Discovery Time has a firm foundation in socio-cultural theories of learning: that learning occurs as the child interacts with people, objects, and events in the world around them.
We believe that our students need:
• Opportunity to play and explore their environment
• Opportunity to be actively involved in hands-on learning experiences
• Opportunity to direct their own learning
• Opportunity to be creative
• Opportunity to develop socially, emotionally and physically, as well as cognitively.
The following are a selection of articles that may set you thinking…
New Zealand Ministry of Education. (1996). Te Whariki: He Whariki Matauranga mo nga Mokopuna o Aotearoa (Early Childhood Curriculum). Wellington: Learning Media. www.educate.ece.govt.nz/learning/curriculumAndLearning/TeWhariki.aspx
Sutton-Smith, Brian. Cited in Hammond. Leading and Learning for the 21st C sadly “the typical image of play is a single child sitting in front of a television set or video game. This is not play – play is an open ended experience initiated by children that involves pretence and spontaneous creative activity. It’s a time of wonder and sensory exploration.” www.leading-learning.co.nz/newsletters/2007-no29.html
The Importance of being Playful (Dominion Post NZ 19.04.08) “ You can have your ballet lessons, extra tuition, sport and music lessons, but children must have creative personal play as well.” “Kids learn socializing skills, creative skills and judgement skills and about right and wrong when they’re allowed to play.”
Hands-on, activity based experiences
Michael Irwin Massey University , Auckland) Boys aren’t getting a fair deal at school and need more time to play. 80%-90% chose practical, hands- on relevant experiences. Book published in 2009 ‘ Educating Boys – Helping our boys succeed at school. ’ (Harper Collins, NZ) http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/20090430
Marcon, R.A. (2002). Moving up the grades: Relationship between preschool model and later school success. Vol 4 (1), Those who had hands on experiences in early schooling did better later on http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v4n1/marcon.html
Michael Shayer – Children are less able than they used to be 11 and 12 year old students in year 7 are “now on average between 2 & 3 years behind where they were 15 years ago” in terms of cognitive and conceptual development. They know less about the world and how things work Reason – speculation “Lack of experiential play in primary schools, and the growth or a video game, tv culture. Both take away the kinds of hands-on play that allows kids to experience how the world works in practice and to make informed judgements about abstract concepts” http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2006/jan/24/schools.uk
Student directed learning
Dockett, Sue – Australia “Parents see adult supervised activities as a way of doing something valuable. Play isn’t seen as valuable any more in its own right” “The most creative people in the world play with ideas.” “Hurried children don’t get a chance to test ideas, explore and experiment because they are always meeting adult time frames and expectations” https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/inform/yr2002/may/hurryhurried.htm
Costa, Arthur L. & Kallick, Bena. (2004). Assessment Strategies for Self-directed Learning. Thousand Oaks , CA : Corwin Press/SAGE Publications. In a review of the above book Anthony Truog says: “The book’s appeal should be to a wide-range of interests. But, be forewarned, their hypothesis fundamentally changes the way schools interact with students. They are suggesting a change from a culture of testing and preparing students for tests to a culture of preparing students for the test of life—self-directed learners. The possibilities are tantalizing. http://www.edrev.asu.edu/reviews/rev261.html
Bruce Hammond (2009). ‘Thinking outside the square: beyond intentional teaching into creativity.’ Education Today Issue 1 – 2009 term 1 Most of this issue is on creativity and worth a read.
Also have a look at Bruce’s blog http://leading-learning.blogspot.com
Cambridge Primary Review of Education – just published after three years of research into UK education. “There is an over emphasis on the skills of reading, writing and maths at the expense of other subjects. This, the review says, limits children’s enjoyment of school and risks severely compromising their natural curiosity, imagination and love of learning.” http://www.primaryreview.org.uk/
Yong Zhao (2006) “Are We Fixing the Wrong Things?” Educational Leadership. vol 63 no 8, pp. 28-31 “Creativity cannot be taught but it can be killed” The current focus on centralized curriculum, standa rdized testing, accountability, required course of study – could kill creativity, the United States real competitive edge. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educationalleadership
If you want to be creative, stay in part a child, with the creativity and invention that characterizes children before they are deformed by adult society.
Telegraph UK ‘ Modern life leads to more depression among children’ “ Children need what developing human beings have always needed, real food (as opposed to processed “junk”), real play (as opposed to sedentary, screen-based entertainment), first-hand experience of the world they live in and regular interaction with the real-life significant adults in their lives. They also need time. In a fast-moving hyper-competitive culture, today’s children are expected to cope with an ever-earlier start to formal schoolwork and an overly academic test-driven primary curriculum. They are pushed by market forces to act and dress like mini adults and exposed via the electronic media to material which would have been considered unsuitable for children even in the very recent past. Our society rightly takes great pains to protect our children from physical harm, but seems to have lost sight of their emotional and social needs.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news