Child’s World Academy is known throughout the Peekskill and Monroe areas for it’s quality day care and our success in getting children ready for kindergarten. Besides a dedicated and caring teaching staff, we also use a great curriculum that guides us. We believe that children learn best through experiencing the world around them. In education circles, this is known as participatory learning. We’ll take a closer look at this methodology and look at how you can extend what we do here at Child’s World Academy at your home to keep the education ball rolling!

Stages of Cognitive Development

The foundation of participatory learning can be traced back to the educational psychologist, Jean Piaget. His theory is the basis for most modern education theory. He put forth the theory that the intellect, or cognition, of people, develops through several clear stages. These stages are sensorimotor (birth to age 2), preoperative stage (ages 2-7),  concrete operational stage (ages 7-10) and the formal operational state (11 to adulthood). Currently, education psychologists think of these stages as more fluid that Piaget did, but as you watch a child grow and develop, it can be useful to understand what stage they are in so you can support their development. Another very important aspect of Piaget’s work is that the construction of understanding is something that everyone does and their understanding of the world is a result of their experiences.

A curriculum that uses active learning encourages children to use all the parts of their being to learn,: their minds, muscles, and manners. Their minds are engaged when they are given options about what they want to study. For instance, if you had planned on going to a natural science museum to show your child the dinosaurs, but they show more interest in the geology hall, letting your child decide nurtures their natural curiosity. You can read books about rocks and eventually, get to the part where dinosaurs are found as fossils, which are rocks! Their muscles are engaged when you let children learn with their whole bodies. A child can study rocks by climbing on boulders, breaking rocks with a rock hammer or creating a collection of rocks. The key is that they use all their senses to explore the subject in which they have shown interest. The manners aspect is developed whenever they interact with other people. For instance, perhaps a younger sibling wants to join in, but your preschool aged child become protective of their rock collection. You can encourage them to be kind and compassionate, perhaps suggesting that that the child find a rock for their younger sibling or that they could use their help in collecting more rocks. Emotional sensitivity needs to go hand-in-hand with intellectual development.
Active learning can help children learn about just about every topic under the sun, from arts and social studies to science and technology. When you ‘d like to know more about your curriculum and our day care and preschool services, call us to schedule a tour of our facility.