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How To Provide A Successful Preschool Learning Environment

Updated on November 28, 2012
Preschool classrooms offer a variety of centers allowing children to creatively express themselves.
Preschool classrooms offer a variety of centers allowing children to creatively express themselves. | Source

The Child Centered Learning Environment

It's nine o'clock in the morning and children have gathered around the teacher for morning circle. She begins to read them a book. A couple of children decide to compare their new shoes while other children share details about their morning breakfast. One child begins to tap her fingers on the floor. A little boy stands up and declares, " I can't see the book, teacher!"

This is a typical scene every teacher experiences but how the scene plays out depends upon the teacher's reaction. He could use various methods to gain control, such as redirection. A creative teacher knows children learn in different ways and will adapt to draw interest from the group.

Basically, the child-centered learning approach utilizes six areas to affect learning:

  • Environment
  • Emotions
  • Social
  • cognitive
  • Physical
  • Psychological

For the purpose of this article, let's look at the socilogical affect on learning styles. According to Susan Miller, ED.D, some children work best alone while other children like to work with another child. Still others enjoy learning with their peers in a small group and being aprt of a team. Further more, some children like to work closely with an adult for guidance. While learning, some children prefer working on a variety of tasks while others prefer routines and patterns.

If we go back to the child tapping her fingers on the floor during morning circle, we could conclude the she learns best through sound (kinesthetic) and mobility (tactile) methods. Although she is amusing herself, she is not aware that her tapping the floor bothers other children (and probably the teacher). She is in her own world and we would assume she is a self-motivator and probably works well alone.

The teacher can draw upon the children's strengths to plan curriculum and transform existing lessons into multimodal learning opportunities for all the children in class. In this way, children feel comfortable using their unique strengths and preferences to learn. You want children to be successful and feel good about themselves in a positive way.

A Model Preschool Classroom

What's the best way to teach kids?

Generally speaking, the debate over learning styles and curriculum involves two types of teaching: child-initiated learning and direct instruction. Direct instruction (also called teacher-directed learning) tends to be formal and academically oriented. For example, children learn the alphabet by repeating the sounds of each letter after the teacher each morning. Child-initiated/directed (also called developmentally appropriate learning allows for play-based activities that encompass academic and standard preschool content.

Long-term studies comparing the two approaches find children in play-based activities outperformed those in academic skills during the initial primary years. Through play children will learn the following skills:

  • How to get along with other children
  • How to control impulses
  • Ask adults for help
  • Use their "words" instead of their hands or crying to express themselves

A good learning environment allows children to experience play-oriented learning with guidiance from the teacher. Academics do not have to taught by rote learning, stamping out letters with real apple cut-outs stimulates cognitive critical thinking while motivating sensory and social experience. In other words, a fun learning activity. The teacher will ensure each child's learning style will be challenged and met with different creative methods of activity in the class. It will make for a successful learning experience.


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    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 3 years ago from Minnesota

      This is concise information for anyone with children.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Ologsinquito, glad to hear your child overcame learning obstacles. Thank you for adding to the content's value.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      I used to vastly underestimate the importance of early education, until my oldest was diagnosed with a severe learning disability, which, fortunately, she has sort of outgrown. Yes, this is great information, as usual.

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 4 years ago from West Virginia

      Teaches, great information as always. Voted up, useful, interesting. As you begin to describe at the beginning, getting a child's attention can be difficult at times. I remember reciting letters and words with my teaches, 20+ years ago. It was surely a learning technique that worked. Great useful information Teaches as always.

    • profile image

      Benjamin Chege 4 years ago

      Hi teaches12345, I have learned a lot from this hub. Voted up, useful and awesome. I also believe child centered learning is more effective as one can be able to identify what a child can do best, their strengths, and capitalize on them. I will also make sure my child pursues education in a school with such a learning approach. Thank you for the information.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Vinaya, your sister's efforts will help your nephew to excel when in pre-school. Glad this post will be useful to her as well. Thanks so much for your visit and comment. Be strong and well.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      My nephew is two years, for a while my sister is trying to help him learn alphabets. I hope to share with her everything I have learned from your fabulous hub.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Glad that the hub is useful to others. It is always good feedback to hear someone can use the information. Those sweet kids do get bored easily and knowing how to vary the lessons helps tremendously. Thanks for your visit here and you enjoy your weekend.

    • greatstuff profile image

      Mazlan 5 years ago from Malaysia

      These are useful ideas that I can pass to my daughter. She works with a hyperactive child who has short attention span. This child apparently is very intelligent and he gets bored easily with the class lessons. I think your article will help her.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I enjoy challenging students through a variety of learning methods that boost their interest. I can remember my school years and how teachers taught using basic "blackboard" technology. With all the new online helps, smartboards, and learning materials, we should have no problem creating maximizing learning in classrooms. Thanks for stopping in and the support.

    • Sturgeonl profile image

      Sturgeonl 5 years ago

      Good tips.Considering the learning style of children is very important to maximize learning.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 6 years ago

      Thanks Deborah for the support. I've found teaching to be most effective when you use a variety of methods to reach children.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 6 years ago

      teaches12345, Great helpful tips on how to effectively prepare a healthy learning environment for preschoolers! Your attentiveness shows how you recognize the need to seek out a way to constructively reach each child! No doubt you are a wonderful teacher! Thank you for sharing, Peace & Blessings! God Bless You!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 6 years ago

      Thanks, alocsin, for the positive support!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I'm not a teacher so can't try any of these ideas out. But they sound like good ones. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • profile image

      masmasika 6 years ago

      Great hub. Good teachers know how to handle their kids no matter the situation and no matter what type of child. voted up.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 6 years ago

      Glad this helped to understand what was happening back then. Yes, it's a great teacher who sees beyond the little quirks and understands the real need. Hopefully, they are providing your son with extra learning challenges. Hey, that could be another hub coming up. Thanks for your positve comments.

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      Interesting article. My son (now 11) used to hum a buzzing noise during morning circle in 1st grade. It was distracting, and when the teacher asked a question, only he could hear through his hum and answer the question. He had a great teacher because instead of punishing him, she just found it to be too funny. Of all the teachers he has had so far, only one was harsh on him for his odd behaviors. But LAUSD tested him and he is a highly gifted child.

      Great hub. Found it useful and voted up.