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Curriculum > Preschool > What We Teach > Approaches to Learning

Approaches to Learning

Young children approach learning in different ways, each bringing a unique set of attitudes, habits, and preferences to their interactions and explorations. Approaches to learning is the foundation that affects how children learn in every other content area. It encompasses children's engagement, motivation, and participation in the classroom. By understanding how to support this area of early development, adults can foster children's creativity, curiosity, confidence, independence, initiative, and persistence as they carry out their intentions, solve problems, and engage in a variety of learning experiences.

Approaches to Learning

  1. Initiative: Children demonstrate initiative as they explore their world.
  2. Planning: Children make plans and follow through on their intentions.
  3. Engagement: Children focus on activities that interest them.
  4. Problem solving: Children solve problems encountered in play.
  5. Use of resources: Children gather information and formulate ideas about their world.
  6. Reflection: Children reflect on their experiences.

Many of the abilities in this content area have been described as "executive functions," which are increasingly recognized in state and national standards as crucial to children's development. Executive functions include being able to break down a task into its components, organize a plan of work, follow through on it, and reflect on the success of one's efforts.  In HighScope programs adults encourage these abilities by providing opportunities for the six key developmental indicators (KDIs) in approaches to learning, listed above. HighScope's plan-do-review process is a central part of the children's daily routine that strengthens these essential skills.

All the components of the curriculum — the daily routine, the arrangement of the learning environment, and its adult-child interaction strategies — work together to encourage the abilities of approaches to learning.

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