The Approaches to Learning domain describes dispositions that support children’s initiative, curiosity, and creativity in learning. The examples describe observable behaviors that reflect these desirable traits. When children develop positive approaches to learning, they are more likely to have success in school.
Approaches to Learning
Children may . . .
Children may. . .
Adults may . . .
1. Initiative and Curiosity: An interest in varied topics and activities, a desire to learn and independence in learning.
- Engage in independent activities.
- Make choices and communicates these to adults and other children.
- Independently identifies and seeks things to complete activities or tasks, such as gathering art supplies to make a mask or gathering cards to play a matching activity.
- Plan play scenarios, such as dramatic play or construction, by establishing roles for play, using appropriate materials, and generating appropriate scenarios to be enacted.
- Ask questions and seeks new information.
- Is willing to participate in new activities or experiences even if they are perceived as challenging.
- Demonstrate eagerness to learn about and discuss a range of topics, ideas, and activities.
- Use or combine materials/strategies in novel ways while exploring and solving problems.
- Use senses to explore the environment.
- Demonstrate a willingness to choose both familiar and new experiences.
- Show delight at children’s discoveries (e.g., “Alicia, that is a beautiful pine cone! Tell me about where you found it.”).
- Encourage inquiry by asking open-ended questions, such as:
- “I wonder how that got there?”
- “What would happen if …?”
- “How might you do that?”
- “How might you learn more about …?”
- Provide materials and time for children to follow their own interests, create, and explore.
- Play games that build on and extend children’s curiosity, such as “I Spy” or “Mystery Bag.”2
- Change plans if children initiate a more interesting idea or experience.
2. Creativity: Creatively engaging in learning and interactions with others.
- Ask questions related to tasks or activities that indicate thinking about new ways to accomplish the task or activity.
- Approach tasks, activities, and play in ways that show creative problem solving.
- Use multiple means of communication to creatively express thoughts, feelings, or ideas.
- Engage in social and pretend play.
- Use imagination with materials to create stories or works of art.
- Use objects or materials to represent something else during play, such as using a paper plate or Frisbee as a steering wheel.
- Communicates creative ideas and actions both with and without prompting from adults.
- Asks questions related to tasks or activities that indicate thinking about new ways to accomplish the task or activity.
- Approaches tasks, activities, and play in ways that show creative problem solving.
- Uses multiple means of communication to creatively express thoughts, feelings, or ideas.
- Create an environment where children feel supported and can take risks (i.e., they aren’t afraid to try and fail). Praise effort and persistence (e.g., “You worked really hard on that!”).
- Allow time for children to investigate their own interests. Actively listen to their ideas and ask questions that invite children to explain what they are doing and why.
- Respond to children in ways that let them know you accept and appreciate the creative ways they solve problems, approach tasks, and express themselves.
- Provide children with opportunities to create and explore with a variety of materials.