This last week at Barrie Forest Kindergarten……
This week one of the posts on our page garnered some attention when it was shared on Explorations of Early Learning about the relaxed schedule of a child directed day.
Some thought it chaotic or too inconsistent. This was my reply to that concern:
“Most who follow a routine with kids can not fathom what this looks like. They see chaos, they see no order they see no continuity because they believe that these things have to be imposed by adults. In reality our day is set by a rhythm set by the kids. Things like gatherings, snack, quiet time usually follow a pattern.
Children are people too and crave the same habits, routines and familiarity as adults.
Much like us they do better following their own routines (how many people would do well being told where they can buy their morning coffee in the morning before work or that they couldn’t at all versus following their familiar routine).”
This week at Forest Kindergarten has brought home this idea not so much on the day to day but on the macro level of seasonal rhythms. One of the seasonal rhythms the children immerse themselves during season change in is a return to sensorial play and locomotive play. They seems to sense this will be their last chance to lay in the chill of the snow, to purposely loose and catch their balance on a patch of ice, to break something (ice and snow chunks) without worry of hurting something. They also seem to enjoy the magic of the new season – excited to throw things in the pond that just earlier this week was covered in ice. Being able to run on the dirt ground without worry of slipping on it or getting stuck in deep snow.
Every stage of play and learning exist to allow for learning, understanding and growing. Children come into this world with all the tools to learn, experiment, understand and teach. It is a magical process to watch, and I am sure they would say a magical process to be immersed in.
This Last Week at Forest Kindergarten……
One of the boys decided that it wasn’t spring yet, but it wasn’t winter. When I asked what season it was he declared “Treasure Hunt Season!” They were all so excited to find so many “treasures” on our travels today. From rocks, to pine cones, the countless sticks to a natural “rope” that was a vine or root the kids were having fun searching out new discoveries that were being revealed throughout the melting snow.
In Inquiry based learning there are 4 levels of inquiry with Confirmation Inquiry being at the bottom with teachers deciding and leading an inquiry.
The first or top Level is Open Inquiry where children are the leaders and decide everything from topic to finding their own information and drawing their own conclusions.
In teacher directed settings teachers are encouraged to start with level four as children are not as capable of thinking without teacher guidance and build to level one, the gold standard of learning, by the end of elementary school to take control of their own learning.
In child directed settings children are taught how to learn from the beginning and don’t need teachers constraining their learning with levels 2-4. Instead they learn the gold standard – the first level of inquiry based learning from the beginning as they learn to explore using open inquiry based learning.
The “treasure hunt” season has brought open inquiry to the forefront and the excitement of discovery is felt at our Forest Kindergarten.
At Barrie Forest Kindergarten we don’t practice or insist on walking in line because when there is need the children know how to do it.
The children are able to make the decision based on environment and circumstances rather than relying on an adults input they may or may not understand.
One boy to another today speaking about the difficulty of walking through knee high snow. “I am walking behind you so I can walk without falling in the snow”.
This also helps build relationships of interdependence, trust and helps the children feel the impact of contributing to their community and the importance of giving and receiving of help.