Learning Goals for Your Child

Learning Goals for Your Child

Learn­ing goals for early child­hood edu­ca­tion include knowl­edge or under­stand­ing, skills, dis­po­si­tions and feelings.

To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.” ~ Kofi Annan

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You’re respon­si­ble, as a par­ent, for con­tribut­ing to set­ting learn­ing goals for your child. Knowl­edge or under­stand­ing, skills, dis­po­si­tions and feel­ings are the four types of learn­ing goals. Your role is to help your child acquire knowl­edge, mas­ter skills and develop dis­po­si­tion to use knowl­edge and skills. Remem­ber that if the learn­ing process is not enjoy­able or fails to help acquire knowl­edge or mas­tery of skills, the approach is not appropriate.

Knowl­edge or understanding

Con­cepts, ideas, facts, schemas, infor­ma­tion, sto­ries, cus­toms, myths, songs and other con­tents of the mind are knowl­edge to be acquired. Social, phys­i­cal and logico-mathematical are the cat­e­gories of knowl­edge goals for early child­hood edu­ca­tion. Remem­ber that it’s impor­tant for your child to under­stand the ideas to fully know its impli­ca­tions. Know­ing the days of the week, for exam­ple, is inad­e­quate to under­stand its implications.


Skills are small, dis­crete and rel­a­tively brief units of behav­ior. Skills can be observed from behav­ior. Skills such as draw­ing, cut­ting or problem-solving can be learned.


Dis­po­si­tions – endur­ing ‘habits of mind’ – are ways of respond­ing to var­i­ous sit­u­a­tions. Curios­ity, mean­ness, solv­ing prob­lems or gen­eros­ity; for exam­ple, influ­ence how your child will respond to var­i­ous sit­u­a­tions. Remem­ber that dis­po­si­tion is not an end-state to be mas­tered, but a con­sis­tent pat­tern of behavior.


Feel­ings are emo­tional or affec­tive states. Exam­ples of feel­ings include self-esteem, con­fi­dence or feel­ings of incom­pe­tence. Feel­ings could be tran­si­tory, endur­ing, intense, weak or ambiva­lent. Remem­ber that atti­tudes and val­ues influ­ence feelings.


Smidt, S. (2010). Key Issues in Early Years Edu­ca­tion. Rout­ledge. Madi­son Avenue, New York.