Jean Piaget said: “Every time we teach a child something, we keep him from inventing it himself…That which we allow him to discover by himself…will remain with him.”

Discovery is the key word from Piaget that we need to keep in mind when dealing with the learning process in young children. Children are open to learning in different ways on different days, however, providing repetition in order to promote learning is key. The repeated experience must be carefully thought out for its learning to be most beneficial for children. At Workshop, we observe children at “work.” We use our long-range observation as a yardstick of development in supporting individualized growth.

Literacy develops as a result of careful listening and modeling. Children need to have experiences before they attach words to those experiences. They need to know that language belongs to them and to communicate (non verbally and verbally) before they tackle formalized tasks of reading.  Before reading, children need experiences with wind, soil, water, sand, animals and their care, textures, music, concepts of pattern, counting, transportation, community, libraries, grocery stores! They need freedom to DO storytelling through drama, creative dress-up, open ended play. Giving them these foundational blocks with a broad background in language expression and exposure to many genres of literature not only benefits the children but those working with them! Learning together means laughter (and sometimes tears) as much as it is sharing of good books, making beautiful drawings, singing songs.  It is a sense of playfulness that we all need to bring into the process of our everyday learning together.

It has been identified that what we really need in our schools is a sense of belonging, a sense of safety, and to have fun. Retaining our own sense of playfulness  means that we will impart in our next generation of children a stronger sense of optimism about life and living–a sense that we are surely needed, that we belong–a purpose.We think of this at “Workshop” as purposeful, fun play with a high regard for each individual–a respect for each individual contribution. We give children plenty of opportunities to talk–to share their experiences, to summarize their thoughts. Problem solving is a process of learning to listen to one another, to take turns, to converse together, to make friendships.

Experience is, indeed, the central core of the learning process shared by both children and the adults who they love!