Sending your child off to school for the first time is never easy, as you are forced to hand over the parental reigns to those in charge of your child's education. In the case of public school, that means subscribing to the premise that state and federal regulations have your child's best interests at heart. Although educational regulations are designed to meet the needs of all children, they are not tailored to individual children. Curriculum standards are often based on when and how the average child learns, with little room for adjustments for your child's emotional and cognitive development. Child centered charter schools function differently.
What is Child Centered Learning?
Traditional classroom instruction has long relied on lectures followed by practice. In this situation, the teacher presents new information during a classroom lecture and instructs all students to perform the same task. This may involve completing worksheets, writing an essay or manipulating objects, such as creating patterns with beads or other objects. This method relies on activities that engage the left side of the brain, and often lacks creative right brain activities.
In child centered learning, the teacher works as a facilitator to oversee and guide student learning, but does so in a relaxed manner. Children are encouraged to explore new concepts and reflect on their learning. This means more hands-on projects, such as exploring mathematical concepts via the use of blocks and other building materials. The goal is to engage children in real-life activities instead of relying on premade worksheets and predetermined activities to demonstrate the concept. Children may choose to practice measuring skills via cooking, gardening or other activities that interest the child. Exploring educational concepts with hands-on activities engages both sides the brain.
Why is Child Centered Learning Important?
Many children have difficulty transferring the skills learned in the classroom to real-life activities. Even though they may have mastered fractions on paper, they may struggle with using fractions is everyday life. Putting those skills into practice by dividing and sharing objects, measuring ingredients for the celebratory pancake breakfast or calculating the number of pancakes needed to serve everyone two pancakes brings the concept to life.
While most children develop emotionally and cognitively along the same pathway, the rate of development is not consistent. Some lag behind in one area and shoot ahead in another. This is normal. Traditional educational models do not always address these variations in development and aim to meet the needs of the average child. Child centered education gives each child an opportunity to develop at his own rate. This means your child is free to explore more advanced skills whenever he is ready, or to spend more time on concepts that come slower to him. Because the curriculum is more relaxed and flexible, children learn at their own rate without worries about meeting educational goals within a strict timeline.
What About Standardized Testing?
Traditional public schools rely on standardized testing to assess student learning. These are typically multiple-choice tests that cover concepts your child is expected to master at his grade level. Child centered charter schools often rely on demonstration of skills to assess student learning. This means teachers observe your child as he demonstrates what he knows. A portfolio, that often contains your child's drawings, examples of his writing and teacher notes about projects he has completed, is generally used as a record of your child's accomplishments. Portfolios give a picture of your child's educational achievement over time and do not rely on one test to assess his learning.
Are Charter Schools Best for All Children?
Teachers in many public schools strive to meet the individual needs of all children in the classroom. Many work to provide student-centered activities within the context of their curriculum guidelines. For the average learner, traditional public schools typically meet the educational needs of the student, but for students who lag behind or excel in some areas, there is little room for the child to learn at his own pace. A child centered charter school can often meet those needs more efficiently.Share
2 March 2015
As a child in elementary school, I excelled in certain areas. For starters, I was a literary person; so, I enjoyed writing and speaking in front of other students in class. I was also musical. I participated in singing events at school and took piano lessons during school hours. Thankfully, my parents encouraged me to develop my talents at an early age. I was also fortunate to attend a school that fostered this type of growth in its students through extracurricular activities and a diverse curriculum. If you have a young student who is struggling to find his or her way at school, talk with a teacher and determine what he or she is good at. Work with the teacher to develop these strengths. On this blog, you will learn how your child can develop hidden talents in elementary school.