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Lakeisha and George are painting. Each of them has a jar of blue paint and a jar of yellow paint. Suddenly George yells, "Look, 'Keisha, I made green!" "How did you do it?" asks Lakeisha. "I put yellow paint on top of my blue paint - yellow and blue put together make green!" yells George. Other children gather around to watch and ask for a turn. The teacher wonders aloud what would happen if they mixed other colors. She allows the children to explore colors and and help her chart their color discoveries with words and color samples.

This is an example of discovery learning or hands-on learning. One child made a discovery about 2 colors mixing to form a new color. Many children explored other colors to make new discoveries. They charted them and posted the chart so they could use it for a reference. They learned by doing. You see this kind of activity going on daily in quality preschools and child care centers around the country.

Research has shown that people remember things better when they learn them by doing. This is even true for adults. Here is an example.You want to learn how to play softball so that you can join a team. How will you learn to play?
Will you:
1. Buy a book and read about how to play softball.
2. Watch a video about softball.
3. Ask a friend who plays to grab a ball, bat, and glove and teach you.
Which way will help you learn the game the best? Choice 3 is the best way for most people because they actually get to try the game and learn the rules as they play. They learn in a hands-on way.

Hands on learning is good for both children and adults. The learner is actively involved instead of just sitting and listening. This is the way we want our children to learn and we know that research backs us up. In order to learn best, children must be actively involved in hands-on activities every day. Some good examples of hands-on activities are: working puzzles, making collages, painting, measuring ingredients for you as you cook, counting out napkins to set the table,playing simple board games together, sorting silverware into piles of forks, knives, and spoons, looking at books, and buttoning, zipping, and tying. You will be surprised at how much your child can do and how fast he/she can learn.

You are invited to participate with your child in many meaningful learning experiences - experiences using hands-on learning.

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