Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Human Development and Learning

This was posted to an unschooling list. The same principles holds throughout life!

In the course of researching an article about crawling (of all things), I can across some absolutely beautiful words by Dr. Alan Green, pediatrician:

"This is our goal: to provide a nurturing environment where a child can develop at his optimum pace. We don't want to hurry him; we do want to encourage him. We also want to identify anything that may be an obstacle in his path."

He then advises a concerned grandmother to "observe your grandson's spontaneous play. This will give you the best clues to the developmental tasks that are important for him to learn next. Children tend to be most excited about skills they are on the brink of mastering. If you try to engage him in an activity that is beneath his developmental level, he will quickly get bored. If you try to interest him in something that he is not yet ready for, he will become upset. (Note: babies don't tend to cry when they fail, but rather when the activity isn't at the right developmental level)...Provide situations where he can teach himself through playful exploration. Forced teaching hinders development."

(source: www.drgreene.org/body.cfm?id=21&action=detail&ref=354)

I know he wasn't talking about unschooling, but the words seem so, so applicable!


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