What is the Active Learning Approach?
The active learning approach is an instructional method that puts the students in control of their own learning. Students actively participate in learning and construct their understanding of the content material.
What Does the Active Learning Approach for Young Learners Look Like?
Some might feel that older students are better suited for the active learning approach, as they are more able to make decisions about how they learn best. But that is not true. Young learners are equally as capable of making connections between their prior knowledge and new concepts.
Young learners learn actively through a play-based curriculum. During play, young learners choose what they play with and the level of engagement. This allows young learners to make discoveries and connections about concepts that eventually become building blocks for academic skills. For example, when students are building with blocks, they are exposed to mathematical concepts such as counting and geometry. When young learners do arts and crafts, they practice their fine motor skills. When students are engaged in dramatic play, they develop their communication skills.
3 Ways to Incorporate the Active Learning Approach with Young Learners
1. Student Choice
Giving young learners choices is a great way to put them in control of their own learning. Examples of choices to give students include writing utensils, play stations to be available, which play station to start, and which story to read.
2. Interactive Read-Aloud
Young learners love to be read to. Instead of having young learners sit still and listen to a story, consider supplementing interesting books with an interactive element to keep students engaged. For instance, use pictures/puppets to guide students to identify the various aspects of the story and turn read-aloud into an engaging active learning opportunity.
3. Child-Determined Play
As described, developmentally appropriate free play allows young learners to develop building blocks for academic skills. Make sure your schedule allows for child-determined free play!