Friday, October 12, 2012

Constuctivist Intentions: The Child-Adult Partnership with Self-Directed Experiences

Child gives dad the thumbs up!
The role of parents and caregivers in a child’s life is profoundly important. The adult-child relationship impacts many areas in a child's life showing to have a positive impact not only on a child's health and development, but also educational progress, as well as life choices. The bond that is created between a child and caring adult can have positive effects well into the teen years and beyond. 

On my own, investigating air & more!
Self-directed experiences,too, have been shown to have long-lasting effects on learning. Learning that is self-directed respects the interests and pace of the learner.  The caregiver becomes a facilitator who guides learning rather than teaches specific content. The facilitator/caregiver observes the child’s interests and then capitalizes on those interests by furthering discussion that encourages critical thinking.  If a child’s interest is drawing, painting or coloring, ask, “Why did you choose those colors/shapes?” or, “Tell me about                 .”  

Many children love water play!  While they are playing in a tub of water at a table or in a bath, include measuring cups or other containers and ask, “What happens when you fill the cup with a little water?  How about a lot?”  Encouraging a child to give a verbal explanation can go a long way in developing valuable thinking skills. 

These are just a couple of examples of the many things that you can do to nurture a child-adult partnership and encourage self-directed learning experiences.  Whether in a classroom or at home, try some activities that interest the children in your life—and know that the experiences you have can have a great impact on their development and learning for a lifetime!  

American Psychological Association, Parents and Caregivers Are Essential to Children’s Healthy Development at

National Education Association at

Search Institute, Family Assets at

Shaw, Benjamin with Neal Krause, Linda M. Chatters, Cathleen M Connell, and Berit Ingersoll-Dayton (2004), Emotional Support From Parents Early in Life, Aging, and Health.

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