Playful Children and Intentional Teachers Power Great Learning Experiences

By Rosemarie Hartnett, CFE, Co-Founder & President, Abrakadoodle, Inc.

Children are naturally curious and love to explore, and the right type of instruction can propel great learning experiences. Initiating their own playful experiences in which students have choices and are given the freedom to explore those choices are at the root of powerful learning for young children. Intentional teachers who provide guided support balanced with the choices that their students make can help create fun and fruitful learning.

Consider a teacher who introduces students to new art materials and encourages them to explore the materials by asking, for example, “what do you think will happen if we mix the red and blue paint?” What fun! And how important that teacher guided question is. This question motivates students to investigate the materials and reflect on the possible outcomes. Children gain confidence in their choices, while developing skills and embracing concepts they will need for future learning.

In a process art focused program, students are encouraged to experiment with art materials without concern for the final product.  It is in the process of creating the art that they learn. This is a time when children can make individual choices, problem solve, ask and potentially answer their own questions. When teachers guide a playful and exploratory child-centered learning experience, students learn!