During the pandemic parents and caregivers reported concerns about learning loss. However, there is a way to mitigate learning loss – while still engaging kids in fun activities.
It’s called embedded learning, which means learning while doing things that interest and engage children. Activities that may seem ordinary and routine can actually become lessons they choose to help further both their educational skills (like counting or communication comprehension) and social and emotional strengths. Research indicates that embedded learning is more powerful than traditional approaches because the child is more motivated to engage in and complete tasks because they actually enjoy what they’re doing. They have a deeper understanding of context because it’s where they want to be and do things they enjoy.
Embedded learning often applies to real-life situations. For example, if a child is struggling with their communication skills, parents or caregivers can bring them to a garden or park and show them some flowers. They can then ask the child what they like about the flowers – maybe it’s the color or the pattern or how they smell. Maybe the flower is even their favorite color! For kids who may be having trouble with numbers and counting, parents or caregivers can help the child count the number of birds they see at the park. They can even have children observe the birds, keeping a tally of how many different ones they see of the same color or size. This helps build their math and observational skills – and it’s fun.
Additionally, children need help identifying how they feel and ways to help if those feelings are confusing or unfamiliar. Embedded learning lends itself to addressing these opportunities as well. Parents and caregivers can have their children draw pictures of things that make them happy, using the colors they believe express their feelings, and discuss with them why the thing or people in that picture evokes joy.
So, adults looking for ways to engage and teach children – while maintaining fun activities, consider embedded learning. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the outcome!