SchoolFamily Voices

Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Child’s Learning Style

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Girl playing keyboardAt this time of year parents often ask me for gift suggestions that promote learning. So often, a successful gift of this type depends on your child’s learning style. So here are a few gift ideas for visual, auditory, or "hands-on" learners.

For visual learners:

  • A beautifully illustrated, colorful, non-fiction book in a subject that interests your child. For example, pandas or any other animal of interest, planets, how things work, feelings, or dinosaurs.
  • An Art Box, full of crayons, markers, stickers, paints, and lots of different size paper.
  • Some educational non-fiction, age appropriate DVD’s about whales, penguins, pets, and other subjects of your child’s interest. National Geographic is a good resource for these types of videos.

For Auditory Learners:

  • A personal CD player with non-fiction books on subjects of interest to your child. Child appropriate music CD’s, for example the songs by Bill Harley, Steve Roslonek, or Laurie Berkner.
  • A child’s size "beginners" guitar, keyboard, or karaoke machine.
  • Age appropriate, non-fiction DVD’s. Again, National Geographic is a good resource.

For "Hands-On" Learners:

  • Touch and feel books that have a texture component like "The Very Busy Spider" by Eric Carle, or "Pat the Bunny" by Dorothy Kunhardt . Or an Origami instruction book with paper, for folding and creating.
  • Play-Doh and clay baskets with a set of cookie cutters, wavy-cut scissors, and craft sticks.
  • Legos! Lots and lots of Legos! These will keep a "Hands-On" learner productively busy for a long time.


#1 carol williams 2010-11-29 20:59
Guitar is wonderful idea for a gift for the auditory learning child, and may be the start of a lifelong passion, or one that the child will come back to as a social skill in the rough teen years. The sound of a guitar is much gentler on a parent's ears than a drum set or wind instrument!

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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?