One of the things I enjoy about my church kindergarten class is the more relaxed expectations and the more open atmosphere. In a school classroom, we must be much more focused on standards and curriculum and accomplishing what needs to be done. In my church classroom, we do have goals for each learning time, but everything is not driven by what must be done.
And I've discovered that in this environment, when kids have time to explore something and permission to veer off the "path," they become creative. They explore ideas. They try things that they may not have tried before.
We often wonder and think about what would happen if we tried a different approach. We do some things that fail. We adjust and try new things.
We observe what others are doing and try it ourselves. We explore and expand on our own ideas and on the ideas of others.
Permission says yes. Yes, try that. Yes, you can move this to the other table. Yes, we can pull that from the cabinet and add it to your activity.
But shouldn't this be what happens in every classroom? Should children have the time and the permission to explore and experiment. To discover and investigate? To fail and try again?
When I'm in a school classroom again, I'm going to look for ways to add time and permission. I want to encourage each student to create understanding by exploring and playing.
Often we hear that kids need to be reading this or "mathing" that. But making learning real - encouraging kids to use different ways to gain understanding - that's the goal of education.
I want to find more ways to give time. I want to look for new ways to give permission. I want the room to be filled with problem-solving.
That's when the real learning happens.