Multiple intelligences in the nursery classroom

Researchers discovered long ago, in a group led by Howard Gardner , that there are eight intelligences or areas in which people learn. Unfortunately, many classrooms are configured to uniquely focus on two of the eight intelligences: verbal-linguistic and logical-mathematical .

The objective of this article is to show the different ways in which children can learn and how these intelligences have been incorporated into the children’s classroom over the years.


What are these multiple intelligences?

  • Verbal linguistics. Sounds, rhythms and meanings of words .
  • Mathematical logic. Logical or numerical patterns and chains of reasoning.
  • Musical or rhythmic. Rhythm , tone and timbre and musical expressiveness.
  • Body-kinesthetic. Control body movements and handle objects skillfully.
  • Viso-spatial. Perceive and accurately represent the visual-spatial world.
  • Naturalist. Recognize flora and fauna and make distinctions about the natural world.
  • Intepersonal. Discern and respond accurately to the moods, temperaments, and motivations of others.
  • Intrapersonal. Access your own feelings and use them to guide behavior.


How are these intelligences applied in the children’s classroom?

Since children, being different, learn in different ways, it is important that the classroom is conducive to all learning styles. One way to do this is through the use of learning centers . Learning centers provide children with a variety of ways to explore, experiment, discover, and ultimately build knowledge.

Here is a brief overview of how learning centers use the eight intelligences.


centros de aprendizaje


Art Gallery

  • Spatial through visual representations of the world.
  • Interpersonal through effective work aimed at doing projects and sharing materials.

Center of the block

  • Spatial through block manipulation.
  • Interpersonal through effective work to construct buildings and share materials.

Computation Center

  • Spatial by using the mouse and keyboard.
  • Logic-mathematics through the use of logic in the operation of a machine.

Discovery center

  • Logic-mathematics through the exploration and discovery of natural phenomena.
  • Naturalist through the care of plants and animals in the classroom.


  • Body-kinesthetic through movement and use of bodies.
  • Interpersonal through role play, talking and communicating with others.


  • Verbal linguistics through reading and listening to stories.
  • Interpersonal sharing stories with others.

Listening center

  • Musical through songs and music.
  • Verbal-linguistic due to the association between written and spoken language.

Handling center

  • Logic-mathematics through the use of manipulatives such as cubes.
  • Body-kinesthetic through the use of fine motor skills to manipulate objects.

Water / sand table

  • Logical-mathematical through the use of concepts such as volume and capacity.
  • Naturalist through the exploration of the properties of natural substances such as water and sand.

Writing center

  • Verbal linguistics through the writing of stories, poems, etc.
  • Intrapersonal through reflection in magazines.

Technology center

  • Spatial by using the body to cut, paste, etc.
  • Logical-mathematical through the use of numerical concepts to measure and count.



The project approach, another channel to apply intelligence

Another way to incorporate the eight intelligences in the classroom is through the so-called Project Approach . The Project Approach is intended for students to take ownership and own their education and learning.

Students are actively involved in planning, researching, and developing an in-depth study of a topic of interest. They are responsible for deciding on the topic, what the project will consist of, how to implement the project and reflect on it.

It is the students’ responsibility to decide on the projects and the processes they will use . In these processes, students will take into account the intelligences with which they feel most comfortable and will use them. In this way, the classroom focuses on multiple intelligences, not only on the traditional logical-mathematical and linguistic-verbal ones. Ultimately, students will use their own learning styles to build knowledge.

The role of the teacher in this sense is to guide the children, raise some expectations, facilitate questions, encourage…. The teacher can also motivate children to use other intelligences with which to become more capable and complete learners.


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