My sister, crazy ambitious woman that she is, is planning to hike the John Muir trail with her husband next year. It’s a massive 220 mile trek to the top of Mt. Whitney. Max elevation, 14,496 feet. Yikes!
Since my sister considers herself a casual hiker she’ll have to do a fair amount of strength training between now and then.
She’ll begin with building muscle strength in her legs.
Muscle strength alone won’t get her to the top, so she must also build up her endurance, starting slow and gradually increasing the length and difficulty of her hikes.
Will she stop there? Not at all. Hiking at sea level is one thing. Conditioning her body for the extreme effort of hiking in the clouds, well, that’s just smart planning.
What does all of this have to do with building and strengthening learning abilities?
We can look at cognitive strength training in much the same way.
Let’s imagine that you really really REALLY hope your children become strong, confident learners, not ones who end up figuratively huffing and puffing and gasping their way through their academic journeys.
You recognize that hope is not a strategy, so you set a worthy goal: help optimize their ability to learn, preparing them as much as possible for academic challenges ahead.
If you help your children develop efficient visual memory skills and strengthen their spatial awareness, can you take a pass on other important foundation skills like auditory memory?
Can you just look past their tendency to lose their place when they read? Can you ignore their habit of inattention and still expect them to learn and process new information with relative ease?
My sister knows that if she really wants to go the distance and to actually enjoy the journey while she’s on it, she must prepare her whole body. She probably has a bit of hope in there as well, but strength training in ALL areas will elevate her chances significantly.
Not only that, but she needs the proper tools with her, like ultralight hiking gear, great shoes, nutritious, packable food and water, plus the knowledge she’s gained from the experiences of those who’ve gone before her.
If your child is in the early primary grades or even just starting school, consider cognitive strength training as an important first step to going the distance.
And if your child is already starting to show signs of weakness or academic fatigue, please don’t let them struggle all the way to the end of the journey. Gather your research, grab the proper tools, and help them build a foundation that will support them all the way to the top.