Skip directly to content

The Hurry up Button - Communicating About Learning Styles

on Thu, 09/08/2016 - 12:51
By: Karen Cairone
My middle daughter, Ella, doesn’t have a “Hurry Up Button”.
When I think about how early in her life this little quirk emerged, I am all the way back to her infancy.  She was in no hurry to eat, no hurry to roll over, no hurry to start walking or talking.
For a while we worried about her and wondered if she had a delay that we needed to address.   While her sisters just seemed to pick up learning new skills like riding a bike, swimming, reading, and math concepts; we have discovered something really neat about Ella.  She learns these things, mostly on her own, but entirely at her own pace.  
There was no rushing her to get on that bike with mom running behind holding the seat. But then one day out of the blue she announced, “I think I’ll learn to ride my bike today.”  And she did.
I think of her as an “absorber of information” versus a “learner of information.”  She figures things out on her own, in her own time, which we call “Ella Time”. When her teachers understand this quirk about Ella, her learning experiences are a beautiful thing.  If her pace is a little slower with some things, and her depth of knowledge is great, then a good educator can continue to help Ella flourish.  When she is expected to “hurry up”… things don’t go as well— for her teachers, or for her.
Now, at age 8 – she is still on Ella Time.  I have to say, I have come to understand and appreciate Ella Time, and how her needs and approaches can be unique. I am keeping my fingers crossed that her next teacher will feel the same!
Three helpful ways to communicate with the teacher about your child’s learning style:
1. Write a short note to the teacher that describes how your child learns. Include a few examples to make your points clear such as “My child learns best when she is…” “My child does not learn well when she is…” “My child learns best by {seeing, hearing, doing}.”  You might mention that you are open to suggestions and would like to keep in touch about your child’s strengths and areas for growth.
2. Schedule a time to meet with the teacher near the beginning of school.  Come prepared with examples that help the teacher understand how your child learns, such as “Once, she was trying to learn [insert skill] and this was how she did it…”
3. Check in regularly when your child has difficulty learning a concept. You can ask,“Is there another, perhaps more hands-on, way I can help my child learn this at home?”

About the Author: For the past 15 years, Karen has been a trainer and writer for the Devereux Center for Resilient Children.  She has authored several books including Promoting Resilience in Preschoolers: A Strategy Guide for Early Childhood Professionals (2012), and Socially Strong Emotionally Secure(2011).  Karen also blogs for  

Do you have a child without a Hurry Up Button?  How do you communicate to the teacher about your child’s learning style at the beginning of the school year?

Our Learning Moments is a blog where families can share stories about their own and their children’s learning. We want to hear from you! We’ll be posting stories from families about young children’s (birth through age 8) learning moments on an ongoing basis. Please use this form to submit your story ideas!


It takes a while to get to know the children's learning style at the beginning of the year. Not everyone learns the same way.  A good reminder.