“Learning by Doing” or “Active Learning” means engaging all of our senses and attention into discovering something new. ~Jean Warren
The key here is “discovering.” Children are participating in their education rather than just listening or being “taught.” In the early childhood classroom, this can look like reading a book about farming versus visiting a farm. The first is fine to develop early literacy skills, but the second is a truly engaging experience for little ones. Visiting a farm ignites the senses and involves more developmental skills. A combination of more passive activities along with more engaging activities is the perfect combination. Children need to learn how to have quiet time and listen or read, but also how to learn by moving through the world.
Books can never replace first-hand experiences. And, the most active form of learning is teaching others. When children have an experience, like visiting a farm, they love to talk about it with their families and friends. They “teach” others what they have learned thus solidifying it in their own minds.
We need to give preschool children the opportunity for active stimulation.
“…if you create an environment that encourages the learner to develop ideas from new information and to take advantage of their existing understanding around a topic then you have created an active environment.” ~James Tweed
Here are some tips to engage children in Active Learning:
- Involve children in community events such as elections.
- Use real life experiences in math activities. (Could have a “favorite snacks” poll.)
- Role-play events while teaching kindness and compassion.
- Pause and engage when reading books by asking children questions or having them act out what is taking place.
- Create analysis scenarios through steps. (The steps it takes to make a PB&J.)
- Plan activities that require teamwork and cooperation.
- Discovery activities such as nature walks.
Active Learning Versus Passive Learning: The Science