21st Century Learning for Preschool? You Bet!!
Oh how I wish I could be three again and go to preschool! When I was three, preschool was not very common and I was never able to experienced it. After being a preschool teacher for the past three years, I truly believe that preschool would have helped me have an easier time learning in school. In the 21st century, preschool is key to a child’s learning and development.
As I reflect back over all that we’ve done during the year, 21st Century learning is at the very core of what we do at the preschool level. So what exactly is 21st Century Leaning? As we in the education world say, “It’s critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity through Project Based Learning (PBL)”. At the preschool level we spend each week exploring a different theme and answering a “driving” question. This past fall, one of our themes was Apples. Our driving question was, “What color are apples and how do they grow?” Through this question we used critical thinking and discovered that apples grow on trees because someone had planted apple seeds in the ground. They used communication to discover that apples come in several colors; red, yellow, green, and a mixture of sometimes all three. They were used their creativity by looking at the inside of an apple and using an apple half as a stamp for an art project. Lastly, they collaborated together in making their own applesauce!
Winter brought about the exploration of space! We asked, “What is it like in space?” We learned that the planets move around the sun, how gravity works, and we used our imaginations to see what it’s like to be an astronaut. They wore large and heavy snow gear while trying to sort “moon” rocks, and drank their snack through a straw and tube.
Lastly, spring sprung caterpillars and butterflies! Children not only learned about the life cycle of a butterfly but got to experience it with their own eyes! Like in the book, The Hungry Caterpillar, we munched leaves to practice our cutting, and painted our own beautiful butterflies. As you can see, with every theme, preschoolers use 21st century skills to engage critical thinking, collaborate and communicate with each other, and get creative!
I believe PBL has a huge impact on a child’s desire to continue to learn throughout their life. With 21st century skills developed at the preschool level our little ones will be ready for kindergarten and eager to show the world what they can do! Now that you’ve seen a little glimpse of preschool life, don’t you wish you could go back to preschool? You bet!