Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Child Led Learning

Book Study Week 9: Chapters 17 & 18
Commentary by Michael Gramling

As my coworker and  I sat on the floor engaging with playing toddlers today.  I remarked, "this is where the learning happens..."  She agreed and the playtime went on.

I design my curriculum and plan activities around the kids I am teaching right now.  Meet the kids where they are and then learning can grow from there.  Not rote learning, but by letting the children engage and asking questions and adding interest objects and ideas to let learning just happen.  I love watching little light bulbs turn on! 

These chapters reiterate the ideas that play is learning and learning should be play.  We need to observe our charges at play and ask questions and motivate more learning at that moment, with whatever they are engaged in at that time.  

You (people reading this blog) would probably not be surprised how many ~toddler~ parents ask, at conference time, "how many colors do they know?" " I am concerned because my child dies not count to twenty in a row...he always skips seventeen". Really.  I heard that one. My response; "he's learning number concepts, he'll get them all in order eventually". 

In my fifteen year career teaching toddlers, I have never sat down and actively tried to teach colors, numbers or letters.  When it comes to colors, we sing the rainbow song, I ask  "what color is that school bus?" and we play "red light green light".  Authentic learning happens when teachers meet the children ~where they are~.  

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