In this blog I am exploring the concept of child led learning. The more you look into it, the more you realise that this is far from being an easy option! If you think you need involved planning and structure for formal lessons... this feels more like one massive ball game of learning, where you never know when the ball is going to come flying at you! You then have to decide whether to kick it back, hard and fast, to bounce it around for a while before passing it back... or whether to simply pick it up and calm things down for a while! Either way, I think as an education facilitator (whether you prefer the title of tutor or mum)
you have got to be confident in yourself, your own knowledge base (or where to get help quickly).
What is child led learning?
Child-led learning, also known as child-centred learning or student-led learning, is an educational approach in which children take the lead in their own learning process. In this approach, children are encouraged to explore their own interests and passions and to learn at their own pace, while teachers and parents provide support and guidance.
Child-led learning recognises that children have unique needs and interests, and that they learn best when they are engaged in activities that they find meaningful and relevant to their lives. It encourages children to ask questions, explore new ideas, and make connections between different subjects and concepts.
In child-led learning, teachers and parents act as facilitators, providing resources and opportunities for learning, and guiding children as they explore and discover new things. This approach allows children to develop a sense of autonomy, responsibility, and self-motivation, and it fosters a love of learning that can last a lifetime.
How much facilitating from the adult should be involved in child led learning? In child-led learning, the role of the facilitator, whether it is a teacher, parent, or other adult, is crucial. Facilitators provide support and guidance to children as they explore and learn at their own pace and according to their own interests.
The amount of facilitating involved in child-led learning may vary depending on the child's needs and abilities. The facilitator's role is to observe and understand the child's interests and strengths, and to provide opportunities and resources that will help the child to develop their skills and knowledge in those areas.
Facilitators may provide materials, resources, and activities that align with the child's interests, and offer guidance and support as needed. They may also provide feedback and encouragement to help children reflect on their learning and set new goals.
However, it's important to find a balance between providing support and allowing children to explore and learn independently. Child-led learning is about empowering children to take ownership of their learning and to develop a sense of self-motivation and autonomy. Therefore, facilitators should avoid being too directive or controlling and instead, allow the child to take the lead in their own learning process.
Do some children prefer to play and not to learn? In this case is it the responsibility of the facilitator to insist that some learning takes place? Play is an important part of a child's development and learning, and it can be a very effective way for children to explore and learn about the world around them. Many children naturally engage in play-based learning activities and enjoy learning through play.
However, some children may be resistant to more structured or traditional learning activities, and may prefer to play instead. In this case, it is important for the facilitator to understand the child's interests and motivations and to find ways to incorporate learning into play-based activities.
For example, if a child enjoys building with blocks, the facilitator can encourage the child to explore concepts such as balance, structure, and spatial relationships, which can be important for math and science learning. Similarly, if a child enjoys drawing or painting, the facilitator can encourage the child to explore colours, shapes, and patterns, which can be important for art and language learning.
It is important for facilitators to respect a child's interests and motivations and to find ways to make learning meaningful and relevant to the child. This may involve adapting activities to suit the child's learning style, providing resources and materials that align with the child's interests, and offering guidance and support as needed. However, it is generally not helpful to force or insist that a child engage in specific learning activities, as this can be counterproductive and may lead to resistance or disengagement.
Could this result in indulged children having a limited view on the world and their education?
Child-led learning, when done effectively, can be a very effective way for children to develop a broad and deep understanding of the world around them, as it encourages children to explore their own interests and passions, and to make connections between different subjects and concepts. However, if child-led learning is not balanced with opportunities for exposure to a wide range of ideas, experiences, and perspectives, there is a risk that children may develop a limited view of the world and their education.
For this reason, it is important for facilitators to provide a diverse range of resources, materials, and experiences that expose children to different cultures, perspectives, and ways of thinking. This may include books, videos, and other media that explore different cultures and perspectives, as well as opportunities for field trips, visits to museums and other cultural institutions, and interactions with people from different backgrounds.
It is also important for facilitators to ensure that children develop strong foundational skills in areas such as reading, writing, math, and science, as these are essential for success in many areas of life. By providing a balanced approach that combines child-led exploration with exposure to a wide range of ideas and experiences and a strong foundation of essential skills, children can develop a broad and deep understanding of the world and their education, and be well-prepared for success in whatever paths they choose to pursue.
"I don't know what I don't know." Isn't it the responsibility of the adult facilitator to introduce a child to new areas of education?
By introducing children to new areas of education, facilitators can help expand children's knowledge and skills and broaden their understanding of the world. This may involve exposing children to different cultures, perspectives, and ways of thinking, as well as providing opportunities for them to develop new skills and interests.
However, it is important for facilitators to strike a balance between introducing children to new areas of education and allowing them to explore and learn according to their own interests and passions. While it is important for children to be exposed to a wide range of subjects and ideas, it is also important for them to have the freedom to pursue their own interests and passions, and to develop a sense of autonomy and self-motivation.
In summary, while the responsibility of introducing children to new areas of education lies with the adult facilitator, it is important for facilitators to provide a balanced approach that combines exposure to new ideas and experiences with opportunities for child-led exploration and learning.
Is child-led learning the privilege of those with the asset of time for one-to-one tutoring?
Child-led learning does not necessarily require one-to-one tutoring or significant amounts of time. While one-to-one time with a facilitator can be helpful, child-led learning can also be facilitated in group settings, such as classrooms or playgroups, where children can learn from each other and from their environment.
In fact, child-led learning is often most effective when it is integrated into the child's daily routines and activities, and when the child is given the freedom to explore and learn at their own pace and in their own way. This may involve providing a variety of resources and materials that the child can use to explore their interests and passions, and allowing them to choose what they want to learn and how they want to learn it.
In addition, parents and caregivers can also support child-led learning by encouraging and nurturing their child's natural curiosity, and by providing opportunities for exploration and discovery through activities such as outdoor play, reading, and creative play.
While one-to-one tutoring or additional resources can be helpful, they are not necessarily required for effective child-led learning. With the right support and resources, child-led learning can be accessible to a wide range of children and families, regardless of their resources or socio-economic status.
Are some children not interested in learning? All children are naturally curious and have an innate desire to learn. However, they may not always be interested in learning in a traditional classroom setting or in the way that adults typically structure learning activities. Some children may prefer learning through hands-on activities, exploration, play, or by pursuing their own interests and passions.
It is important for parents, caregivers, and educators to recognise that children may have different learning styles and preferences, and to provide opportunities for learning that are tailored to each child's individual needs and interests.
In addition, there may be other factors that can impact a child's interest in learning, such as boredom, lack of engagement, or a feeling of being overwhelmed or frustrated. In these cases, it may be helpful to find ways to make learning more engaging and relevant to the child, such as by incorporating their interests or allowing them to have more control over the learning process.
Ultimately, it is important for parents, caregivers, and educators to create a supportive and nurturing environment that fosters a love of learning and encourages children to explore their own interests and passions. By doing so, they can help to ensure that all children have the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential.
Is child-led learning an easy way to home educate as it puts the onus on the child to direct the topics covered and requires less planning from the facilitator... which in turn results in lessons not being as rich as they could have been.
While child-led learning can be a valuable approach to homeschooling, it is not necessarily an easy or effortless way to educate children. Child-led learning requires careful planning, preparation, and ongoing assessment to ensure that the child is progressing academically and meeting important learning goals and benchmarks.
In child-led learning, the facilitator must be attuned to the child's interests and needs, and must be able to provide appropriate resources and materials to support their learning. The facilitator must also be able to help guide the child's learning and ensure that they are covering important concepts and skills in various subject areas.
It is also important to note that child-led learning may not be appropriate for all children or all subjects. Some subjects may require more structured teaching and a more direct approach to ensure that the child is mastering important concepts and skills.
While child-led learning can be a valuable approach to homeschooling, it is important for facilitators to carefully consider the individual needs and interests of each child, and to be willing to adapt their approach as necessary to ensure that the child is receiving a rich and comprehensive education. This may involve combining child-led learning with other approaches, such as direct instruction or experiential learning, to create a well-rounded and effective homeschooling experience.
What are the risks? Will a child become over confident in their own abilities to control an adult, or could a child who has been pushed into making leading decisions at too young an age lose confidence?
One potential risk of child-led learning is that the child may become overly confident in their abilities to direct their own learning and make important decisions. While it is important for children to develop a sense of autonomy and self-direction, it is also important for them to understand the limits of their knowledge and experience, and to be willing to seek guidance and support from trusted adults when needed.
Another potential risk of child-led learning is that the child may be pushed into making leading decisions at too young an age, which can be overwhelming and lead to a loss of confidence. It is important for facilitators to ensure that children are given appropriate guidance and support, and that they are not expected to take on responsibilities that are beyond their capabilities or developmental stage.
To mitigate these risks, it is important for facilitators to maintain a balance between giving children autonomy and responsibility, while also providing appropriate guidance and support. This may involve setting clear boundaries and expectations, providing opportunities for children to practice decision-making skills in a supportive environment, and being available to provide guidance and support when needed.
Ultimately, child-led learning can be a valuable approach to education, but it is important to approach it with care and attention to ensure that children are not pushed too far outside of their comfort zones, and that they have the support and guidance they need to succeed.
Can child led learning be used as an excuse by adults to not bother with activities that take some effort on the part of both the child and the adult?
While child-led learning can be a valuable approach to education, it is possible that some parents or caregivers may use it as an excuse to avoid activities that require effort on the part of both the child and the adult. For example, a parent may allow a child to watch television or play video games all day under the guise of child-led learning, rather than engaging in more structured and educational activities that require effort and planning.
It is important for parents and caregivers to strike a balance between child-led learning and structured, planned activities that promote learning and development. Child-led learning should not be used as an excuse to avoid responsibility or to neglect a child's educational needs.
To ensure that child-led learning is being used appropriately, parents and caregivers should actively engage with their children and participate in their learning experiences. This may involve providing guidance and support, asking questions to encourage critical thinking and reflection, and helping children to set goals and track their progress.
It is also important for parents and caregivers to be aware of their own biases and limitations, and to seek out resources and support when needed. This may involve collaborating with other parents or caregivers, consulting with educational professionals, or engaging in ongoing learning and professional development to ensure that they are providing the best possible learning environment for their children.
Can a learning method, such as the Les Puces language learning method, be used alongside child-led learning?
A learning method such as the Les Puces language learning method can be used alongside child-led learning. In fact, combining different learning approaches can often lead to a more comprehensive and effective learning experience for the child.
Child-led learning allows children to explore their interests and passions, and to take ownership of their learning experiences. This approach can be complemented by structured learning methods, such as Les Puces language learning, which provide a more systematic and organised approach to learning. Children can choose which method of learning they want to use at that particular moment - whether to sing and dance, complete a worksheet, play a game or simply listen to stories. Children can be given the freedom of choice within the structure of the learning module and online portal.
Les Puces is a structured program designed to teach young children French language skills in a fun and engaging way. The program uses a variety of techniques, including songs, stories, and games, to help children develop their language skills and build confidence in their abilities.
By combining child-led learning with a structured program like Les Puces, parents and caregivers can provide a well-rounded learning experience that meets the child's individual needs and interests while also ensuring that they are acquiring important skills and knowledge.
To what age is child learning most beneficial?
Child-led learning can be beneficial at any age, from early childhood through adulthood. However, the benefits may vary depending on the developmental stage of the child.
For young children, child-led learning can provide opportunities for exploration, discovery, and creativity. It allows children to follow their interests and natural curiosity, and to develop a sense of ownership and agency over their learning experiences. This approach can also help to build a strong foundation for later learning, as children develop skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration.
For older children and adolescents, child-led learning can provide opportunities for more self-directed and independent learning. It can help to foster a love of learning and a lifelong curiosity, and can also provide opportunities for career exploration and skill development.
However, it is important to note that child-led learning should be complemented by appropriate levels of structure and guidance, especially in areas where children may lack experience or expertise. Parents, caregivers, and educators should be sensitive to the child's needs and interests, and should provide appropriate support and guidance as needed.
In summary, child-led learning can be beneficial at any age, but the nature and scope of the approach may vary depending on the developmental stage of the child and their specific learning needs and interests.