Learning intervention is best approached from a whole-child perspective. Movement, nutrition, adequate sleep, a relaxed mind and body, encouragement and support, and appropriate instructional techniques all play key roles in a child's ability to learn.
Movement: From before birth children’s brains are making new neural connections through movement and sensory input. Much of this important movement we label as "play." Movement develops the foundations for learning and behavior.
Nutritional support : The importance of nutrition for brain development and function cannot be overstated. "Nourishing our Children" has done an excellent job of providing nutritional information for parents in an easy to understand format.
Sleep: Children’s growing bodies have different sleep requirements than those of adults. According to The National Sleep Foundation, poor or inadequate sleep can lead to mood swings, behavioral problems such as hyperactivity and cognitive problems that impact (a child's) ability to learn in school. The following are sleep recommendations for children and teenagers. For more information see "Children and Sleep" and "Teens and Sleep"
Ages 3 years to 5 years: 11 to 13 hours
Ages 5 years to 12 years: 10 to 11 hours
Teenagers: about 9 hours
Relaxed mind and body: Children may experience anxiety for a variety of reasons. Anxiety in children can look different than anxiety in adults. Some children are more prone to anxiety which may come from life situations; or from biological imbalances in the child's body. Unresolved anxiety, for whatever cause, may be a significant block to learning. Fear and anxiety trigger the survival brain responses of "fight, flight, or freeze." These responses can "trap" an individual in the primitive emotional area of the brain and block higher order reasoning. Some types of movement can be helpful for calming the nervous system, along with nutrition interventions, emotional and educational support.
Encouragement and support: Children need one-on-one time with adults who believe in them. Sometimes, rather than assistance and excessive words of praise, what is most needed is a quite supportive presence, giving a child time to solve a problem for him or herself. These types of successes create confident, independent learners.
Effective Instruction: Children usually desire to learn. If a child is not learning what is expected, then factors that may be blocking learning should be explored as well as different teaching strategies that may better fit the way the child learns.