This week I am posting a 5-day series on a subject that is close to my heart: How Do I Teach a Child-led Curriculum?
Today, I am talking about why child-led education is important. Here is the rest of the schedule:
Monday: Why Child-led Education
Since this is a preschool blog, I will be discussing the entire subject with a focus on young children, but the principles can also be applied to older children (who can often have even more input in planning their schedules).
What is Child-led Education?
There is actually a range of parents and teachers who consider their educational style child-led: they vary from families and schools where the parents/teachers let children direct all aspects of their education to parents/teachers who teach material chosen on the basis of their children's interests. As you can tell from this week's schedule, I advocate for a child-led system where the children choose what to study and contribute to the planning as much as possible while the parents (or teachers) use these interests to create a balanced curriculum. This sounds very work-intensive for parents, but on Thursday I will show you how this can be done in under three hours a week (most weeks, I can actually plan my lessons in about an hour).
Why is Child-led Education Important?
Children learn best when they are interested and invested in the subject at hand. When my children became real-life-animal-rescuers by saving the life of a frog, they wanted to learn everything about frogs! It was the perfect opportunity to spend a couple weeks learning about frogs, ponds, and amphibians.
This was extremely obvious to me as a public school teacher. When we covered topics the kids were interested in or had first hand experience with, they learned new material better and faster. This is true of adults too--when was the last time you sat down to learn something you weren't interested in?
Children come innately wanting to know things. They take in experiences like little scientists, recording data, analyzing it, and acting on their new world view. Studies show that even very young children act on predictions they make with alarming speed and statistical reliability! Take advantage of their eager minds and teach them what they want to know!
What if my child just wants to play all day?
In many cases, that is just fine! Studies actually show that playing builds neural connections inside your child's brain that will also be used for other activities, when the time comes. And, of course, play has loads of other social, emotional, and physical benefits too!
My experience has been that around three or four years old, most children cannot actually just play happily all day. They get stressed out, annoyed, upset, or start to argue with other children. Scheduling some slightly more structured time or time when you personally play with them prevents this misbehavior and gives your child a sense of control of the day. I will discuss this more on Wednesday.
This will be an exciting week and I really hope you will join with me to discuss child-led education, as well as any other teaching styles you want to talk about! I will, of course, still be hosting Teach Me Tuesday so be sure to stop by and check out the wonderful educational posts linked up then!
How do you feel about child-led education? Did you know that there are child-led private schools where the students actually choose everything they do (and don't!) do?
How Do I Teach … 5 Day Blog Series is brought to you by the following blogs:Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ Homeschool Gameschool ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ No Doubt Learning ~ Mrs. Redd’s Classroom Blog ~ Proverbial Homemaker ~ My Joy Filled Life ~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Vicki Arnold ~ Only Passionate Curiosity ~ Living Life and Learning ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ 3 Dinosaurs
Disclaimer: These posts are based on my personal and professional experiences. What works well for our family may or may not be best for yours!
I may share at any of these parties!