It is the duty of every parent to give their child the very best start in life, and that journey begins with early learning. Sadly, there are quite a few misconceptions among parents; some think that education is a race, and the sooner their child can read and write, the better off they are, while others think that immersing their child in academic learning at the age of 5 will surely benefit them.
Defining the Child
A child should not be viewed as something to be taught, to be instructed, rather the child is a young learner who must negotiate the world in their own unique way, and more importantly, on their own terms. The modern pedagogy focuses on creating the right environment in which a young learner can best acquire knowledge, and learning by memorisation has no place in such a system. Children can express themselves in a million ways, and they should be encouraged to do so, and there is no right or wrong way for a child to acquire knowledge.
Following the Child’s Interest
Activities that children are involved in should be centred around their interests, and there is a kindergarten in Bangkok that runs with the Reggio Emilia approach, which is very much an ideal learning environment, where the child’s interest is paramount. Of course, such a learning environment requires specialised teaching, where the teacher takes on the role of a facilitator and moves away from the typical role of an instructor.
Rather than the traditional class where all the students are the same age, forward thinking schools will mix children of 3 years old with 5-year olds, which is proven to be beneficial for both younger and older students. The older kids reinforce their own learning by teaching younger members, and even the teacher is regarded as a learner, as well as a mentor.
Learning By Doing
There’s no better way to learn that hands-on application, and the Regio Emilia approach is committed to providing a safe environment for the children to practice experiential learning. You can tell a child how to do something, and perhaps they will retain 20% of that instruction, but give them the object and let them explore on their own and they will soon realise what is required.
Principle Tools for Learning
The Reggio Emilia approach adopts the following principles for learning:
- Children must have some control over the direction of their learning.
- Children must be able to learn using touch, movement, listening and observation.
- Children must have a relationship with other children and the material objects around them that they must be allowed to explore.
- Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.
If you would like your child to learn in such an environment, at a school that best understands how learning is best achieved, look for an early years learning program that follows the Reggio Emilia approach, and you can be sure your child will gain the necessary life skills to reach their fullest potential.