Small groups can create beneficial learning opportunities in the early years and in preschool classes. Today we are discussing what group learning can look like, and how it can be helpful.
What is Group Learning
- Whole group learning: this process is the traditional approach in which the teacher leads all students as a collective. This approach can be teacher-centered, rather than focused on learners.
- Small group learning: involves dividing the class into smaller groups to work on a specific skill together. This can be beneficial because it lends itself.
Structuring Group Learning
Just because children are put into smaller groups with each other, this does not mean that they are left to their own devices entirely in the learning process. Here are some things to keep in mind when organizing group learning opportunities.
- Adults still need to facilitate and direct the activity.
- Give children a chance to work through the activity, work together when they get stuck.
- Make sure children are engaging socially with each other in positive ways.
- Make sure all students still have the opportunity to feel ownership over the activity and like they have contributed to the work.
- Keep group sizes small (3 – 6 preschoolers).
- Have a designated space for group work.
- Mix things up! Make sure you change up the children working together so that students are not in the same groups all the time.
Benefits of Group Learning
- It provides teachers an opportunity to observe students and where they are at with a particular skill.
- Smaller groups can help teachers support children based on their needs.
- Smaller groups can help teachers provide individualized attention.
- Small groups are great for social-emotional development and practicing building healthy relationships in the classroom.
- Small groups can provide a variety of opportunities for children to learn in ways that they may not have otherwise or that play to their interests and strengths.
Source: Group Learning in Early Childhood by Hi Mama