Why best schools in the world have unstructured learning time?

Why does my child want to play all the time? Should we let them, or not? How do I make children want to learn?  We often wonder. 

Play is usually seen as a break from serious learning, but for kids, free play is holistic learning; an opportunity for children to explore at their pace and express themselves. The best schools around you are adding unstructured learning time in their formal education. In a world where lessons are learned after encountering failures, and success isn’t guaranteed every time, the purpose of education isn’t just delivering information, but setting the groundwork for kids to live their life.

Removal of the typical conventions of a classroom, allows young children to learn in more unconventional ways offering opportunities to observe, think, decide, and space to grow on their own. The outcome is the creative, cognitive, social, and emotional development of children. With newer know-how of how children learn better, the salient features of a good school would cover the inclusion of more & more unconventional teaching-learning mechanisms. 

Here are a few benefits of unstructured learning time set aside by the best schools for children to enhance learning experiences. 

Benefits of unstructured time in school

Unstructured learning time builds the young mind’s pathways for creative thinking, comprehension, emotions, many other critical life skills and enhances the ideal school experience

Play, exploration, experiments that involve higher-order thinking processes lead to innovation & new discovery through unrestricted learning. It develops perspective thinking in students, who learn to look at objects and situations from different angles. Once they’ve drawn their conclusions, it could be easily applied in real life. It’s a continuous learning process.

The idea isn’t to brush off the principles of structured learning in favour of free play. Structured learning through group activities in school has its own set of rules & objectives and a clear role in child development. Here, learning outcomes are measured via task completion (with pre-set protocols, instructions, and guided lessons). The environment of unstructured learning and classroom learning builds on the existing knowledge of students, allows them to learn from their guides, develops an understanding of concepts, personal & academic growth, and nurtures willingness, adaptability, patience, and engagement, in students.

It is the responsibility of the schools to provide appropriate timely feedback, encouragement & the ideal school environment and deliver learning for the future.

How Do Kids Learn Through Play? Some Examples!

–      Mathematical Abilities: Doing calculations with the help of abacus, Rubik’s cube or games like Snake n Ladders

–      Visual-Spatial Awareness: Creating different shapes using tangram & geoboards

–      Imagination: Role play to learn about storylines and characters

–      Scientific Temperament: Performing experiments with common household ingredients to understand different scientific phenomena

–      Creativity: Doodling answers to open-ended questions, (like drawing a water cycle in response to ‘How does it rain?’

–      Critical Thinking: Developing problem-solving skills with treasure hunt & stop motion animation

–      Memory: Using Legos and building blocks to recreate structures learned in class

A flourishing future would depend on a generation, that’s not just proficient in academics, but also are passionate, skilled, equipped with the right mindset, and are excited to belong to the community. Effective schools are creating learning environments that boost overall academic, social, and emotional success. Learning enrichments are provided to students with additional activities, applied learning projects, additional thinking programs, structured reading programme, and materials beyond regular curriculum and confinements of classrooms. The best schools in the world are benefiting from unstructured learning outcomes.

The Infinity School, one of the best schools in Noida Extension, believes in ownership of learning for mentors and their learners by establishing learning intentions and goals. A personalised & adaptive learning model, coupled with unstructured learning, allows students multiple ways for producing solutions, solving problems & finding answers. In the process, kids pursue their curiosity, flesh out ideas, test theories, ask meaningful questions, learn from mistakes, and draw conclusions by themselves, using all their senses that lead to epic discovery & life-long learning: that’s what education is all about, isn’t it?

The progressive schools around the world are taking the lead in the inclusion of an unconventional teaching-learning mechanism, which will shape the future of school education. Is the best school near you doing this yet? Time to reflect.

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