Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Learning when to Hold and Learning when to Fold

For a while Rainbow has wanted to build a Ninky Nonk and was collecting equipment. Then eventually one day I had the useful box out and she set about building her Ninky Nonk while I built a cave that I'll show soon. We don't do a lot of useful box construction as she's still a little young. In the past I've had to ask a lot of questions to help her. Initially about the thing she was building, the parts of the thing, the objects in the box that resemble the part, where she was going to join it.... I would then suggest how to join in and help her do so. Very Vygotsky "zone of proximal development" - learning happens in the gap between what children can do alone and what they can do with assistance.
This Ninky Nonk project was a lesson in not interfering in my daughter's learning.
I jumped in and offered to join two carriages (with a pipe cleaner) which she accepted but then I watched her devise her own way of joining the next two carriages with sticky tape.
I offered to cut a door in one carriage which she accepted only to watch her load her Pontipines through her own door (the lid of the container).
The ability to stand back and let my children own their own learning is a challenge I face as a parent.
You might be interested in this article about not limiting your child's learning from the thought provoking White Oak School.


  1. i think the ability to get out of their way is very challenging to parents and VERY challenging to teachers (who, after all, have been trained that it's their job to actively teach/transmit knowledge).

    allowing them to work their way their slowly means they will *really* learn it and they will *own* that knowledge and will go on from there -- so much better for them! :)

    thanks so much for the link, and for your comments on ccb!

  2. You are so right! It can be difficult to stand back and let them figure things out for themselves... Letting them make mistakes helps them learn. Even though I know this it is still difficult to do at times!

    By the way, I used Navy Beans in my bean bags.

  3. Thanks Kristine! I thought it was you - but when I checked your last few posts I couldn't find it. I didn't realize it was from an older post. Thanks for the idea! The girls love it. I changed the post to include your blog and a link! Keep the good ideas coming :-)