Friday, November 5, 2010

Giving Children the Freedom to Explore

The third element of the Smithsonian Institute formula for creating a genius is to provide the child with freedom to explore.  Allowing children to grow and develop naturally creates a relaxed and less pressured environment, thereby allowing them to use their creativity and curiosity as they explore the world around them and find things that interest them.  By contrast, the hurried child frequently is pushed to learn on a schedule, get things done within external parameters, and to skim the top of schoolwork rather than to comprehend it in-depth.  This can result in children becoming delayed and burned out.  The home educator can facilitate brain development and intellect by creating an environment that gives the child time and resources to explore the things that interest them most.  A wise parent-teacher observes and regards these things and enhances the learning process by expanding upon them as they facilitate learning in their child.  There are a variety of techniques that can be used to accomplish learning by this free and organic method of instruction.  Time is a vital element in this approach.  Children need time to touch, taste, feel, hear, and smell life as it goes on around them.  Distractions like electronic gadgets and television should be eliminated from their day so that they can learn by exploring their world.  There are moments when the child needs time alone to create and learn about things around him or her, but the presence of a parent who is willing to create and explore things with the child enhances the process.  Our time with them is as important as their time alone.  Creating art, listening to music, acting in charades, building with blocks, walking in nature, or cooking in the kitchen are ways in which children and parents can explore and interact together.  Resources for exploration, like art supplies, books and magazines, objects from nature, manipulative learning resources, musical instruments, and concrete materials like wood, nails, and a hammer should be abundant and available to the child.  As the child develops and grows, the parent can observe trends and interests, creating learning opportunities that amplify the learning process.  Creating great spaces of time for the freedom to explore is vital in the growth and development of an intelligent child.  A less hurried child is a child who learns faster, more thoroughly, and with less pressure.  Learning is enhanced by the simple gift of freedom to explore.

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