Thursday, February 5, 2015

Interdisciplinary Approaches in Children's Learning

As an educator for young children, I am interested how interdisciplinary approaches can be utilized in children’s learning.  Because Interdisciplinary Studies approaches integrate multiple perspectives to gain insight, I thought about how certain children’s activities apply this concept. children learn naturally by applying multiple approaches. The common activity of a 4-year old children building houses with play dough is a good example.  Through the use sensory skills to manipulate the material to make shapes such as triangle for the roof, or square for the window.  Children gain their fine motor skill which can be developed by using their hand muscles.  They also learn geometric concepts by shaping different shapes for the house.  This activity can be integrated with other developmental benefits such as language learning, problem solving and creativity.  When the children name what they are building components such as door and roof along with their peers, they will be gaining skills of vocabulary, sound, and making sentences.  Problem solving can be added when the children find a strategy to stabilize their house on the table.  Their artistic sense can be easily connected to this activity and allow them to gain creativity.

Children’s Literature and Interdisciplinary Instruction is very much related to our multiple perspective approach.  The article is about a Taiwanese teacher’s web project that became an interest to other educators in Taiwan.   After the Taiwanese Ministry of Education introduced National Children’s Reading Movement, Su-Yen Chen created a lesson plan that integrated various domains of curriculum to support students’ learning highly advanced.

  cover of Coming From Tibet

One of the books that were used to develop a comprehensive theoretical framework was “Coming from Tibet” (Li, 1992).  The story describes the exciting experiences of a few urban girls who have the opportunity to live in the Tibetan highlands for several years.

The lesson is divided into several concepts such as problem solving, the Tibetan life style, the Tibetan Highland, and the prose style.  Each concept is extended with learning activities.  For example, the Tibetan life style is introduced to students by discussing about Tibetan food, dress, housing, transportation, and social customs.  Then the children read the story.  Finally the teacher allows children to prepare a historical drama “The Wedding of Prince Wen Chen”.  Through this activity, students are involved with social studies, music, fine arts, reading and writing, and history in interdisciplinary instruction. 

This interdisciplinary approach through children’s literature was surveyed among teachers.  A 100% of teachers who responded to the survey agreed that they will try to use literature for interdisciplinary instruction.   As we all agreed, interdisciplinary studies promote our needs.  We all have beliefs on integration that allows us to pursue higher education, and some children’s curricula can be designed with complex domains that will encourage their learning tremendously.


  1. "Complex domains"-- such a wonderful interdisciplinary phrase. Since I have a young daughter myself, I know on a personal and anecdotal level how powerful these kinds of integrated approaches are from seeing how she responds when she is involved with the kind of education that integrates different domains as you describe. Wonderful to think about it from another angle by reading your post!

  2. Sohye I was very interested in this post, I as well work with children. This is very interesting and I think you would enjoy the post that I did because it also talks about integration in education.