The importance of experiential learning in early education

If you’re considering schools for your son, then the chances are you’ve come across the term ‘experiential learning.’ Experiential learning, often referred to as ‘learning through doing,’ is an educational theory that believes students learn best through active participation and reflection.

In early childhood education, this model is commonly referred to as play-based learning, which is essential for young boys. Experts say that learning through play supports the development of early literacy and numeracy skillsin an integrated approach, whilst cultivating children’s social, emotional, physical and creative skills.

Here’s why experiential learning in early education is important:

A model suited to early learners

The experiential learning theorydeveloped by educational theorist, David Kolb is based on learning being grounded in experience, as well as emphasis on the importance of active learning and the interaction between learner and environment on intelligence. This style of learning is particularly suited to early childhood education, and in particular boys, who are less inclined to sit still and listen for extended periods of time. Kolb’s model, allowing the learner to acquire knowledge through doing, is a student-centred form of learning in which the educator takes a collaborative approach in guiding, encouraging and supporting the process.

Engaging boys in meaningful, joyful learning

By exposing your son from a young age to experiential education experiences, he will be given opportunities to grasp concepts in real-life settings, playing an active role in his learning. This can lead to meaningful learning experiences and a joyful attitude to learning that stays with the student throughout his learning life. While some activities can be collaborative, the learning experience is personal to the learner, and in most cases, with many experiences integrating into different areas.

Learning from mistakes and creative problem-solving

Experiential learning in an early childhood setting teaches boys how to overcome setbacks and challenges, letting them experience mistakes and ‘failure’ as part of the learning process but in a supportive environment. This is where their problem-solving skills come into play, as they use their creativity to find their way through. Students feel proud because they have learnt to do it themselves, rather than having someone provide the answer.

Developing social and emotional skills

Active learning involves cognitive, emotional or behavioural activity and through play-based learning boys are able to act out real-life situations, finding different ways to express their social and emotional difficulties. Through these experiences they can learn assertiveness, social skills and how to resolve group conflict through role-playing, using their learning experiences as a dress rehearsal in honing their life skills.

Through exposure to experiential education experiences from a young age, parents will help boys engage in rich, meaningful learning that will give them the skills for success.

At Christ Church Grammar School, our Early Learning Community (ELC) offers a warm and nurturing environment that caters for the unique educational needs of boys. If you would like to see where your son’s life-long learning journey could start, book a tour and experience the Christ Church Advantage for yourself.

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