This week we are discussing Chapter 11: Why Does Sitting Still Equal Learning? and Chapter 12 In Defense of Active Learning. Deborah Stewart will provide insight and lead our discussion this week. Just joining us? Get all the book study details HERE.
“Who’s to say we have to sit down to learn?” Why can’t we lay on the floor on our tummies to learn?” When I read that statement in Rae Pica’s book, I had to nod my head and smile.
In my classroom of children, who are ages three to five, you can count on at least one child ending up on his or her tummy during our gathering time. As a young teacher, I would have immediately told the child to hop back up and sit on those pockets. Now that I am a much older and more seasoned teacher, I have come to realize that my students need to be able to change their sitting positions or stretch out those arms and legs so that they can stay better engaged in the entire process of what we are doing.
My students not only have the need to move their bodies during morning gathering time but this need continues all through out the classroom day. We provide tables for standing, carpeted areas for getting down on the ground, and chairs for sitting. Our classroom environment and schedule is designed for active learning.
Rae Pica states “Movement is the young child’s preferred mode of learning.” I want to expand on that statement and say that it is through movement that young children develop and master new skills, understand and remember concepts, strengthen muscles, relieve and manage stress, interact with their peers, and find joy in the learning process.
If I can encourage you to leave this post with one thing, it would be to remember movement in your planning. It is so easy to overlook how important movement is in the early childhood classroom. While you are brainstorming your lesson plans ask yourself…
- Do my plans consider the need for my students to move?
- Does my environment invite my students to explore and learn in a variety of different physical positions?
- How can I teach these concepts through action or how can the children build on these concepts through action?
- Am I spending too much time asking or expecting my students to sit still? If yes, what can I change in my planning to use movement to help us all be successful?
Please share/retweet this post! Let us know that you’re participating in this study. We’d love to hear from you about your thoughts regarding Chapters 11 and 12 and about the commentary Deborah has provided. Your voice matters – participate in the dialogue and share your ideas! (Comment below) If you’ve chosen to blog about what you’ve read on your own site, link back and share your post with us here. Perhaps you have a burning question about something that you read in one of these chapters… we have a feature for that – Ask The Author! That’s right, Rae Pica will be available throughout this live study to answer your questions. #AskAuthor
What to read next: Chapter 17 In Defense of Authentic Learning and Chapter 18 Who Should Lead the Learning (10/26/15).
*If you’re a MN participant seeking training hours, please visit this link to access to requirements.