop as well as it could. Language centers in the brain slowly close down between the ages of 6 and 11. The best window for learning auditory-verbal connections (phonics) is now; before age six."

Students must be challenged in realistic and attainable steps. When they succeed and achieve, they experience the Joy of Learning.

That's why Challenger School teaches with "whys" and "hows", not just "whats".   Students learn to make the connections to other concepts; to see the whole picture, rather than memorizing random, concrete facts. For example, phonics is a method for teaching reading that connects with spelling, reading skills, grammar, and composition skills.

Challenger teaches children to recognize their individuality and responsibility and emphasizes in upper grades how these tie in with Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The in-person interaction and relationship between student and teacher allows for a feedback loop by which a teacher discerns how well the student understands. The child begins to develop the skill of communicating her knowledge, thoughts and ideas using words, developing vocabulary and confidence. This is not possible watching phonics videos. Developing social-relating skills also requires students to communicate and mingle, playing and working and cleaning up together.

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