What is a Teachable Moment for Preschoolers – Unstationary

What is a teachable moment, and why is it beneficial

Written by Shalom Kamau


Kids are always learning. However, they tend to retain very little if you lecture them. That’s why teachable moments are so important. They can happen anywhere, anytime - when you are going to the grocery store or right at home. The idea of using teachable moments isn’t new; however, it was mostly used in classrooms. As you take a more active role in your child’s education, taking advantage of these moments is becoming more important than ever. But what exactly are they?

What’s a teachable moment?

A teachable moment is often an unplanned instance that you can use as a learning opportunity. For example, when you are watching the news and your child’s interested in a story about earthquakes. It is the perfect time to teach them more about earthquakes and other forces of nature. These moments are often spontaneous, and they happen all the time.

However, some are planned. As you spend time with your child, you’ll notice certain topics come up time and again. These are perfect instances to stage a teachable moment with a trip to the zoo, park, or stay home with one of our Unstationary Kits which covers an array of topics.

When it comes time for teachable moments, timing is everything. When the timing is right, learning will occur; otherwise, no learning will take place.  Once engaged into a teachable moment, it’s important to repeat key points during these teachable moments because what is taught and learned is immediate. For further reinforcement a visual reminder is helpful.   

The benefits of creating teachable moments

  1. They provide meaningful context

Teachable moments help turn learning from abstract notions into something more concrete. They offer a chance for you to introduce or expand on something that your kid wants to learn. For instance, by watching a pet give birth, kids can understand the process of birth better. 

  1. Learning is boundless

These moments cover so much that learning is not constrained to one area or subject. For instance, when an event goes sideways and doesn’t turn out as expected, you can turn it into a lesson on power of flexibility (we have a kit for that ;).

  1. They help with emotional development

As they grow up, kids often experience emotions that they don’t know how to deal with or how to express. Teachable moments are a great avenue for them to practice how to express their emotions properly. When your child learns how to express themselves appropriately at such a young age, they get a model of how to handle future emotional conflicts.

  1. They benefit both parents and kids

Learning opportunities are not reserved for kids alone. They happen to you too. Often, you might not know the answers to the question your child is asking; this is a great time for both of you to learn something new. The framework of these moments allows you to understand the interchange between teaching and learning.

Teachable moments are a great way for kids to learn, and even though they are mostly spontaneous, you can create them through careful planning. As a parent, try to embrace these moments because it’s when kids are ready and most curious to learn.