Children’s intellectual development, which is related to major developments in brain growth, has different stages. As we know that the human brain is not fully developed until late adolescence or even sometimes in early adulthood in the case of males. Parents usually expect teens to think like adults, which is not right. Because the teens are not yet capable of doing so, although some of the teens are taller than their parents. It is important that parents understand children’s learning stages and know what a realistic expectation on their children at a given age is so that parents can help the children better to be successful learners.
From birth, parents are delight with their child’s developmental progress and milestones such as crawling, sitting, standing, walking, talking, drawing and reading etc. In order to serve a child best, to help early enough to maximize the child’s ability, parents should understand a child’s learning stage.
- For preschoolers, parents should observe whether the child starts speaking on schedule, learns the alphabet and numbers, colors and shapes, days of the week, etc. The child should be able to focus a little while, think about something without the object being present by using language, follow instructions well, and play with peers.
- For kindergartners and elementary school students, observe the child’s capability in holding a pencil or pen correctly, sounding and writing letters, writing numbers and arithmetic signs well, telling time, remembering facts, following instructions, and being aware of his or her physical surroundings and being reasonably coordinated. However, a child at this stage still has a tendency to focus attention on one aspect of an object while ignoring others. During this stage the child is trying to use what he or she has learned to begin solving problems.
- For middle school students, observe the child’s capacity to memorize, be conscientious about homework, make friends, be able to be organized, logical thought, and the ability to perform multiple tasks. The child at this stage is capable of concrete problem-solving and moves toward a generalized level.
- For high school students, assess how the child responds to open-ended questions, handles abstract concepts using the principles of formal logic, works within time limits, focuses when needed, adapts to changes, and builds and maintains personal relationships with friends. At this stage the child will have no longer restricts thinking to time and space, starts to reflect, hypothesize, and theorize, and actually thinks about thinking. In addition, children need to develop cognitive abilities, which are mental abilities such as memory, comprehension, reasoning, and judgment.
Children learn at a different pace and in different ways. Many factors affect learning, examples are motivation, emotion, peer relationships, teachers, parents and social and cultural norms.