Impact of our view of the child


As we're thinking about moving to a more relational-based education system...and I say ‘moving'...there are many, many fabulous educators out there who are... they feel this in their bones, deep in their bones...So they are already doing it. But as we're moving more, recognizing the science, social and emotional development through relationship and through play -- kids learn best.

So as we're shifting to that kind of thinking, it really requires different framing, you know, different mindset. If we think that kids are empty vessels, that what our job is, is to teach them how to behave, you know, ‘stuff that duck,' as one of my families once said they felt like, you know, ‘stuff the piano lessons, my math lessons, my this lessons'...if we think the child is an empty vessel and we've got all this wonderful stuff -- how to get along, how to learn your letters, all of these things -- then we are going to be spending our time thinking about, ‘Ooh, how can I fill that vessel, how can I cover all of this curriculum?' And if you're busy thinking about that, you're thinking about, ‘Okay, so how can we get some of those drill and kill sheets,' it means that you've lost the space for thinking about, ‘Wow, I wonder what the kids are interested in? I wonder what I'll be able to follow in terms of their lead?'

Why is that so important? Well, you know, when you are following your own interests and you're excited about something, well, the areas in your brain that are open for learning are just like, ‘Whoa! Yeah, I want it!' When you are being forced...stuffed...those areas in your brain for excitement and learning are not nearly as receptive.

So if teachers are focusing here, they're missing this whole huge excitement, the brain, wondering about, "Ooh! What's possible?' Novelty is a hugely powerful learning tool, and so kids learning from each other, ‘Ooh! I didn't know that you would do that with that picture of the blue crane!' That is releasing neurotransmitters that says, ‘Oh! Pay attention to this, this is cool,' and more learning happens. But it's not just about more learning happens, more joy happens, more wonder happens, more, ‘Oh my lord! This is a miraculous thing, this childhood, and what kids are capable of doing.'