Source: EdSurge, Jul 2016
The benefits of hands-on learning among preschool children is well-supported.
Jean Piaget’s revolutionary notion of discovery learning, which asserts that children ‘learn best through doing and actively exploring’
researchers have conducted numerous experiments to explore the link between hands-on play in early life and academic ability later on, many of which point to the benefits that play has in stimulating parts of the brain which encourage development of key skills.
A 2012 study by the University of Chicago found that hands-on play with puzzles helped the development of “cognition that has been implicated in success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics”. Similarly, the University of Washington’s Dimitri Christakis has extensively researched the positive effect that playing with building blocks as a child has on stimulating the brain’s capability to learn and develop language skills.
Papert believed his approach was about giving children “objects to think with”. This meant giving them the freedom to play with objects which have certain functions and purposes, fostering a way of thinking through kinaesthetic experiences, and once mastered, this way of thinking could be further developed and applied to real life situations.