Educational facilitators are often planning activities for their students and usually focus on what they can learn from them. However, research has shown that child-lead play and learning can actually improve learning results and personal development.
What Is Child-Led Learning?
Child-led learning is where the child chooses the activity, location, and length of time spent on it. They have control of the activity, but the teacher can structure learning based on what they are doing. For instance, a child playing with blocks could be taught counting or colours by integrating the learning with the activity.
There are numerous advantages to this. As the child has chosen the activity, they are more likely to be relaxed, improving memory retention. It can also decrease resistance to learning and improve enjoyment as they are learning while doing something they want to do.
Access To Outside
Activities being child-led can cause significant headaches for planning but it needn’t be an issue. Instead, you should look at setting up a variety of activities around your setting that can entice children with various interests.
Ensure that some of these activities are available outside and are immediately accessible to your children. Some children won’t become engaged in an activity unless hey’re outside, while others won’t engage unless they’re inside. It is about getting the balance right and allowing a free flow of movement throughout your setting.
No Resource Limitations
It is also important to ensure you aren’t limiting access or options with resources. Children love to be imaginative with their toys and equipment. If you prevent some of their ideas, then you can discourage the child, and this can minimise their enjoyment and their learning. Though, of course, safety does have to be considered.
Children should also not be told when to stop a game if possible, if they are enjoying it and are benefiting from it. Artificially stopping the game can upset children and undo all the learning they have achieved.
Child-led learning is an important aspect of their learning journey. At least a third of their time should be spent on child led activities. This will help their learning and personal development increasing their chances of being successful in life.
Do you run child led sessions at your setting? Do you make the outside space available for them in child-led learning?
Let us know in the comments below.
Able Canopies Ltd. design, manufacture and install canopies and shade structures
at schools, nurseries and educational settings to enable year-round
Free Flow Outdoor Play and Outdoor Learning.
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