Monday, May 14, 2012

Understanding the Learning Process

This is a short explanation of the learning process that we will be using in the Flood Garden.  It is a process that takes that combines some of the best proven learning methods which I have customized for the Flood Garden.  This method will use your already great methods of childcare and teaching and enhance them with the addition of a few new ideas, a few new learning tools and new approaches to learning.
This image displays the learning goals we are trying  to achieve.  Our learning environment should foster many opportunities for the child to discover through awareness, learn content to increase his knowledge and be given the skills to define their attitude and give them motivation.  Only when surrounded by opportunity will the child understand how to see, seize and/or create opportunities in his environment.

Preparing a lesson that includes the Flood Garden can be challenging.  It requires a solid understanding of the learning process.  It also requires a clear vision and a firm structure.  The lessons must include thoughtful results (outcomes), performance  evaluations (assessments), and authentic learning experiences.
The goal of every unit is to provide opportunities for the student  to learn to change his  behavior and learn new habits. Behavior is a temporary modification of one’s actions but habits are a lifetime change. 
In traditional lessons, knowledge is imposed through repetition. Attitude and motivation are enforced through discipline and punishment.  Awareness is limited to the teacher’s ability to inspire the student and skills are measured on paper and pencil tests. 
In a Flood Garden lesson,  the student will have achieved our intended purpose for each lesson when he gains awareness of the lesson objective, he gains enough knowledge to want to learn more (attitude), he obtains the motivation to act and the skills to put what he has learned into action.  When a child understands that he has the ability to take action, he is able to monitor his own behavior and it is easier for him to learn and form positive habits.

 A Simple Path  to the Formation of Positive Habits.

This image is meant to illustrate the learning process in the Flood Garden model.  Because we begin with the End of the lesson or the Unit in mind, the student is aware the purpose of a lesson which helps him understand the meaning of what he is learning.  It not only becomes much easier for him to retain the information and apply the knowledge more skillfully, but also helps him feel more motivated to achieve. 

The goal of learning is to give a person a set of positive habits that allow them to see, seize and/or create the opportunities that life offers and help establish a good quality of life for themselves, their families and their communities.  We want teach our students good habit patterns right from the very beginning. 

A large part of developing good habits in a child is providing that child with environmentally and age appropriate learning tools in each learning station.  If the learning station is too easy, the child will grow bored and lose interest.  Loosing interest in learning might lead to the child destroying the tools or cause them to engage in other negative behavior.  Similarly, if the learning station is too difficult, the child might get discouraged and also lose interest.

Teachers that fail to understand this simple fact or lack the resources to provide the appropriate learning tools must often deal with many discipline problems in their classroom.  In many schools, the children's misbehavior is seldom interpreted reason to revisit the class curriculum and course tools.  Children often suffer at the hands of well meaning but frustrated educators who are themselves victims of a system that forces the students to fit the curriculum rather than provide a curriculum that fits the students.  It is, therefore important that the Flood Garden teacher understands the learning process and has the skills to create learning materials to fit that process.

The Flood Garden is therefore a place where children can learn from knowledgeable teachers who thoughtfully provide students’ minds with thought provoking and age appropriate experiences.  Our goal is to is to stimulate the students’ curiosity and encourage them to be active learners now and life long learners in the future.  Because we do not know what the future holds, our aim is to provide the children with minds that are open and flexible as well as with the ability to problem solve and view challenges from many angles.

Preschool students are fascinating.  Almost everything in life interest them and they spend much of their time asking why or questioning their surroundings.  This is why we must use things in their environment to teach the children and allow them to manipulate that environment so they can find the answers for themselves.  Children love to explore with their hands and their senses and teachers must be the facilitators of this natural learning process

A good teacher will spend much time observing the behavior of her students and planning lessons and activities that make the connection between what the students are interested in and the focus of her lessons.

Although the Flood Garden model encourages the teacher to allow students to develop at their own pace, the teacher must also be equipped with a simple developmental rubric that will serve as milestones to a child’s progress. These charts should never be used to punish or pressure a child’s progress but a way to establish developmentally appropriate lessons and activities.

The following information is meant to serve as a guide for the teacher to create his own developmental chart specially customized to reflect what his students will need to succeed in their community.  For example, a child that lives in a community where there is a system of rules and  laws to help a child get from home to school safely (eg. school busses, road crossing guards, parent patrols, etc...) will be prepared differently by his teacher than children from communities that do not have similar accommodations.

This section will cover the cognitive, language, social/emotional and motor development.

The Learning Development of 2-3 year olds.

The Cognitive Development

The Cognitive Development is the growth of a person’s ability to think, understand and reason.

A cognitive development observation chart can help understand  the development of the learning structures and systems in the brain that begins at birth and continues through adulthood. These include the formation of thought processes such as memory, problem solving, exploration of objects, the ability to understand concept, etc.


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  1. Please feel free to make comments. I will be adding new content to this blog every day.


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