Thursday, March 2, 2017

Learnable Moments

by Lakisha Reid 

There is some very interesting play going on around pipes. This arched piece has baffled a few. Its shape makes it attractive and also makes it difficult to handle. Once the child is able to successfully connect it to another pipe, they then attempt to insert objects. The downward positioning causes their mission to oppose the forces of gravity. Mission not accomplished...

As onlookers and facilitators of play, it is our responsibility to allow children to reach disequilibrium, a point in which their idea or belief is challenged causing them to alter their mindset. It is important that we allow the process to be the child's and realize that if we correct, explain, or fix the problem, we are robbing the child of truly discovering and experiencing the process of solving their problem.

Many times this process does not immediately culminate in a final understanding of the original challenge, but instead, makes way for bits and bits of layered understanding over time.

This layering effect fuels the intrinsic need for the child to return to the play to further gain understanding. It feeds their innate curiosity and drives them to continue to crave knowledge.

Allowing children to reach a point of struggle and make their way through it is the best way to support their learning through play.


Often this support is simply:

-Acknowledging their feeling of frustration "I see you are frustrated"

-Asking a question, " what is your plan?" being prompted to verbalize their plan often helps them hash it out and alter their approach.

-Giving them an out "Should we take a break and come back to this?" Sometimes a break allows a child to return to a problem with a new set of eyes.

The goal is to allow the frustration, allow the struggle, but support the process. Never just doing it for them, showing them how you would do it, or making it a "teachable moment", but instead seeing it as a "learnable moment" that spans a lifetime!

by Lakisha Reid 
Founder of Play Empowers, 

Early Childhood Presenter and Consultant
 Co-Host of Dirty Playologist Podcast  Owner/Director/Educator at Discovery Early Learning Center

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