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how children learn

respect for childhood

What children learn is important, but how they learn is even more important. The context for learning must be playful and rooted in the children’s interests, so that what they learn is relevant, meaningful and long lasting. With permission to decide how we teach what we want children to learn, we have created our own emergent, creative curriculum that is jointly co-constructed by the children and the educators. We believe our approach to a purposeful curriculum, best equips children with fundamental skills and learning power for life. 

So, to ensure our curriculum is appropriate for young human beings, play is acknowledged as the serious work of childhood and is placed at the heart of what children do. The educators in my school understand the power of play and how, through relevant, meaningful, purposeful and playful contexts, surrounded by interested, knowledgeable adults, children learn knowledge, skills and vocabulary, as well as characteristics and attributes that will stay with them throughout life.

 

Play is acknowledged as the serious work of childhood and is placed at the heart of what our children do. The educators in school understand the power of play and how, through relevant, meaningful, purposeful and playful contexts, surrounded by interested, knowledgeable adults, children learn knowledge, skills and vocabulary, as well as characteristics and attributes that will stay with them throughout life. 

 

And true to our values, having a respect for children and their childhood means we will not impose inappropriate expectations on them or do things we believe are unrelated to the ‘here and now’ of being 2, 3 or 4 years old. Neither will we set out to teach pre-determined goals that prepare children for the next stage i.e., reception class. 

 

Sir Ken Robinson explains, 

‘...education is a living process that can best be compared to agriculture. Gardeners know that they don’t make plants grow. They don’t attach the roots, glue the leaves, and paint the petals. Plants grow themselves. The job of the gardener is to create the best conditions for that to happen. Good gardeners create those conditions, and poor ones don’t. It’s the same with teaching. Good teachers create the conditions for learning, and poor ones don’t.’

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