Practical Learning & Development in Young Kids


Learn to Develop

Learning experiences are absolutely vital when it comes to development in young children. Although learning in a nursery or school classroom is undisputedly important, studies suggest that practical learning experiences, particularly outdoors, can really help support your child’s development and progress.

So what are the benefits of practical learning for children? Is there anything you can do to help, as a parent? Read on to find out…

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Benefits of practical learning for children:

  • Children are able to observe, learn and understand concepts in a far greater capacity, when they have been able to experience something for themselves
  • Connections are made between the real world and the classroom, making subjects more meaningful
  • It brings subjects alive, creating an enjoyable learning atmosphere
  • Outdoor environments act as a valuable stimulus for creative thinking and independent learning
  • Practical learning courses or residential courses promote independence and empowerment in children by giving them more responsibility and encouraging them to take part in critical thinking
  • Children, particularly¬†kinaesthetic learners, retain information more easily when they have experienced it practically for themselves
  • Children understand the relevance of what they have been taught in the classroom
  • There are behavioural benefits; some disruptive pupils are evidenced to have become calmer, and quieter pupils are encouraged to speak out after taking part in interactive learning experiences
  • It’s a multi-sensory experience, that promotes learning initiatives and encourages retention of knowledge
  • Being outdoors or in a less formal environment can simply provide a more relaxing learning atmosphere for children

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Practical Learning Centres

Recognising the value of practical learning initiatives for young children, many centres exist throughout the UK that endeavour to provide a captivating and beneficial hands-on learning experience for young children.

One prime example is the Stibbington Centre, run by Cambridgeshire Environmental Education Service. This centre runs a variety of activities ranging from day courses to residential courses to courses for teachers, all based around hands-on learning approaches.

Visitors can enjoy environmental sessions, such as mini-beast hunting or fossil expeditions in the local quarry, art sessions, numeracy and literary skill refinement, history sessions where the centre brings the past to life; think Victorian classrooms, war evacuation days (on real 1940s steam trains!) roman legion processions and more. They also run special weekend events, where parents can learn more too, and the results speak for themselves- the centre’s popularity with students and schools alike means it receives repeat visitors year after year.

Learn more here:

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What else can parents do?

So evidence indicates that practical learning really can benefit a child’s development. Promoting this at home is also as important as what and how children learn at school or nursery; visit for some great hands-on at home ideas, specific to your child’s age (including toddlers) and with specific development techniques.

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Learning on holiday

A family holiday is the ideal time for a child to learn more about the wider world. With new languages, cuisines, experiences, sights, smells, colours and more, children can continue to develop and learn skills throughout the entire experience.

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Start building your child’s happy holiday memories and their understanding of the wider world by visiting to book your safe and fun family holiday for 2016

Wendy Shand
Wendy Shand

Wendy Shand is the founding director of Tots To Travel, mum of three, award winning mumpreneur, traveler, business enthusiast and author of ‘The Mother of Invention’.

Find me on: Web | Twitter

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