Washington: A new study has revealed that uninterrupted playtime between siblings is key for learning, as young children learn a lot from their older siblings.
Through the study, researchers from Concordia University have confirmed that teaching occurs naturally and spontaneously, but that both older and younger siblings initiate learning activities and that, siblings acting as teachers use a variety of instructional techniques during these informal lessons.
In six 90-minute sessions in the households of 39 middle-class families in Canada, each with two parents, the children were encouraged to play together, but not given particular instructions, to capture the spontaneous interactions between siblings.
Teaching moments included everything from learning to count, to learning how to rub chalk off a blackboard where the older siblings would launch into a teaching moment unasked, although sometimes the younger child requested instructions.
Nina Howe, Concordia University education professor suggests that parents should see value in providing uninterrupted playtime between their children and by giving them the time and space to interact together and having things in the home to promote teaching and learning, both toys and opportunities for kids to be together.
Howe added that uninterrupted time not only takes advantage of the natural sibling bond but also broadens the ways that children learn, proving the notion wrong that children only learn by being taught directly by adults.
This study was recently published in the Journal of Cognition and Development.