Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Over the last few weeks, my approach to supporting my children's learning at home has been a little different...
When I moved into early years after a career teaching key stages 1 and 2, everything I thought I knew about teaching changed. My experience of the primary curriculum had been assessment-led focusing on maths and literacy attainment. External accountability was data driven. The result of moving into early years teaching and also having children of my own led me to reconsider the moral purpose... Why did I become a teacher? Why do we do what we do? And now, in the current home learning environment, I wondered why I am teaching my own children the things I am teaching them? Why does this matter to them?
Two tools informed my practice in early years and changed my teaching philosophy:
The Characteristics of Effective Learning concentrate on how children learn - they need to be engaged, motivated and thinking.
The Leuven Scales for Well-Being and Involvement tell us that children experience deep learning when they are happy and they are involved.
In my home learning approach, I have returned to these. Where do my own children sit within these? What can I do to ensure their well-being is cared for? How involved are they in the learning tasks I am giving them? What can I do to ensure my children are developing the skills to be an effective learner?
And with that in mind, I talk to my kids. I get into their play. I realise my son has loads of questions about space so we follow this interest. And he loves it. He researches, reads, draws, makes, discusses, writes... all about space. He is loving learning. He cares about this. It matters to him. My daughter used to do gymnastics but suddenly lost her confidence. I should've questioned this more at the time but didn't (time, reflection, hindsight - three benefits of lockdown). We play gymnastics with her barbies and make a movie of it, she puts on her old gymnastics kit and copies YouTube videos of gymnasts, she writes a story about Sophia the Greatest Gymnast... And decides she wants to go back to gymnastics when she can. Her confidence, well-being, interest, enthusiasm are all raised.
For the last few weeks, we haven't done a specific maths activity, english activity or creative activity each day. Instead, we have played together, talked more and I've facilitated their own ideas for their learning.
Imagine a world where our children's learning develops in education settings with this degree of freedom and with adequate support, training and resources. I wonder how our young people would flourish...