The old-school methods of rote learning and reciting out of context are no longer enough for a student to advance in today’s world. With the fast-paced advancements in A.I. and the emergence of new technologies, students need to learn the skills of the 21st century (critical thinking, problem-solving, management, use of tech tools, etc.).
That’s why a new type of learning method is gaining traction around the world. Yes, I am talking about project-based learning, which is rapidly becoming popular among educational institutes. And this popularity is for all the right reasons.
Project-based learning helps the child to develop valuable skills, gain valuable knowledge, and understand concepts with proper context! That’s why today, we will take an in-depth look at why project-based learning is so important for your toddler!
What is Project-Based Learning (PBL)?
It is a type of educational approach that’s designed to help children learn about different concepts through real-life situations and problems.
This allows your child to learn about different concepts with proper context. On the contrary, older methods of learning usually involve repetition and rote learning without any real-life context.
In project-based learning, your child learns to engage and interact with others as a team to solve the challenge. Through this process, they learn about the concepts while also developing strong communication skills, critical thinking, problem-solving skills, among other fundamental perks.
For example, a child can try the “gravity drop” activity and learn how gravity pulls everything down. This will allow them to learn about gravity far more easily than just reading about it in a book with no context.
There are also numerous studies that highlight the importance & benefit of project-based learning. According to the results, the students of the PBL class had a higher ratio of passing the tests than the traditional class.
In addition, the students also had a more positive learning experience with the PBL approach as opposed to the traditional approaches.
5 Reasons Why Project-Based Learning Is Important For Toddlers
There are numerous benefits of project-based learning for children based on scientific studies. Let’s take a look at some of them:
1. Promotes Critical Thinking
Traditional learning methods focus a lot on recall and memorization. This means that a child’s focus is only on memorizing and not questioning what they are thinking.
In the end, a child’s mind is conditioned to retain information only for the final exams. After that, they simply forget what they learned in the first place.
On the contrary, project-based learning helps the child learn about concepts with real-life problems. With a PBL-based project, a child has to understand the why and how behind these problems to find a solution.
As a result, a child develops critical thinking skills and can actually understand different concepts by example rather than memorization.
2. Students-First Approach
If you think about it, the traditional learning system is built with a focus on the teachers. In a sense, a teacher’s job is to deliver the information while the students have to memorize whatever they are given!
But the project-based learning (PBL) focuses on creating an environment with a student-first approach. This means that a teacher is only a facilitator while the students try to find the solution to a problem as a team.
As a result, the children learn about their individual strengths while also developing important lifelong skills.
And last but not least, this approach also allows the children to be more immersed and engaged in their education. Not to mention that solving projects as a team is way more fun than reading boring words from a textbook!
3. Authentic Assessment
In traditional learning methods, the assessments rely mostly on the child’s ability to memorize rather than understand the meaning of different concepts.
In project-based learning, there are a lot of opportunities for the toddlers to truly show off their skills and knowledge, all the while learning about being a team player & a problem-solver.
Here’s a short summary of how PBL helps in authentic assessment:
- It allows the teachers to have multiple assessment opportunities.
- It allows toddlers to show their skills when solving real-life problems.
- It encourages the toddler to ask questions and do research.
- It promotes important social skills that can help a child in teamwork and social environments.
- It helps the teachers to know the child as a person on a deeper level.
Through all of these different means, a teacher can provide a much more authentic assessment of the child as opposed to other learning methods.
4. Promotes Social Thinking
Another major benefit of project-based learning is the social experience that comes with it! Even in our modern world, there’s a lot of demand for good communication and social skills. And there’s no better way to foster these skills than to start early with project-based learning.
In PBL, children are grouped into small teams to solve a problem. This allows the children to communicate and work as one team, which is something that can’t be achieved with traditional learning.
The end result is improved communication, confidence, and even better public speaking skills. All of these traits can help the child to prosper in their academic and professional lives.
5. Promote Problem-Solving Skills
According to one survey, around 86% of employees were looking for candidates with problem-solving skills. And when we consider the emergence of A. I solutions, the demand for menial and repetitive tasks is only going to go down in the next few years.
This means there’s more demand than ever for people with strong problem-solving skills. And the only way to develop problem-solving skills is actually to solve the problems in the first place.
A PBL-based approach allows the children to develop their problem-solving skills at a young age. Through different projects, children learn about important concepts by solving various problems.
For example, a child learns how gravity works and how they can beat it with a balloon or another flying object. This helps them to cultivate a mindset of challenging everything and finding solutions rather than accepting things as it is!
Project-Based Learning at HCA
After reading through all of the reasons why project-based learning is important, I am sure you will also be convinced of its benefits. In fact, many of you will start thinking of getting your toddler enrolled in a school that follows this learning model.
At Haymarket Children’s Academy, we follow a project-based learning approach from day one with specialized teachers and an enriching experience. For more information, feel free to contact us to schedule a tour.