Planning Prompts for Interest-Led Learning

The following is a guest post written by Christie Burnett of Childhood 101.

As an educator passionate about interest-led learning, I know that planning for and recording a child’s learning journey is about so much more than which subjects or developmental areas have been covered. Typically the exploration of a child’s area of interest will encompass multiple subject areas, some of which I am unable to even predict when I first notice the onset of a new fascination.

As a result I have always found it more helpful to brainstorm about the interest in a way which helps to set a context for the learning. This prompts me to consider the potential of the environment, literature, resources, creative expression, and even the community as learning resources.

These are the prompts I use when brainstorming the learning potential of a child’s interest.

– What is the child’s interest? Where did it stem from?

– What is driving the interest?

– What does the child already know?

– What questions does the child have?

– What theories have they been testing/discussing?

– What questions may stimulate further discussion and identify further theories to test?

– How can the learning environment extend the interest’s potential? Consider the following:

  • Set up of physical space
  • Resources to gather
  • Literature
  • Creative responses: Graphic and dramatic arts
  • Other experiences

– What community resources and experiences are available to support the child’s interest?

The answers to these questions do not form a definitive program of learning activities, nor should they in an interest-led curriculum.

Instead they equip the parent-teacher with a series of prompts and potential experiences, a veritable toolkit of ideas, which allows them to act as a responsive facilitator to the learning already taking place.

How do you support your child’s interest-led learning initiatives?

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  1. My parents were wonderful examples to me of supporting my interests as a child. When I was enthralled with rocks, they took me to museums and rock shops and let me find stacks of kids geology books to read from the library. That’s just one of many examples of how they let me fully explore my changing interests.

    As for my own children, I’m just beginning to help them discover and explore their interests. It takes some thought to balance their interests with what we can afford to do. My son, for example, loves trains. But instead of buying him a wooden train set right away, we take him to the Children’s Museum where they have a very large set that he enjoys.
    .-= Julia’s last blog: Summer Travel Tips to Keep Us (and the Kids) Sane =-.

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