Play-based curriculum modules is broadly recognized to be a key measurement of powerful early learning. When educators deliberately arrange STEM encounters (concentrated on key ideas and abilities), it allows youngsters lead the pack in investigating, and ask open-ended questions that allow kids reflect, develop their own speculations and inquiries, and investigate more.
By using tactile or kinesthetic learning based learning, educators are fostering 21st Century skills. Critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity are all skills that students need in order to be successful in life. Hands-on learning provides encouragement for lifelong learning and motivation to explore new things.
Karen Worth, Chair of the Elementary Education Department at Wheelock College and science advisor for Peep and the Big Wide World observes, “For young children, science is about active, focused exploration of objects, materials, and events around them.”
There are many benefits for Hands-On Teaching:
o Builds Language Skills: By linking visual learning to what is being said, children are encouraged to discuss and debate processes and outcomes. They are verbalizing and explaining their thoughts with each other to discuss different possible outcomes. Hands-on learning teaches children the art to ask good questions.
o Develops Critical Thinking skills: Students learn both content and various thinking strategies when investigating. Problem-based approaches to learning are provided when hands-on activities are performed. Focus on the experience and the process helps children solve problems and bring them into the realm of logic and analysis.
o Teaches Collaboration and Teamwork: Collaboration and teamwork are part of our everyday society. Learning this at an early age can bring many benefits to one’s life. It teaches them to develop certain guidelines when working together such as developing rules, taking turns when speaking, be flexible in your thoughts, and be patient with others. Negotiation techniques also play a big part in collaboration. Maybe one child gives on this little part to gain a bigger piece later. You may (or may not) be surprised at how quickly children learn the art of negotiation when working with others.
o Makes learning fun Have you ever taken a 4 year old to an Art Museum? Probably not. And why is that? We all know when we tell a child not to touch something, they will reach for it eventually. Educators modeling an activity rather than engaging children in the activity is extremely boring for them. Children will want to engage in their education if they are having fun while learning.
o Improves focus and engagement: Hands-on learning forces children to engage in the activity as well as problems and solutions. They will manipulate the robot until they get it walk across the room by themselves. How many times has your little one said “can I try it?” Engage them and they will ask for more.
As with many great things in life, there is not only one method for accomplishing a goal or getting things done. That is true with teaching and learning styles as well. Not all children learn in the same matter or at the same time. Multiple teaching techniques are required in almost any classroom. Hands-on activities certainly is more fun and provides children with the opportunity to explore the world themselves. When done collaboratively, hands-on learning also engages auditory (talk about what they are doing), visual (see what they are creating) and social (asking questions and engaging in conversation) learners.
We have seen hands-on activities let children become teachers. “When students explain and demonstrate skills to each other,” says Sheldon Horowitz, EdD, director of professional services for the National Center for Learning Disabilities, “they are validating their understanding of the material being learned and, often in ways that adults are less successful, helping their peers to build and master new skills.”
As you plan your next family adventure, consider incorporating hands-on activities to engage your child(ren) and learn new things along the way.