New ‘experience learning models’ are effective for early childhood development

The model takes out classroom tables and chairs and replaces them with a more hands-on approach
Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 5:39 PM CDT
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - Schools and classrooms may soon look different from what you remember growing up, as educators find more interactive ways for young minds to learn.

New learning models for early childhood development could take the dread out of the classic ‘What did you do at school today?’ question.

“From what I see, they’re giving them real-world experiences,” said parent London Burris.

Rather than a classic tables and chairs classroom, the experiential learning model takes students into the real world, learning things like how gravity works by trampoline exercise or how to calculate simple math at the grocery store.

“We don’t believe that kids need to sit at tables and chairs doing worksheets. We don’t think that’s age appropriate. We want kids to learn and explore,” says BECS principal, Sheila Surovik.

In this learn-at-your-own-pace model, the lack of desks and chairs gives students more room to discuss and collaborate with one another or focus and find a solution on their own.

“How we grew up, we were at a desk sitting down, everyone in a line, you know, teaching ABCs. They’re doing that as well but with activities which give them more of an ability to learn,” said London Burris.

Knowing that parents need to see it to believe it, Belton ISD invited parents to their early childhood school to see the model in action.

“Someone at the park told us ‘They have so many learning experiences’ and when she said learning experiences we were like ‘Oh that sounds good’ but we didn’t think it was like this. It’s literally a learning experience,” said mom, Chelsea Burris.

These new experiences can mean new expenses for parents, to the tune of $4,750 annually.

Because of the high cost, schools want to ensure these experiences are worth every penny.

“So many of ours don’t get to go outside of Belton ISD and we want to bring those experiences to them,” said Surovik.

Those who cannot afford the tuition may fall in an income category that grants free eligibility.

Schools may also offer funding for economically disadvantaged, military and homeless families among others.