The application of active methodologies in early childhood education
The protagonist in active methodologies in early childhood education is the pupil. During the first academic years, they learn the basic knowledge that will allow them to continue their education in the future. The application of active methodologies favours the involvement of the student in their own learning and encourages long-term memorisation.
At our international school in Seville, we implement active learning methods from the earliest years, focusing on language learning with native teachers from the first years of infant school.
What are active teaching methodologies?
An active teaching methodology is a student-centred learning strategy. Active and participatory processes allow us to improve their involvement in the classroom and to consolidate knowledge, which in the case of the infant curriculum, will be decisive for later learning.
One of the keys is based on creating a learning environment in which pupils, teachers and syllabus are not isolated concepts, but interact dynamically, creating the perfect climate for an infant pupil.
With regard to the application of active methodologies in early childhood education aimed at language learning, it is important to highlight the importance of practice in the assimilation of a language. A child who learns a language in a practical way will be able to communicate in a natural way, just as he or she does in his or her mother tongue.
Active language teaching emphasises the practical part of the language. In the case of primary school pupils, their language learning abilities are optimal, and therefore, practice-based methods will be the most appropriate for this age group.
The characteristics of active methodologies in the classroom
- The key to active methods is participation, however, this type of learning has other qualities which are worth knowing.
The pupil will be the protagonist of his or her own learning process. Each student is responsible for the process, in return, he or she enjoys a teaching method adapted to his or her pace and abilities.
- Learning through active classes is based on building, developing a series of skills in a different way to the usual receptive process, in which memorisation takes precedence.
- This type of teaching is basically functional. We use everyday situations so that they learn from a practical point of view, and can apply what they learn in their daily lives.
- Memorisation gives us short-term results, while active teaching guarantees us permanent learning, thanks to the student’s predisposition and continuous putting into practice.
- It promotes critical learning. From the first years of school, students learn to make decisions, evaluate and reflect on their environment.
Active methodologies not only focus on content, but also on the learning process itself. Their application in programmes in which language learning is a basic pillar not only favours the assimilation of vocabulary, but also motivates the learner to see this process as lifelong learning.
Perfecting communicative skills is a continuous task, both in the mother tongue and in other languages. If we apply an active learning environment, the pupil will interpret language as a valuable process for his or her personal growth, which will accompany him or her throughout his or her life.
Active methodologies in early childhood education, processes
Active methodology has developed profoundly in the last decades, in fact, nowadays specialists and centres continue to apply new methods that allow us to be closer to the pupil and reinforce their commitment to teaching.
Some of the active teaching techniques that are currently applied are the following.
Project-based learning is oriented towards practical situations, in which the learner can experience what he or she is learning. Much of this process is based on finding practical solutions to specific problems.
The development of a work or project, whether personal or in a group, allows the learner to experience the content in a real space, which goes beyond theory and memorisation.
The active process known as the flipped classroom changes the concept of the lecture class to a method in which part of the learning takes place outside the classroom. Classroom hours are reserved for resolving doubts, working in teams or presenting, in this case the students, what they have learned about a specific topic.
Environmental learning serves to encourage learning beyond the classroom. It is very important for a child to grasp the environment in which he or she grows up, attending events or getting to know extracurricular spaces will allow him or her to relate adequately to his or her own environment.
Active methodologies in early childhood education offer each student a personalised learning process, however, collaborative activities will be fundamental in this type of curriculum. Pupils learn to collaborate from the first years of primary school, so that group work becomes a routine process.
Discovery and development
Active learning is also based on learning by observation. Getting to know the development of plants at first hand or discovering how materials are transformed in the classroom is an opportunity to build up knowledge in a permanent way, without resorting to rote learning.
Active learning in infant courses at International School Andalucía
Our experience as educators allows us to confirm the advantages of active methodologies in the classroom. When applied to language, students not only learn a language, they learn to communicate fluently.
The infant school years are decisive for a pupil’s later education, if he or she acquires certain routines during these years they will accompany him or her throughout life. Furthermore, it is during this period that a child can begin to interpret his or her education as a permanent process of improvement.
At International School Andalucía we offer your children the best learning environment with active methodologies, oriented towards an integral education based on languages.