June 1, 2022 / Blog
Three keys to active learning in preschool
Anyone who has been around children knows they love to play and be on the move. It turns out that their drive to stay moving keeps them engaged and enhances their ability to learn.
Active learning is an approach to teaching in which all children are engaged in the learning process. It involves manipulating objects and interacting with people, ideas, and events to construct new understanding.
Active learning in preschool involves having sensory motor experiences, using the body to express through movement, and developing fine motor skills to effectively support future writing performance. This happens both in the classroom and at home.
Participating in dynamic learning activities encourages both sides of a child’s brain to tap into the cognitive and sensory networks that help process and store new information.
Sensory motor experience
From birth, children learn by using their senses. Sensory motor experiences come through their five senses by smelling, hearing, touching, tasting and seeing anything in the world around them. As children explore objects, they experience direct tactile contact that enhances learning.
Tip: Incorporate a real object into the theme of the day. For example, if a book is talking about apples, bring a real apple to examine. Cut it in half and ask, “what does it feel like, look like, smell like, taste like, where do they come from?”
Expressing through movement
Movement in the classroom is more than just physical education. It’s about encouraging children to express themselves through movement – as a form of communication.
This includes activities such as creative dancing, role play, dramatic play and fun with parachutes. Use music to help get everyone moving and encourage their unique personalities to shine through.
Tip: adults should be involved in the fun! Dance like no one is watching and model movements for children to try. Don’t be shy, or they will be, too!
Developing fine motor skills
Fine motor skills are those needed to complete small tasks that require the use of the hands and fingers.
The actions that require fine motor skills tend to be more intricate, such as drawing, writing, grasping objects, throwing, waving, and catching.
Tip: help children develop fine motor skills by offering opportunities to try zippers, lacing, use playdough, eye droppers and tear paper. These skills help build strength to later hold a pencil.
Active learning in preschool is key to lifelong academic success
Kindergarten readiness and lifelong learning success are greatly enhanced when children are not made to passively look and listen to instruction. When they are engaged, they are having fun – and fun is the best way to learn! Keeping preschoolers engaged in learning doesn’t need to be complicated or overwhelming; you can incorporate activities that are done on a daily basis.
Active learning in preschool can be supported by a curriculum, like Frog Street Pre-K, by incorporating songs, action rhymes, outdoor play, suggested transition activities and special emphasis on movement.