It still astounds me that people are skeptical of a child’s ability to teach themselves.
“They need to be taught how to read and write!”
“We have to teach them maths“
“How will they ever learn if we don’t teach them?”
“At some point you’re going to have to sit them down for some formal learning.”
There is this idea that ‘natural learning’ is all well and good for young children but at some point you’re going to have to teach them the all important curriculum! They absolutely can not teach themselves to read and write. Not possible!
This is a myth.
What do children do before they start school? They teach themselves. In fact, they learn one of the most complicated things of all! They learn, all on their own, to decipher the complexities of a language! They learn to make sense of what people around them are saying, they learn to interpret body language and facial expressions, and they learn how to communicate through speech. They do this without any explicit instruction! They do it by observation and a desire to be involved in life. They don’t need to be pushed or motivated or shown how ‘fun’ talking can be. They are motivated by their own desire to learn because it is meaningful and relevant to them.
Children who grow up in bilingual households even learn two languages. TWO!! Does that not amaze you? How do they do it? I have no idea. Do we need to know? Is it only meaningful if we know how it works? No. It just does. We just need to accept it. Children learn to communicate on their own. We don’t need to interfere with the process.
Society tells us that this amazing learning doesn’t continue past age 5. But, having seen what they can do up until now, how can you believe that? How is that possible? Suddenly a switch is flicked and children stop being able to learn themselves? No, nothing about this self-learning process changes when a child turns five. They don’t suddenly lose the ability to teach themselves. The only difference is that we stop trusting them. How very insulting! We send them to school to ‘get educated’ thinking that if we didn’t they couldn’t possibly learn everything they need to know. But one look at all that children have accomplished on their own prior to this point should tell you that this is wrong. Children are perfectly capable of teaching themselves anything. Yes, even how to read and write!
Give them a chance to show you.
If you have any doubt in the ability of children to teach themselves then this video is for you.