Philosophies

two children building a structure with outlast blocks

Why we must return to kindergarten

Two centuries ago, Friedrich Froebel combined the German words for “children” and “garden” to illustrate his revolutionary approach to early childhood education – kindergarten. He envisioned a fertile environment where young children blossom and grow into creative, free-thinking individuals. Through meticulous observations he arrived at the conviction that a child’s natural play and exploration is the primary mode for learning.

Often, this “children’s garden” becomes the bottom rung on a pressure-packed, test-driven, educational ladder. How can play be restored to this important chapter of a child’s life? For some thoughts from US educators, read this article.

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child and teacher playing clapping game together

Learning through music

Grant, five months old, attends a nursery where the staff and children love to sing. One day his key worker lost her voice, and she noticed that Grant was fussy and discontented.

“We have all experienced crying, fussy, or sick children in our care who become calm when quality instrumental music is played. They are listening!” writes Elizabeth Carlton, music consultant at High/Scope Educational Research Foundation.

“If we sing to our three- and four-year-olds, we will probably be asked to sing the song again…and again. Many listening experiences during the first two years of life are necessary before children actually sing or talk with us…Songs, instruments, and instrumental music are wonderful ways to develop children’s listening skills and awareness of different words and musical pitches.” Read the article

Pete Moorhouse working with children

Memories that last

"You are told a lot about your education, but some beautiful, sacred memory, preserved since childhood, is perhaps the best education of all."
–Fyodor Dostoevsky 

Do you remember that teacher who was larger-than-life? A 'big person' who made the little person feel a bit less vulnerable and a lot more capable? Pete Moorhouse does this for children when he teaches them to use a hammer or a camera. 

Here's part of a recent conversation with Pete: What’s so good about wood?
 
toddlers playing

Understanding and encouraging toddler play

Toddlers are more complex than we often give them credit for. What better way to learn about how toddlers think than by watching them play? Kay Albrecht has worked with young children for many years and has a way of inspiring others to observe the wonderful world of "toddlerhood."

Read this article on observing and enabling toddlers' play.

project approach

The Project Approach

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. -John Dewey

One of the greatest gifts educators can give to children is a life-long love of learning. Although the educational pendulum is swinging toward uniformity, practitioners know that children's interests differ widely. Meeting the learning needs of each child demands the full attention of an adult's creativity.

The Project Approach offers teachers a way to build their curriculum on the natural curiosity of children. When a topic is relevant, children actively participate in the educational experience. This kind of authentic learning energizes the child as they “become part of a community of investigators” instead of a passive recipient of information.

“Along with the motivation it provides,” writes Dr. Sylvia C. Chard, “project work also integrates all areas of learning and aspects of child development. It offers many chances to practice problem solving and critical thinking—skills that build language, math, and scientific understanding. In fact, it helps children gain confidence in themselves and their abilities and develops in them the disposition to strive for understanding.” Read more.

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