child-led learning

IMG_6488 IMG_6489 IMG_6486It takes courage to follow your own innate wisdom’s, especially when it concerns more lives than just that of your own.  I have always followed the mantra, when you know better, you do better. I am watching carefully how my children are learning, even how other children i am around are learning also, by simply observing, allowing, and encouraging a child-led process to unfold. This area in my children’s development has become a necessary pursuit and now a passion. When developmental  learning for a child doesn’t play by the generalised rules, it becomes necessary to begin the journey of discovering new ways for the information to be grasped, finding a way for the learning to happen. Our way has come to us on an instinctual level, i simply allow my children to lead the way in their learning,  most of the time and almost every day. It may seem unlikely that we could possibly be covering all the developmental learning targets with children taking the lead however, if we are able to get out of our own way of old views on how things must be done in order to achieve results, we open up a new space of possibility for things to unfold. And children are born knowing what they want and need already.  We know this to be true from babies who cry to have their instinctual needs met.  Nobody teaches a new born how to be hungry every few hours or how to be tired, or how to feel uncomfortable.  We trust babies to tell us what they need, to eventually get their needs met, even without the use of spoken language.  So why is it that we stop trusting them, stop trusting that they instinctively know what it is they are wanting to learn, wanting to know more about?  Maybe it started around the time the first three-year olds began contradicting their parents?  A mass collaborative decision to get things under control before an ensue of outspoken three-year olds possibly unraveled?  What would happen if we continued to trust them, kept them safe and allowed them to lead the direction of what it is they want to know more about. All children are curious we know this to be true. Usually about absolutely everything. This innate curiosity starts to take a certain shape and head in certain directions as they grow. I watched a small boy yesterday, load his 4-year-old arms up with off cuts of wood and lug them down to another part of the play area where he was building.  He continued this process of going back and forth, carrying the wood to his construction site with immense importance and determination. He lay the wood pieces in parquetry style, perfectly creating  a flat image of a house plan from his imagination. What was remarkable to me was that he was constructing this project in amongst a highly distracting group of twenty or so four-year olds. I wondered what would have happened if he was left to remain focused on his project for sometime, and given the opportunity to further explore this creative venture, with access to tools and supplies. Who knows what would have become of his fabrication. This is child-led learning. This is the perfect example of a child who clearly has an interest in construction. All sorts of learning can be applied to his choice of project, maths and geometry, comparing and measuring all of which can be explored. Creative thinking, conceptualisation, problem solving and independence all play a large role in a project such as this. Most importantly you will have the desire, willingness and enthusiasm of the child. Isn’t this ideal? Children learning in a way, that allows them to set their own course, a direction of learning where we are simply not filling them with masses of information that they cannot relate to, or have little interest in learning about and possibly will never again use in their lives. Of course, when we leave the education system as young adults we usually once again return to learning more naturally.  When we want to know more about a topic or subject, we begin the process ourselves. Technology allows us to research and explore information on just about anything we want to know about.  We pursue our interests, and intern continue the process of learning by our own innate wisdom once again.

2 thoughts on “child-led learning

  1. Truly inspiring words, Carly. Your ‘classroom’ looks a wonderful place to learn and your point about post-school learning is so true. We study what we are interested in, follow our passions and are far more motivated that way.
    The work you’re doing with your children is ground-breaking. Keep following that instinct – it’s spot on! x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words Jan. We are free ranging our way through it all right now, trying not to set any rules or limitations on what we are learning about or how it is meant to look, just allowing it all to unfold quite naturally. Im finding a lot of reassurance and comfort in your knowledgable writing on your blog, especially your work with children. Quite a blessing these days to find a kindred spirit on a similar path. X

      Liked by 1 person

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