Follow the leader: A child-led approach to learning
At HIS, we often talk about following your children's lead, meeting them where they are in their learning, and attaching new learning to their interests and knowledge.
When people hear 'child-led', they worry that this means that adults have no role. But this is untrue. It is essential to have clear and consistent boundaries that help your child feel safe and able to explore within.
The adults in this environment also play an active role in helping to foster the atmosphere for learning by curating interesting resources and asking questions to challenge thinking and push the children to pose, test, revise and defend theories.
We do this by building relationships with all the children, getting to know them and learning about their families and life outside of school. When we are inquiring into a unit of learning, we use this knowledge to hook children in and use their questions and interests as case studies, which helps us go deeper into an inquiry.
We encourage our students to connect their interests to 'bigger universal ideas' or 'concepts' that span time and place. For example, in Grade 3's unit on innovation, the Grade 3 teachers wanted their children to understand, "Throughout time, people continue to innovate for various purposes".
The teachers first thought about their students this year and how they enjoyed video games and realised that this was the perfect example to help them understand this unit. By looking at how video games have changed over time, the students' studied how and why people innovate and then applied these to other situations.
At home, you can follow your child's lead by finding out what they are interested in and passionate about. What do you notice keeps them entertained for long periods? What makes them think? What are they asking questions about?
Once you have established this, how can you extend and support this interest? What resources would support their learning? Can you borrow books from the library? Visit a museum or exhibition in Hangzhou? Is there someone you can talk to about their interest? Is there a class that they could take? How can they find out more?
Next week, I will share some suggestions on how you can best help support your child's learning at home. These suggestions will be particularly helpful as we move into the winter break.