What Happens in an Active Learning Setting
One of the main principles of high/scope is the belief that active learning is vital to the development of human potential.
Active learning is defined as learning in which the child, by acting on objects and interacting with people, ideas and events, constructs new understanding.
Put simply young children learn concepts, form ideas and create their own symbols or abstractions through self initiated activity – moving, listening, searching, feeling, manipulating. Such activity carried on within a social context in which an alert and sensitive adult is participating as well as observing makes it possible for the child to be involved in intrinsically interesting experiences that may produce contradictory conclusions and a consequent reorganisation of the child’s understanding of his or her world.
What children do in the active learning setting.
- Children initiate activities that grow from personal interests and intentions.
- Children choose materials and decide what to do with them.
- Children explore materials actively with all their senses.
- Children discover relationships through direct experience with objects.
- Children transform and combine materials.
- Children use age appropriate tools and equipment.
- Children use their large muscles.
- Children talk about their experiences.
- Children talk about what they are doing in their own words.
What adults do in the active learning setting.
- Adults provide a variety of materials to work with.
- Adults provide space and time for children to use materials.
- Adults seek out children’s intentions.
- Adults listen for and encourage children’s thinking.
The practical ingredients of active learning.
- Materials – There are abundant, age appropriate materials that the child can use in a variety of ways. Learning grows out of the child’s direct actions on the materials.
- Manipulation – The child has opportunities to explore manipulate, combine and transform the chosen materials.
- Choice – the child chooses what to do. Since learning results from the child’s attempts to pursue personal interests and goals, the opportunity to chooses activities and materials is essential.
- Language from the child – The child describes what he or she is doing. Through language, the child reflects on his or her own actions, integrates new experiences into an existing knowledge base, and seeks the cooperation of others in his or her activities.
- Adult support – adults recognise and encourage the child’s reasoning, problem solving and creativity.