For children to fully grasp a new concept or content, they need to have some prior information about the concept, so that when they learn about it in school, they can co-relate the new data and their background knowledge on it organically.
Not much different from the way adults learn new concepts, having some sort of background knowledge (earlier information) about a subject helps children to comprehend it better when they start finding out more about it in the classroom.
Why background knowledge is crucial for comprehension
Background knowledge becomes significant in a school-going child’s life, particularly when he/she is learning about a previously unheard of concept at school.
Without prior information on the topic, children can get overwhelmed adapting to newer concepts and attempts to try and achieve more familiarity about the subject will most likely end up nought.
So background knowledge is a good thing, right?
Yes, but easier said than done, for, having background knowledge on EVERY subject is not possible. What is possible is to have SOME information about nearly every subject.
And in what capacity can educators help children tap into their banks of background knowledge, considering the constraints of time and resources?
Below, in this article we’ll show you how we tap into the background knowledge of our children and additionally share some insights on a pragmatic system that will help you and your child, to understand the basal kinds of information that should be ingrained in children’s minds from an initial age.
TINY SEEDS – HARNESSING BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE FOR PRESCHOOLERS
At Reedsws Nursery School, we ensure that our preschoolers find a ‘connect’, an interface, between their encounters and the books that are given to them at school.
To illustrate, the teachers and educators at the Reedsws Nursery School encourage the kids to read storybooks and further then, urge them to discuss the plots of the storyline. Within this exercise, the grammar and language structure is carefully monitored by the teachers.
Additionally, the important connection between the child’s perception of the story and their comprehension of the topic/ concept finds common ground and a positive learning outcome is achieved.
For the tiny tots studying at the Reedsws Nursery School, educators have an important role to play.
They not only enable each child to SHARE from their varied wellsprings of background information but also help them in connecting the dots with the concepts taught at school.
GIVING WINGS – NURTURING KNOWLEDGE FOR THE HIGHER GRADES
For children studying in the higher classes, the teachers at SSVM encourage the children to extract information acquired in their early years and use that to bolster the concepts learned at school.
We understand that as children grow, they need to delve deeper into their bank of background knowledge and draw on higher levels of word power recognition, understanding complex topics of science and maths with greater comprehension, and make more positive touchpoints with learning.
- Information about Concepts related to STEM
- Information on religion & holy books
- Nature & World knowledge
- Knowledge about languages
As educators, we know it becomes fundamental for us to survey and comprehend how background knowledge, what the children think about a subject and the academic content can be effectively fused.
Following the process to a T
At SSVM Mettupalayam School, Coimbatore, instructors draw children in with interesting exercises that don’t just facilitate their background knowledge but also create interest in them to learn, comprehend and associate with the material at hand.
When the experiences are assembled, it is simpler to make directed learning sessions for the children, which reading material essentially can’t do.