What is intelligence?

When asked that question, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For many of us, we think about academic intelligence – proof of which is usually indicated by the grades we received in our educational experience.

The knowledge needed in the future is unknown. The world is ever changing and at a rapid pace too. Instead of educating children with a prescribed outline of what an adult thinks they should know, perhaps we could start by critically reflecting on our own views of what we actually think intelligence is.

Within our course Raising Play, we talk about the idea of multiple intelligences. Howard Gardner provides us with research and theory that summarises nine different intelligences. Each child will be innately stronger in some areas than others.

These nine intelligences are:

  • Music (use of music, rhythm and sound)
  • Visual spacial (ability to think in images and pictures)
  • Verbal linguistic (the use of language and words)
  • Body kinesthetic (awareness of our body in space, movement control)
  • Interpersonal (attentiveness to others)
  • Intrapersonal (attentiveness to self)
  • Logical mathematical (logical thinking, use of numbers)
  • Naturalistic (knowledge of the natural environment)
  • Existential (deep reflection of human existence)

Gardner’s view is that each child is inherently stronger in one or some intelligences than others. If we step back and consider this at a collective level, the very survival of us as a human species is dependent on different members within a community having different expertise and knowledge. It is not possible for one person to excel in every area, we are social beings and the uniting energy of intelligence collectively is what serves each community member.

With this knowledge, I encourage you to observe your own child with an open mind and heart. What intelligences can you see unfolding in them? How can you support their unique intelligences and guide them in becoming the person they were born to be?

For more guidance on deeply understanding child development and supporting your child through play, join the waitlist for our course, Raising Play, here.

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