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Nurturing the “Six Necessities of Learning” at Home

By: Junior Kindergarten Teachers Julie Renne, Mary Schwartz and Diane Vujnich

January 27, 2021

The quintessential early childhood educator Fred Rogers has left us quite a legacy of knowledge regarding how children learn. His Six Necessities of Learning are basic ideas — practical and simple. During these times when learning at school and learning at home are the new “norm,” it’s more important than ever that teachers and parents partner in assisting each child to reach his full potential. The Six Necessities of Learning apply to students at all ages and stages of development and are easy for parents to use as a basis for at home learning. They fit hand in hand with the social-emotional learning that Rossman weaves into every class and grade level, and they are the foundations for academic confidence. The Six Necessities of Learning are:

  1. a sense of self-worth
  2. a sense of trust
  3. a sense of curiosity
  4. the capacity to look and listen carefully
  5. the capacity to play
  6. times of solitude

All of these necessities are introduced very early in your child’s life, and most come naturally to you as you parent your child.

Self-worth is something that your child feels as you, through your words and actions, teach them that they are a valued member of your family.

Trust is built as you are consistently present, providing for your child and demonstrating your love for him.

Curiosity about the ever-changing world around him allows your child to ask questions about everything that touches your child’s mind and imagination. The love and security you provide for your child allows him the freedom to ask questions and clarify his feelings as he learns.

The capacity to look and listen carefully are learned by your child as you encourage him to make observations of the world around him, conversing about what is seen, heard or felt and allowing him to express his thoughts, ideas and feelings about what is observed.

The capacity to play is important as children learn through play, and is best demonstrated through non-electronic means. Play gives your child’s brain the opportunity to freely learn through the interactions of the imagination and the toy (or something in nature). Contrary to societal beliefs, your child does not need to have every minute of the day programmed and scheduled.

Time for solitude allows your child to relax, be alone with his thoughts and let his imagination grow. “Boredom” is one of the best ways to encourage creativity! 

These foundations for academic growth and success are present in your child at all times, just waiting to be nurtured. With these foundations in place, your child will be open and receptive to learning. By nurturing your child in this way, regardless of loss of time “in school,” your child will always be ready to learn, formally or informally. The world is your child’s classroom. Opportunities for learning are all around us — and your child is ready! 


Rossman School, nestled on a 20-acre campus in St. Louis, is a private preparatory school for students in Junior Kindergarten (four years old) through Grade 6. The school’s mission is to provide a strong, well-balanced education in a nurturing school community committed to excellence. Dedicated to developing personal, nurturing relationships with each child, Rossman’s experienced educators provide a solid foundation in academics, athletics and arts while emphasizing strong character development and leadership skills.​ Request a free Rossman School brochure here.

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