Authentic Learning Environments put the relationship first
What do we mean by that? We all know that relationships with caregivers are essential to healthy development. And, no nurture means no survival.
So should we be careful with group sizes and the adult-child ratios? What if there is no adult available for a child, to meet their needs, and provide a Secure Attachment?
Children who have their needs met, develop differently to children who have to work to get their needs met. Or to put it another way, as Dr Gordon Neufeld explains, "Children Must Never Work For Our Love, They Must Rest In It."
In nature, we can sort mammals into two kinds; precocial and altricial. Precocial mammals are born in numbers of one and two to mothers with the mammary glands to match. Young precocial mammals require frequent care and are constantly close to their primary caregiver for food, protection, development, and nurturing.
Altricial mammals are born in litters to mothers with mammary glands to match. They do not require the one-to-one care precocial mammals do and can be left for long periods of time. For example, the altricial mother rabbit can leave her new litter for up to 24 hours in their first week.
Young mammals thrive when the environment meets their biology.
Humans are precocial mammals and require one-to-one relationships. Humans are not altricial and do not thrive in litters.
Imagine education settings designed for precocial mammals - where the relationship is put first for every individual to thrive.
Authentic Learning Environment - taking education outside 'the box'
Above: Group model for Altricial Mammals. (Photo: Creative Commons)