Learning with joy is playful by its own nature. It wouldn’t make sense to expect mastery from a beginner. A novice has the right to make mistakes, to try the same thing over and over again, to learn from his/her own mistakes, self-correct, feel the joy of the first successful steps. When learning is fueled by free will, curiosity and enthusiasm a learning processes can start effortlessly and playfully. So, please don’t expect mastery from yourself or your children…enjoy the learning process. If the joy of learning is kept alive, relentless attempts are the natural consequence and can eventually lead to mastery.
The basic principles of inspired self-directed learning help you feel good about your child playing, because it becomes clear that he/she is actually developing intelligence on many levels:
For example, nurtured pretend play and dramatic play is truly the natural development of representational skills, symbol recognition, oral language, narrative understanding, logic, strategic thinking, self-regulation and social skills. Most of all, pretend play is the child’s way of processing emotions and experiences which would otherwise create tension in the body and actually might develop into obstacles to learning.
Read more about it in my handbook “The Sacred Child Companion. Handbook for Inspired Self-Directed Learning”.
Montessori education surrenders to the child’s inner learning guidance. In Montessori-schools children experience an emergent academic curriculum as they follow their inspiration to learn at their own pace, in a very active way – having at their disposal a multitude of intelligent hands-on learning materials.
Montessori-education is still revolutionary in the regard of allowing the child self-directed learning, choosing activities and moving freely in an inspiring intelligent nourishing environment.
I feel that ultimately academic education needs to surrender to the inner guidance of a child. Children accustomed to listening to their own needs and interests from an early age on, know what they need to learn at the moment. As Maria Montessori puts it: The children’s “absorbent mind” is activated and they follow their inner guidance expressed through sensitive periods and stages of development – the periods when a child is particularly open to learning specific things, like e.g. writing, reading or subtraction. When we as educators flow with the absorbent mind, most learning disabilities and blocks can be prevented. The intellectual learning process needs to grow from the child’s genuine interest, will and love to learn, in order to keep the joy of learning alive.
Lessons can be taught in schools based on self-directed learning as well: The only requirement is that a child has the ability to choose if he or she wants to participate in the moment in that group activity, or if he/she wants to follow their inner learning guidance and personal projects in a thoroughly prepared learning environment.
However, children need and enjoy the educator’s guidance when learning social rules, i.e. learning how to be a friend, or how to feel welcome at a dinner table with guests. Healthy boundaries are not obvious; they change from family to family and from culture to culture. A child needs to be introduced step by step to what is expected from him or her, and patiently reminded as often as needed.
Free choice concerning the intellectual learning process and compassionate and firm guidance when learning healthy boundaries is a great combo when helping a child develop on the journey towards an intelligent loving Human Being.
Let’s enjoy every step of it!
In our educational system, for various reasons, learning is very much connected to fear. Of course, there is little joy, where there is fear. Studies in neuro-cardiology have been proving: fear is an obstacle to deep, holistic learning, and the development of heart-based intelligence is hindered.
It does not need to be this way!
Children love to learn when we allow them to unfold according to their natural development and genuine age-appropriate needs and interests. We don’t need to scare them into learning for their future well-being. We can show them the beauty of math, the wonders of science, the magical tools of language, the infinite wisdom of nature, the supreme teachings of healthy boundaries in many different, joyful and child-friendly ways.
We have been creating a fear-based world because we were taught in fear-based ways. We can create a heart-based world, when we allow our children to learn in heart-based ways.
Let’s do it! Let’s look for creative solutions for a sustainable educational system. ‘Inspired Self-Directed Learning’ can be an effective solution for many parents and teachers. It inherently brings joy to learning.
Contact me for more!