Orlando Day Nursery’s educational philosophy is based on the belief that young children build or “construct” their knowledge of the world — they are “active learners.” This means learning is not simply a process of adults giving information to children. Rather, children discover things through direct experience with people, objects, events, and ideas. They learn best from pursuing their own interests while being actively supported and challenged by adults. ODN teachers are as active and involved as children in the classroom. They thoughtfully provide materials, plan activities, and talk with children in ways that both support and challenge what children are experiencing and thinking. The goal of promoting active learning is reflected in every aspect of our daily time together.
Active learning has five ingredients which must be present:
Abundant supplies of interesting materials are readily available to children. Materials are appealing to all the senses and are opening ended — that is, they lend themselves to being used in a variety of ways to expand children’s experiences and stimulate their thought.
Children handle, examine, combine, and transform materials and ideas. They make discoveries through direct hands-on and “minds-on” contact with these resources.
Children choose materials and play partners, change and build on their play ideas, and plan activities according to their interests and needs.
Children describe what they are doing and understanding. They communicate verbally and nonverbally as they think about their actions and modify their thinking to take new learning into account.
“Scaffolding” means adults both support children’s current level of thinking and challenge them. Adults encourage children’s efforts and help them extend or build on their work by talking with them about what they are doing, by joining in their play, and by helping them learn to solve problems that arise.