Using real tools, objects, experience, purpose in context
Children naturally move towards authentic real-life learning. We know from our own experiences that learning is richer and more authentic when we join learning with real experiences, real tools and objects, in situations that have real purpose and are in context.
This approach breaks through the idea that children learn about the world outside, from the confines of the classroom. It also requires us to take a leap in thinking around education, learning and teaching.
Without this leap in thinking, classroom ideology follows children outside the walls of the classroom with worksheets, unwilling participation and methods of crowd control. Also into home education and alternative school settings.
There are very relevant reasons why classroom ideology has embraced unauthentic educational tools, fake objects, and reconstructed experiences, all out of context. The purpose, to provide every child an education, with these unauthentic measures making it possible to teach a large group of children, the same thing, about the world outside - from inside a classroom.
The ideology we choose has an affect on learning and development. By putting education back into the real world, working with children as real people we can take education outside ‘the box’.
Through the total immersion of place-based and project-based learning, learners are immersed into real life situations and environments, and offered context and purpose to their work. Whether it is reaching out into the community or creating a space for learning and development to unfold from.
Following naturally paced developmental stages
Childhood is a time of rapid development. The time in a person’s life where the most physical, cognitive, emotional and social development will occur.
The developmental stages of childhood are a genetically encoded sequence. By genetically encoded we meaning the ‘information’ or ‘intelligence’ of how to grow from an underdeveloped-dependent baby, to a developed-independent adult is ‘built-in’. The sequence refers to the path that development takes over childhood. Because development intelligence is ‘built-in’, development is ready to unfold naturally stage-by-stage, at the pace right for the individual.
With neuroscience and detailed research we can access information on the natural sequence of developmental stages for the brain, motor development, play development and social-emotional mobility.
When we follow naturally paced developmental stages, we see how each individual is follows their own pace. Supporting an individuals pace and the natural sequence are both important, when developmental stages are rushed or interrupted, the nature of the development adjusts to cope rather than building a strong structure for all further learning and well-being to build upon.
Following the unique pace and interests of the learner
Every one of us is unique in our interests, what motivates and excites us. We each have our own pace that we do things, develop and learn.
This combination of interests and pace enables learning to unfold, where the child knows exactly what to do, in the right sequence, and at the right pace - even the youngest children able to lead their own learning and development. It is in this combination where the learner learns how to learn.
When we follow the interests and pace of the individual, we get an 'active learner'. Learners choose to do what they are interested in, they are caught in the act of learning; their interest pushes their progress at the pace right for them. The pace is important, too slow and the child loses interest, too fast can be damaging to development and mindset.
To meet this unique way of learning in an education setting, we remove the one-size-fits-all approach where a group is being taught and expected to learn the same thing, at the same time, to the same external targets.
We considering group size and dynamics, allowing for the diversity that each individual brings to a group. Learners actively work side by side, with internal targets and shared group visions.
Education is not the learning of facts, it’s rather the training of the mind to think."
- Albert Einstein