Learning....journey of awe and discovery or imposed chore...?
Are you going to get 2 to 5 years old children into politics?
Yes and no.
No rules? More than ever!
We use democratic values as a method during the teaching and learning process.
Children are allowed to be part of the decision making process of things that concern their learning. This makes them confident, it highlights their individuality and it has a great impact in their self-esteem. But they also learn to compromise and understand the need to live in a community by sharing and negotiating to move forward.
It is now an extended idea that is wrong to have the same curriculum for all children to follow, or to teach children following the same learning methods. Ofsted highlights the need for individual learning and targets.
It is for these reasons that it is most appropriate for children to engage in their strengths, choices and likes to help them to move forward.
Life is full of examples of people who have failed to succeed because they are not able to show personal input or views for a job interview or university application.
This is not about allowing children to do what they want, but to take them seriously by giving them the opportunity to exercise their rights and voice more in a group.
At Being Free Being Me, children have the opportunity to participate in making their own set of rules and agreements as a group. This helps them to develop the individuality of each learner and their ability to be part of a learning community through interaction, agreement and cooperation. We believe that it is important that children feel as much in control as they can, knowing that their opinions and ideas matter and their feelings are respected.
Being Free Being Me uses among others, the following strategies:
Questioning: we allow children to question, to inquire and express themselves freely but always respecting other’s feelings.
Choice making and voting: Being Free Being Me encourages children to make as many choices as they can and to vote on those.
Feelings and emotions daily work: Students are able to work on techniques to explore and manage their feelings on a daily basis such as yoga, meditation, quiet time or brain rests, singing, ‘talk to someone’, daily reflection, etc.
Interacting: we include many activities that promote turn taking, sharing and collaborating for the group gain.
Promoting Respect and empathy: listen to others, learn to appreciate other children’s ideas and values, share and collaborate.
Lead and sharing success: children can lead activities for their peers with support linked to their personal interests and abilities. Children learn very well interacting, watching and imitating other children as well as adults.
Creating rules: encourage and help children to create group rules with assistance and guidance.
Involving children in staff recruitment and appraisals: we take seriously children’s opinions. We include in our person specification qualities that children find important in staff or key person. We also include questions in our interviews to staff that children think are important or they voice. Staff at interviews might be requested to prepare and deliver an activity for children under our supervision. By allowing children to participate in learner’s voice meetings we can gather information about what is working for children and what can we do better.
Free unstructured play
At Being Free Being Me we understand the importance of free unstructured play and self-directed learning for their emotional, social, intellectual and physical development. It allows the perfect environment to develop creativity.
It also allows more experimentation as it eliminates the element of failure by concentrating on the act of doing and not the end result. The children are free to start and stop activities at any time or merge them together. Times between activities or within are not rushed and children are given the opportunity to take their time to explore what they are doing.
Our planned activities are flexible in order to accommodate children’s wishes and ideas. The 7 areas which are part of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework will be set every day in the woodland through different activities and workstations.