Experiential Learning: A natural and intuitive way to learn

As technology continues to transform the way we live and communicate with each other, it will also change the way we work. This shifting landscape has resulted in a change to the required skillset of our future workforce. The World Economic Forum has identified the top three job skills needed in 2020 as complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity.

At Halton Waldorf School, we encourage the development of these essential skills through an experiential learning community. A rich academic curriculum is interwoven with daily arts, music, movement, and meaningful hands on experiences, which create opportunities for students to engage in their own learning.

“Experiential learning is a very natural and intuitive way to learn,” Lylli Anthon, Faculty Chair at Halton Waldorf School explains. “It helps children be creative, to develop problem-solving skills and to be open to new ideas.”

Experiential learning enables the student to engage the creative portions of their brains and find their own distinctive and most satisfying solution to a hands-on task. Just like in the “real world”, problems often have more than one solution and some approaches work better than others.

In early childhood, imaginative play creates many opportunities for hands on learning. In a group of kindergarten children for example, some may want to build and play in a castle while others want to build and play in ship. The children in their own way, work through the various solutions to the problem in order to move forward with their project.

One of the highlights of the Grade 6 curriculum at Halton Waldorf School is the geometry calendar project where the class learns about starting a small business through the sale of a calendar they produce. The project begins as the class connects artistic elements with precision mathematics and the rules of geometry to create beautiful geometric images for the calendar. The class is introduced to business math and percentages and is taught fundamentals such as cost and selling price, profit, loss, interest and tax. As they work on the calendar, the students discuss expenses, production quantities, and even selling price. “The children learn to work together effectively and apply critical thinking to concepts taught in class,” says Ms. Anthon. “The culmination of their efforts through the sale of the calendars to parents, creates a personal connection with the material and also enhances the students’ enthusiasm for continued learning.”

Opportunities for meaningful hands on experiences continue in the high school years, beyond the classroom in the broader community. As many experiential learning projects are based in “real-world” activities, students start to discover their passions and abilities which then sets them on a clearer path to post secondary school and careers. “Worldwide, Waldorf graduates are sought after as creative and confident critical thinkers ready to take on our interconnected and ever-changing world,” Ms. Anthon concludes.