How Do Children Learn Best?
How Actively “Doing” Can Help Preschoolers Learn Best
One of the things I think about a great deal as an educator, is “how do children learn best?”
While I think there is no “right” answer to this question, I see that some children learn intuitively by observing the world around them, but most children (and adults for that matter) learn by “doing”.
The buzzword today is “hands-on learning”. This requires every teacher to set up his/her classroom environment, activities, and materials to be an experimentation of sorts. One where trial and error is encouraged, not for one time, but over many experiences and with different approaches. The process of mastery comes with many attempts at the same thing, not usually in a singular experience.
As an educator, I have given this much thought in regards to the work we do at our school. All of us, the teachers and myself, pride ourselves on “intentional planning”, where teachers are taking the time to set up their curriculum to provide rich organic experiences for children to learn through creative, open-ended, and engaging activities with multiple purposes in mind. When children feel safe and well cared for they open their hearts and minds to the learning process, take risks, and naturally want to explore.
Over many years, we have found that the individualized attention our children receive through the small, consistent class size here at The LEAP School supports the teacher’s ability to meet each child at their developmental level, while also encouraging them to move forward and arrive at their level of mastery.
So is this how children learn best? More specifically, is this how preschoolers learn best? Perhaps “best” isn’t the right word. But I can safely say that I have seen many children move through our school, learning at their own pace and achieving mastery. I have to wonder if “intentional planning” and learning through experimentation are some of the keys.
If you have any questions about how children learn best or how we use intentional planning at LEAP when it comes to learning don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our caring staff is here to help!
Robin Shapiro, MA is the founder of The LEAP Schools in the Boston Metro area. She has worked on all sides of the education spectrum—as a parent of two boys, a teacher, an administrator, and now as the founder of three growing preschools. From a very early age, Robin knew that education was the pathway to change and growth. Her passion for creating that experience for children and teachers has been a founding principle since 1985 when The LEAP Schools began. “No one is more proud of my directors and teachers than I am; their positive impact on children, parents, and each other is an inspiration for me!”