Benefits of Hands-On/ Open-Ended Learning


It is crucial to allow children to learn in a variety of ways. At L’Academy, we believe that children learn best through hands-on and open-ended play. Hands-on learning doesn’t just mean physically holding something. Hands-on learning means that children are not expected to sit in a chair, but to actively engage all five of their senses as they learn. By providing open-ended opportunities in the classroom, it gives children the freedom to explore the materials at their own pace. Hands-on learning in preschool encourages children to actively participate throughout the day exploring the materials. It fosters their ability to follow their curiosities, discovering things on their own and problem solve independently or alongside their peers. Teachers then act as a facilitator, not by telling children what to do, but by asking open-ended questions like what, why, and how? That way, children are challenged to think creatively and deeply. At L'Academy, we want to give your children opportunities to learn and develop through exploration and play. We want to give them access to materials and equipment that sparks their interests and encourage them to learn by experimenting. Our classroom is structured in a way that supports hands-on learning throughout the day. Tables and chairs are not the main focus of the room. Rather, the engaging environment is filled with enriching and developmentally appropriate materials such as water tables, finger paints, crayons and building blocks. Our curriculum spotlights are visible in each area of the classroom as well such as the dramatic play area and the science area. Allowing the children to explore the content in a way that is engaging for them will result in a more memorable experience. Teachers are there not to tell your children how to use the materials but to ask them how they might use it, to encourage your children to think for themselves and outside the box. Hands-on education gives children both the freedom and responsibility to learn through real experiences, rather than through simply listening to somebody else. Hands-on learning is beneficial for your child because:

  • It Allows Learning from Real Experiences. Using actual experiences to learn concepts and skills is much more effective than simply being told about them.
  • It Allows Exploration of all Five Senses. Messy play can be a multi-sensory experience, involving sight, touch, smell, sound, and even taste. Engaging multiple senses has been shown to help children learn and remember more effectively.
  • It Engages Multiple Areas of the Brain.When multiple activities such as talking, listening and using the hands are combined, it activates more areas of the brain than a single activity. 
  • It Promotes Long Term Memory Retention. When you experience something for yourself, as opposed to memorizing it, you are more likely to remember it. Hands-on learning creates memorable experiences that stick with children over time.
  • A Hands-On Environment Develops Critical Thinking Skills. Children’s critical thinking skills increase in a hands-on learning environment. This occurs because children must make decisions on what to do next to receive the outcome they are striving to obtain.
  • More Program Material is Retained. Children experience a huge increase in the amount of information that they retain when given the opportunity to practice what they are learning in the form of hands-on learning.

Here you can find an interesting article about the benefits of an open-ended play.

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