Aldersgate Preschool

Empty backpacks sometimes mean better learning

1 Comment

I remember talking to a friend once about when her oldest went to preschool.  She questioned his teachers because he never seemed to bring anything home.  “If he isn’t bringing anything home, then what is he doing all day and what am I paying for?”  She became so angry about it, she pulled him from that preschool.  Years (and 6 more children) later, she laughs at the memory because she now realizes why his backpack was empty.

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A perfect example: Our Blue and Purple classes learned about some animals last week.  The teachers could have talked about the animals, read a book about them, and perhaps given a coloring sheet or worksheet to the children.  But, how meaningful is that?

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Instead, someone from Ernie Miller Nature Center visited and brought some real, live animals (and some animal skins, too)!  We’ve talked about it before: when children are able to see, touch, smell (use their senses) to learn, they learn it that much more effectively!

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And, brain research has also found that when our emotions are attached to learning, we are a lot more likely to learn too!  While we didn’t touch the snake, we loved watching it!

We may not get to have visits with animals everyday, but we do try to keep the children’s experiences as authentic and hands-on as possible.  Lisa Murphy (early childhood educator and presenter) says it well when she tells us, “Children need experiences to attach words to.”

So, their backpacks may not always show you what your child is doing, but we hope that you know that we are filling their minds with wonderfully rich experiences!

One thought on “Empty backpacks sometimes mean better learning

  1. I wholeheartedly agree and praise the staff at Aldersgate for exposing our kiddos to these hands-on experiences. My son, who is usually pretty tight-lipped about the goings on at school, has not stopped talking about the visitor from the nature center and the animals and random facts that he remembers. I know if that had been a worksheet or coloring page that came home, I probably would have pestered (sheepishly) him to tell me what he learned. And I would have gotten a one or two-word answer. But how wonderful for him to remember all these facts like “snakes smell with their tongues” and “salamanders have wet slimey skin.” He even got to brag about touching snake skin to his older brother. Thank you to the teachers and staff who work so hard to tailor the curriculum to best fit the ways that preschoolers learn!

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