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What Does Place-Based Learning Mean to a Pre-schooler?

Updated: Oct 10, 2018

How can parents encourage anytime, anywhere learning in their young children by leveraging the power of place.


Children and parent enjoying an active moment running outdoors in an open field.

Place-Based Learning in a Nutshell


Place-Based Learning is an increasingly popular teaching/learning method in the US and a few other Western societies. It brings the student out of the four walls of the classroom and plugs them into their community and place where they live. It essentially promotes learning that is firmly rooted in what is local.


Students work on projects and collect data from the environment around them. This methodology helps them learn different concepts via topics that they can see and touch. This helps them in feeling more engaged in what they are learning and therefore take greater interest in the learning. The basis of place based learning is that it is closer to real life than the old-school method of directive and instructive textbook based teaching.


Why Is It Important Right Now For My Little One


The extension to pre-schoolers is the development of fundamental skills that are useful for Place-Based Learning but also life in the future. Young learners start to develop observational skills, learn to be more engaged with their surroundings and become more curious and eager to learn.


By making your child’s immediate environment their schoolroom, they will find so many new things to learn and discover and take more interest in the way things work in the future. They can then take these habits to the community and then to the society at large, from solving small problems to working on global issues.


How To Implement It

  • Simplify and communicate

Start with simple concepts and ideas such as observing the different materials, textures and colours of objects in the house. Talk to your child what the object looks like or feels like or even smells like.

  • Use what is near to you

Start with objects in your kitchen, your living room, their bedroom. Depending on their age, allow them to join in chores such as preparing of food and folding the laundry. As you engage in these activities with the child, talk to them about the objects they are interacting with. For slightly older pre-schoolers, you can even ask them questions such as ‘Where does milk come from? What else comes from the same source?’

  • Go Outside

Use the outdoors and nature to be your child’s teacher. Nature is left-handed and therefore no two leaves look exactly the same. Put your child out there where they can experience a myriad of sensations and give them the opportunity to formulate questions. It is through questioning that they can learn. Refer to this previous post we wrote about the benefits of going outside.

  • Let the child take the lead

The child learns quickly when it is topics that interests them. If he likes cars, through cars they can learn colours, shapes and letters. When a child shows no interest in materials or activities you come up with, be patient and come back to it next time. Sometimes, they just need time to accept something new.