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Making Learning Meaningful

Making Learning Meaningful

Making learning meaningful is important to children’s understanding of the learning concepts and the world around them. Teachers make learning meaningful when they:

  • Link new learning to children’s previous experience.

  • Relate concepts to children’s lives.

  • Provide children with hands-on learning.

What strategies can I use to make learning meaningful fof children?
Here are some suggested strategies and examples of what this looks like in action. There are many other ways children’s learning can be made meaningful. Please note that some examples may include more than one strategy.

Create opportunities to link children’s knowledge to what they have learned.
What this looks like in action:
When playing on the playground the children see beetles on the grass.
The teacher says, “We talked about different kinds of insects when we read our story this morning. What kind of insects do you see?”
What it is not:
When on the playground the children see a beetle and the teacher says, “Oh look, there’s a beetle. Can you say beetle?”

Relate new learning to children's everyday lives
What this looks like in action:
While playing with clay at centers, the teacher makes a clay taco shell. She asks the children, “What should I put in my taco? What do you eat in your tacos at home?”
What it is not:
When playing with clay at centers the teacher makes a taco and fills it herself, saying, “Look, I made a taco.”

Bring concepts to life by putting learning into action.
What this looks like in action:
After spending a week learning about construction through books and having a “construction center,” the teacher arranges for kids to visit a local construction site to see how concrete is poured out of the concrete mixer.
What it is not:
Kids are taught about construction through reading books and looking at pictures of a construction site.

When during the day should I do this?
Making learning meaningful for children can be accomplished throughout the day in many activities, including centers, whole group instruction, meal and snack time, as well as transition. What is important is that teachers think intentionally about finding opportunities to do this at different times during the day, and not just during a structured instructional activity.

*Source The National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning website at https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov

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