The importance of experiential learning for children cannot be questions. Supported by research and backed by facts, there is proof that the more you keep your child engaged, the better they’ll shape up. From early development to building confidence, experiential learning has multiple benefits. Read on for the full details!
Imagine that you wanted to learn how to make creamy mushroom soup. The curious things is that you’re more likely to master the soup making if you actually try out the recipe as compared to simply watching someone make it on a cooking show! Research suggests that children, too, best learn through positive interactions and experiences.
Rich and positive experiences help shape their malleable brains. In fact, 90% of the child’s development takes place before the age of six. These early years create the blueprint for the child’s physical, emotional, cognitive and social development; hence the quality and variety of experiences and interactions a child is exposed to in the early years can create a lasting impact in the child’s life. It truly is a very important part of their growing up.
Why is Experiential Learning so important?
Experiential learning is an educational philosophy and it’s all about allowing children to discover knowledge. This discovery has to then be fueled with curiosity, facilitated exploration, and knowledge assimilation. While experiential learning is often more expensive to provide and requires educators to maintain a low child:faculty ratio, the children reap significant benefits from the approach.
In contrast to experiential learning, didactic learning is an approach when children are given rigid instructions and are expected to reproduce that learning. While this is a cost-effective way to teach, true learning is compromised and independent thinking and creative collaboration are inhibited.
Here are a few ways to provide rich & positive experiences for your child through experiential learning:
1. Pretend Play
Participating in a variety of pretend play situations allows children to not only explore different roles in different settings but also stir up their imaginations.
2. Face-time over screen-time
Personal interactions with the people and the surroundings significantly contribute to the child’s development. So, don’t let screen time take over your bonding time with your little one!
3. Positive Disciplining
When children are scolded or feel threatened, the pre-frontal cortex (a part of the brain responsible for learning) gets blocked. Children best learn when they are in a positive mindset. Guiding them in a calm and objective way can help them build their socio-emotional skills, thereby giving positive disciplining an upper hand compared to scolding.
4. Play & Learn
Play is the primary and most effective way for children to learn. Playtime allows children to explore and celebrate their learning. It is important for children to be provided with age-appropriate toys and books from the time they are born.
5. Finding the right education partner
Finding a preschool that actively adopts experiential learning can further your child’s development significantly. There is a rising trend for early education centers that embody this educational philosophy by providing a spectrum of rich and positive experiences. Preschools are also a wonderful avenue for peer-to-peer learning.
6. Reflecting on Experiences
After engaging in a rich experience, it is crucial that parents and educators help children reflect on their experiences. This reflection allows them to recall their learning.
Experiential learning is an approach that many educators will adopt in the coming years and positively transform the lives of many young learners. It is positive and conducive to growth and it should be a practice that’s adopted both in an institution as well as at home.
About the Guest Author
Dynamic, inspiring, determined and compassionate are just a few words that describe Sonia Agarwal Bajaj. Full of zest and fueled by her passion to transform young minds and hearts, she is an edu-preneur who is gaining promising grounds in the space of early education. Sonia is the mastermind behind ‘Little Chipper International’, an early learning center in Agra.
She has previously been a founding CEO of WhiteNife, India’s largest sustainable and green gifting company & a co-founder to Freshmentors, an education start-up that connected prospective university students to student mentors around the world. Today, Sonia is the soul and the life-force behind ‘The Little Chipper International’ an institute that has continually been impacting educators and parents with its amplified and radical early education programs.