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Active Learning

 

Active Learning or Active Play has been designed to meet the developmental needs of children with vision impairment, intellectual impairment and additional disabilities.

The program was devised by a Danish educator, Dr Lilli Nielsen (now Lady Lilli) who had siblings who were blind. Dr Nielsen is an early childhood teacher with thirty years of teaching experience with visually impaired children.

Through her questioning and experiences of teaching methods used for sighted children, Dr Nielsen devised the active learning program. This program allows the child to learn from their own activities and experiences, games, play, etc. without having the adult performing hand on hand tasks with the child.

Dr Nielsen believes the hand on hand approach to learning impedes the information a child with a vision impairment is receiving from their hand or body, and destroys the child’s ability to learn for themselves. She believes that the hand on hand approach encourages the visually impaired child to become dependent on the adult for activity.

Based on the child’s developmental level, Narbethong School’s Active Learning program provides the child with learning environments and experiences in which he or she is given time to discover, experiment and explore. It encourages movement and learning through play.

The child is given time in the learning environment: 

  • to experiment and repeat
  • to compare experiences
  • to link experiences with others
  • to categorise and generalise
  • to share experiences – just as we have done in our lives.

The teacher’s task is to create the environment, so that it will provide the child with opportunities to explore the space around them in many different ways, using all of their different senses:

  • tactile
  • auditory
  • olfactory
  • kinaesthetic
  • haptic
  • visual
  • and / or a combination of these.

Thus the child gains confidence, knowledge and the desire and motivation to explore environments beyond their immediate surrounds.

For the child, learning has begun.