I have had the privilege of presenting a number of hands-on learning workshop recently. I’m convinced that we need to give young children more real experiences with messy materials and activities that relate to their world. Paper and pencil activities are not the way to establish concrete cognitive learning in a child’s mind. I was reminded about this recently when a I visited my new two week-old grandson. He has been a much-anticipated addition to our family. As I was watching our interactions with him, I was remind about the brain connections that he will be making this year. Since we know that those connects are essential during these first 12 months of life, grandpa will do everything possible to provide support for those connections. We can continue to make these important connections throughout the early childhood years if we provide hands-on learning activity and experiences. That should be the goal of early childhood educators.
I promised my friends in Sacramento at CHSA, that I would provide the words to the song, “Oh, My Aunt Came Back” on this blog. I’m sure there are different versions and with apologies to the composer/author, here are the words that I use for this echo song:
Oh, my aunt came back (Students repeat all the lines.), From old Japan (Repeat)
And she brought with her. (Repeat), A waving fan. (Repeat)
Oh, my aunt came back. From Old Algiers.
And she brought with her, A pair of shears.
Oh, my aunt came back. From Timbuktu.
And she brought with her, A wooden shoe.
Oh, my aunt came back From Guadeloupe,
And she brought with her, A Hoola-hoop.
Oh my aunt came back, From the County Fair.
And she brought with her, A rocking chair.
Oh, my aunt came back, From the City Zoo.
And she brought with her, A nut like you.
I use songs like this to engage the child’s entire body. When children become disengaged in the conversation or activity, it is time to help them physically re-focus. To me, this is an important part of hands-on learning.