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Mougins School

The Learning Curve

Patterns of Learning: What We Can Learn from 2-Year-Olds
  • Secondary Matters
Matt Andrews

Some of you will know, I have a two year old son. It is fascinating to observe learning through the lens of a parent, as opposed to a teacher. No doubt if you are reading this your child is older, so your eye has been glued to this lens for far longer than mine but I wanted to share with you some of my own observations.

Children are incredible learners, and their early years are marked by rapid development and discovery. As parents, teachers, and caregivers, there's much we can glean from observing how 2-year-olds learn. These little learners exhibit a remarkable blend of curiosity, creativity, and determination that can offer valuable insights into effective teaching and parenting. Here are some patterns of learning from my 2-year-old that have reinforced why we do what we do in class as teachers at Mougins School:

Unbridled Curiosity: Two-year-olds are notorious for their insatiable curiosity. They ask themselves endless "whys" and eagerly explore their surroundings. This innate curiosity is a reminder that fostering a love for learning begins with nurturing a child's natural desire to understand the world. Encourage questions, provide opportunities for exploration, and stoke the flames of curiosity.

Play as Learning: Play is the primary mode of learning for 2-year-olds. They engage in imaginative play, building with blocks, and mimicking adult behaviours. This underscores the importance of hands-on, play-based learning. For older students, incorporating elements of play and experiential learning can make education more engaging and effective.

Resilience in the Face of Challenges: Toddlers often struggle with tasks like walking or speaking, yet they persevere. Their determination and resilience are admirable. We can apply this to older children by teaching them that making mistakes is a part of the learning process. I find that this is a skill that some students really struggle to maintain from early childhood and in the classroom it can be one of the most challenging characteristics to promote. Understanding that learning is not always linear and that it can be incredibly messy is a tough concept to become comfortable with.

Social Interaction: 2-year-olds are drawn to other children, and their social interactions are vital for their development. They learn from one another, share experiences, and build essential social skills. This emphasises the significance of peer-to-peer learning and the value of collaborative group work in education.

Routine and Consistency: Young children thrive on routines, and predictability brings them comfort. This highlights the importance of structure and consistency in a child's learning environment. Older students benefit from organised schedules and clear expectations.

Imagination and Creativity: Two-year-olds possess vivid imaginations and creative minds. Encouraging imagination through storytelling, art, and creative projects can be a potent teaching tool for learners of all ages.

The learning patterns we observe in 2-year-olds serve as a guidepost for effective education and parenting. Embracing curiosity, play, resilience, social interaction, routine, and creativity can help children of all ages grow into lifelong learners. By understanding and harnessing these patterns, we at Mougins School provide an environment where learning is a natural, exciting, and rewarding process.

Matt Andrews
Head of Key Stage 3, Science teacher

  • Secondary