What is Active Learning?

Country Village Preschool follows the HighScope early childhood curriculum for all students, no matter how young (infants) or old (preschoolers). This research-based, child-focused program is based on the belief that children learn best when they are ‘active participants’ in the learning process. What this means to you, the parent, is that we approach the process of learning through direct experience with people, objects, events, and ideas.

Our learners dedicate their day to a process of investigation, engagement, and discovery that not only helps young children excel in language and cognitive learning, but also promotes independence, curiosity, decision-making, cooperation, persistence, creativity, and problem solving:  all fundamental skills that help determine success in adult life.  Our teachers thoughtfully provide materials, plan activities, and talk with children in ways that both support and challenge what the children themselves are observing and thinking.

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

— Benjamin Franklin

Excelling in cognitive learning and language development are central to the program. But so are things like fostering curiosity, independence, creativity, and problem solving. At Country Village Preschool, we embrace a sensory, holistic approach that integrates all aspects of child development – and we do so with the support of a nurturing staff and an active learning environment.

A true active learning environment builds trust, autonomy,
and initiative in young children and is marked by five key ingredients:

1. Materials – There are abundant, age-appropriate materials that children can use in a variety of ways. Learning grows directly out of each child’s direct actions on, and interaction with, the materials – or “lessons.”

2. Manipulation – Children have opportunities to explore (with all their senses), manipulate, combine, and transform their chosen materials.

3. Choice – Children help to choose what they do. Since learning results from a child’s attempts to pursue personal interests and goals, the opportunity to exercise a degree of choice over activities and materials is essential.

4. Communication, Language, and Thought – Children communicate their needs, feelings, discoveries, and ideas through motions, gestures, facial expressions, sounds, sign language, words, and – ultimately – sentences. Adults value, attend to, and encourage the children in their efforts to communicate.

5. Adult Scaffolding (Support) – Adults establish and maintain trusting relationships with the children in their care. Adults recognize and encourage each child’s intentions, actions, interactions, communications, explorations, problem solving, and creativity.