not learn in lessons.
soak in? Let me say it again, children do not learn in lessons.
they learn in layers. The lesson is just the start. It matters not if the
lesson happens at home, in school, on a piano bench, or in a soccer field. The lesson
does not do the teaching, alone. The lesson is really a small piece of the
lesson, the next layer of learning is repetition.
Children need to be taught things over and over, again. Their brains take note
of things that are repeated as an indication of importance. Learning to
tie shoes or park a car is not likely to stick with one demonstration or one
attempt. The repetition strengthens the neural pathways involved and that is what
creates the learning. The lesson might create a pathway, but the pathway does not
last and is less likely to be used if it is not strengthened through repetition.
benefits from happening in different contexts.
As a former kindergarten teacher I can attest to the truth that if school is
the only place that requires a child to tie shoes, or practice letter sounds, then
learning will be hampered. The brain wants to know that this new skill will be
used in more than one setting.
layer of learning involves modeling.
The brain is continually taking in information about what learning is important
for survival. When children see a particular skill modeled for them, mirror
neurons will fire in much the same way as when the
child performs the action. This is another way that the brain learns that something is
important. Children who intently watch an activity might learn it easier when
they try it, later.
Engagement in the lesson makes yet another
layer in learning. Young children are typically interested in what their
parents are doing and that creates engagement. If you are aware of their engagement
you can use it to continue the learning of a lesson. Older children may pretend
they are not interested, but can still be enticed to participate. The key to
this kind of engagement is that the lesson is something you are learning with your parents and not just from your parents.
The individual personality and flair of a
child makes up another layer of learning. When children are allowed to be
creative and inventive with new learning, they activate more parts of the brain
and that creates better learning.
apply the layered learning theory to the teaching of faith. This means that a
one time Sunday school lesson is not sufficient for learning about God. The
Spirit grows faith in your child in layers.
need to hear Bible stories, hymns, Bible verses, over and over, again. This can
happen in Sunday school, church, youth group, day school, and childcare. It also
needs to happen at home as well as with friends and teammates. This provides
repetition and different contexts.
children see you pray and worship. Then do these activities with them. Learning
happens when children see faith modeled, and find that faith activities are a
part of daily routines. Engagement is also created when the faith of a family
walks out into the neighborhood in the form of service projects. Let your
children help you plan your devotions, prayers, and service projects and they
will be able to add in their own ideas and perspectives.
blessed that God does not expect us to teach our children the faith on our own.
He provides us with the Word and Sacraments and sends His Spirit to make our
work fruitful. He layers us with His love. It is worth the time and effort to plan and repeat the little things of teaching the faith. With the help of God you are teaching layer by layer.