Creating Child Initiated Learning Opportunities at Home
Nurturing self-directed learning is a combination of allowing for free and loosely-guided play and activities. Cultivating curiosity and independence in your child are the first steps to helping them become self-directed learners. Self-directed learners know how to use resources to find answers to questions or to learn to solve problems. At Stepping Stone School, child-led learning is an integral part of our curriculum in early childhood education. However, you can use these methods in your everyday home environment.
Here are some ways you can implement self-directed learning at home:
- Get creative. If your child is practicing their writing at home, give them the opportunity to use different materials to write on, such as colored pencils, different colored pens, or multi-colored paper and images. This allows them to experiment with structure and design.
- Encourage role-play. Your child can learn a lot from role-playing. Try putting on different hats or costumes and lead the conversation in new and exciting ways. Role-play teaches your child to experiment with different characters and reflect on how an individual would act and speak.
- Connect playtime to learning experiences. Nurture a child’s interest by connecting what they enjoy to the wider world. If your child likes building or playing with blocks, help them expand on their interest by introducing engineering and architectural concepts. If your child likes sculpting with clay, help them explore structures that animals sculpt in nature, such as a swallow’s nest or beehives.
- Deliver plenty of feedback. Your child needs praise to keep them motivated. Give them constructive feedback without stifling their development or creativity. Let them know they are on the right track.
Child-directed learning is based on the idea that we are naturally curious about the world around us. By allowing your child to explore, you encourage life-long learners and help them develop independence.