Gavin McCormack is always an inspiration and I feel fortunate to receive emails from him daily. He has such an amazing passion for children and teaching that he shares with his followers that is powerfully addictive. Today he shared an article on what children need while they are learning at home. They are as follows:
1. Order – Children need predictable events in her/his life, such as an ordered environment where everything has a certain place.
2. Orientation – For a child it means that s/he needs to know where and how s/he fits into a particular time or environment and how to adapt. A timetable, plan or diary helps children to understand this clearly.
3. Exploration – For children it is the curiosity leading to explore and the desire to understand. We must leave some of the day for uninterrupted exploration and free play.
4. Communication – This takes 3 forms of speaking, writing and reading. As educators, freedom of speech, listening, and story telling help enable these to grow.
5. Activity – A child is restless and needs constant activity which seems purposeless to the adult. Have a list of choices for the child to choose from which empowers them to feel in charge of their own learning. E.g. plant some seeds, watch a documentary, write a letter, build something from cardboard. See yesterday’s timetable for ideas.
6. Manipulation – A child has the need to touch, feel and to experience the physical world. Have tactile items that can be used without having to ask permission. Give the child freedom to move and choose.
7. Work – It is the ability to put into reality what the imagination suggests, we must therefore never judge or stop a child’s work, realizing that his/her goals are different than ours.
8. Repetition – This tendency is the ability to do over and over again an exercise in order to reach perfection and to experience the joy of increased control and understanding of one’s world.
9. Exactness – We give the child the freedom to repeat an activity until it reaches a point of exactness. He/sh is shown exactly how to properly use the materials. Precision is key and can be modelled when baking, tell the time or planning a trip.
10. Abstraction – We must allow concrete experiences through the materials in order for these to provide a solid understanding of the concepts intended.
11. Self-perfection – It is the aim of every adult to teach the children so that they can control themselves and this is done through the environment itself. Plan your house in a way that allows children to have control, a voice and an opinion. Allow them to control their destiny and confidence, independence and self appreciation will follow.