Learning & Development

Encouraging Independent Learning

sand wall sensory playground equipment

Encouraging a child to learn independently shouldn’t be limited to the classroom environment. It should also be practiced outside and mimic that of real-life situations. As a result, improving a child’s confidence in their decision making and interaction with their peers. This can shape a child’s development and skills for their adult life. At Red Monkey Play, we believe that independent learning can be cultivated and should be exhibited through play. Here are a number of ways you can support the development of independent learning. 

What Are Independent Learning Skills?

Independent learning is the ability to take responsibility and ownership of your own learning with the support and guidance of a teacher. This type of learning cultivates the ability to make appropriate decisions based on the information at hand. It can also help to determine when outside support is needed from a teacher or peer, to achieve the desired end goal. The establishment of an enabling environment presents the perfect opportunity for children to practice and develop their independent learning skills. Additionally, independent learning helps with the management, expression and regulation of feelings, allowing the child to reflect on their actions and develop an understanding of their individual strengths and weaknesses. This can enable them to feel more in control and set out a course of action to overcome their fears and challenge themselves, ultimately empowering themselves. 

Independent learning skills can be broken down into three categories:

  • Cognitive skills – the improvement of memory, attention and problem solving
  • Metacognitive skills – the ability to regulate, evaluate, and monitor your own thinking and learning to learn
  • Affective skills – the ability to regulate and manage your feelings

Independent Learning In The Playground

Establishing an enabling environment allows children to explore freely and comfortably in a setting that is specific to their age and needs. Whilst adult supervision is always important, allowing pupils to learn and play independently is crucial to their overall development. This can help with creative thinking, curiosity, and encourage teamwork between their peers. The discoveries that children make during independent play are much more meaningful, as they have been achieved through the child’s personal motivation and decisions.

Outdoor spaces offer a multi-sensory experience when it comes to independent play, encouraging children to learn through the use of their senses, and installing the right playground equipment will support students in their learning. Our outdoor sensory equipment such as our sand walls and water walls allow children to get stuck in and think independently in a fun and exciting way. Our play panels including our scientific weather station and our what’s the weather like panel encourage pupils to take charge of their own learning and discoveries. Let their imaginations run wild with our role play playground equipment which allows children to create their own scenarios and experiment with different ideas. 

science play panel sensory play

Why Is Independent Learning Important?

Being independent in learning is important because it fosters curiosity and enables students to be active rather than passive in their learning. It allows children to become independent learners, to think for themselves, solve their own problems and work out the most appropriate solution to a problem that is not only beneficial for them but for their peers as well. Instead of teachers providing answers on a silver platter, pupils have to work hard and engage themselves to achieve results. In turn, these results are more meaningful in their sense of self, confidence and ability to learn. Pupils are encouraged to take ownership of their own learning because they want to learn more, challenge themselves, develop their understanding, and discover new things. 

There will be times when a child may feel out of their depth, but this helps to develop new skills, and improves their resilience. The child will also learn that it’s okay to ask for help and support when you need it. Additionally, it can help to foster teamwork with their peers, rather than directly going to the teacher for the answers.

The benefits of independent learning include:

  • Improved academic performance through transferable skills
  • Increased motivation and confidence
  • Increased awareness of strengths and weaknesses
  • The development of problem-solving skills to overcome weaknesses or fears
  • Self-regulation and the ability to ask for help when needed
  • Positive and trusting relationships with teachers
  • The development of collaboration and teamwork with their peers
  • Increased awareness of and ability to manage feelings and emotions

How Can Red Monkey Play Help You?

At Red Monkey Play, we’re passionate about creating playground equipment that fosters the imagination and helps to bring learning outside of the classroom, in a fun and engaging way.  Many pieces of our playground equipment provide children with the ability to explore and develop their independent learning skills.

For more information or advice on our products and services, get in touch with our friendly team of experts. You can email us at hello@redmonkeyplay.co.uk or call our London office on 020 38445 525 or our Leicester office on 0116 366 9922 to book a free consultation.

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