Saturday, 3 August 2013

Group Time

Why are we so stuck on group time?

You do know don't you that when you put a group of 15 children on a carpet and talk at them you may have half of them hanging off your every word, but the other half will be thinking about Peppa Pig or staring at their toes and wondering why they have so many?

Why is there still so much pressure to provide group time while at the same time the experts are advocating small, optional, spontaneous group experiences? Furthermore, why do we justify the need for group time by saying that children have to be prepared for school, while at the same time school is changing to become more and more hands-on, as it should be? Educational theorists have known for decades that children learn best through hands-on experiences, so why are we insisting that we know better?

Piaget believed that children learn through interacting with objects and people in the environment. Vygotsky believed in practical activity in a social setting. Froebel believed in group singing, but thought that most of the time children should be interacting with nature and with educational toys which he called 'gifts'. Montessori was all about manipulative materials. Steiner advocated body exercises which could be done as a group, but his focus was on real life experiences.

I challenge anyone to find me an early childhood theorist who believes that whole group discussions, activities or flash cards are necessary. And why are we preparing children for school at 2, 3 or 4 years old? School is a lifetime away in their world. If you love the sense of power and the sound of your own voice too much maybe you should become a high school teacher. If you do, however, please remember - the best high school teachers use lots of hands-on learning.

No comments:

Post a Comment