Over the next few weeks, this blog will highlight some of the seemingly simple yet often overlooked ways to make learning more relevant to each child, so that they may develop to their fullest potential.
Tip #1: "Activate the child's affect by making experiences meaningful and relevant to her and encourage her to take more initiative and be less passive. Rather than making sure everything proceeds in a more or less automatic and ritualized way, create situations in which the child becomes more attentive, aware, critical, and ready to take action to help herself".
I love this tip because it's a great reminder to allow natural consequences to be our ally in helping children to expand their initiative and creativity. It is not easy to do! How many times have we helped more than is necessary because, as adults, we know what the outcome should be? I wrestle with this on a regular basis.
It is so important to slow down and wait. Count in your head if necessary. W. A. I. T. Often, only a few seconds or minutes are enough to allow a child the space and time to come up with their own idea.
When a child comes up with an idea, run with it, even if it seems that it won't work. Having something not turn out the way it is expected offers a wonderful learning experience. Problem solving, and figuring out how to change an activity so that the desired outcome is reached, at whatever level that happens, is powerful and empowering.
The authors also stress using experiences that are meaningful and relevant to the child. Frankly, we all do better with things we are interested in.
Here is our homework for the week: make a conscious choice to encourage more initiation, engagement, and slow down and wait.