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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Concept-based Learning: General Tips to Parents

By Andrew Loh

Child experts believe that more than 60% of a child's brain development and capacity occurs within the first 6 years of life. However, what really changes that ability is whether your child undergoes a stimulating, encouraging and thought enhancing ambience while growing. To stimulate brain development in toddlers and young children, you will need to supply and give a highly stimulating and progressive learning environment right through the early years. As your child grows up, he or she will undergo a number of situations and scenarios that provide ample inputs that eventually help in forming a particular type of personality. Incidentally, most of the children learn by relating or tying certain ideas and suggestions with their experiences and life. In many cases, your child may use a number of concepts to learn lessons and draw conclusions.

Concept based learning is actually a new concept to many of the parents worldwide. Child psychologists and counselors agree unanimously that concept based learning is better than conventional classroom based system of learning. However, concept based learning is actually tricky process that may pose a number of challenges to parents.

Simply speaking, concept based learning is an intricate process when parents and teachers involve their children and students to learn things and events in an effective manner. Also called inquiry based learning, the process of learning through concepts leads to better understanding, enhanced thinking process and better attitudes. Inquiry or concept based learning is a natural process that every one of us possesses and practice. It is just that we are not really tuned to use this inherent power to achieve better results and maximize productivity.

What is inquiry?

In nutshell, inquiry is the delicate process of searching for truth, better knowledge and updated information, all by using the ultimate power of questioning, inquiring or probing. All individuals use the process of inquiry throughout their life, from their birth to death. Infants start to come to the grasp of their surroundings by inquiring; all infants have the uncanny ability to observe faces that come near them in a probing manner, they can even try to grasp objects to feel them and later put them in their mouth. Growing infants always carry on this process by assimilating information and knowledge. However, the power of inquiry in small children is still rudimentary and primitive.

Examples: Babies and toddlers have very poor sense of time and they cannot understand the importance of time as an important dimension of life. For them, the concept of time is alien and strange. However, parents can easily use a number of time related activities and exercises to teach their children the importance of time as a concept. Bring home a traditional, analog clock and show your children how the second and minute hands go around and the clock makes chiming sound when the minute hand reaches a particular point. Your child will like to feel the sound of the clock, try to hold the clock with his or her hand, gaze at the clock dial and try to assess and evaluate the emerging image in the brain.

An analogue clock is a great device to teach your children concept based ideas and activities. One of the best concept based learning process is to involve your children in one of those classic time-out games. You can ask your young child to pick up some scattered objects within predetermined time; using the alarm feature of the clock is a very useful way to set time put challenges.

  1. Ask your child to pick up maximum number of objects from the floor before the alarm bell goes off.

  2. Ask your child to write maximum numbers of alphabets or numbers before the set alarm bell.

  3. Play a pretending clock game by showing an imaginary clock and show events that relate to daily activities like breakfast time, meal time, bathing time or sleep time.


  1. Better thinking skills

  2. Better processing skills

  3. Enhancement of cognitive skills

  4. Better motor organ control

  5. Improved learning process vs difficult concepts

Caution: Concept based learning is process of repetition. Integrate this wonderful process into your child's everyday routine so that he or she can understand what is so important about concepts. Your child will take his or her own time to grasp the subject and you may not like to rush things in a hasty manner.


  1. Introduce small concepts that are easy to understand and grasp. Let the lessons be easy and simple.

  2. Be consistent whenever you introduce a particular concept. Let the concept that you introduce be uniform and consistent.

  3. Be an active player and involve yourself by working with your child

Helpful Tools:

  1. Brightly colored balls and spheres

  2. Blocks, stacking and nesting play toys

  3. Color crayons or ink markers

  4. Paints, water colors and 3-D pastes

  5. Different animal or people shapes and dolls

  6. Toy cars, motors, models and trains

  7. Simple puzzles and colored board games

  8. Activity toys like push, pull and drag toys

Finally, just remember that beneficial application of inquiry or concept based learning involves a number of factors like setting up a context for asking questions, creating a framework for these questions, bringing up focus and later creating different stages of questions. Questions are the heart and soul of concept based learning.


Child Development

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