This article is a continuation of the ideas from the earlier post. In “Active Engagement”I shared about how the act of children choosing their own work invites an engagement where children are invested and involved in the process of creating and finding answers to their wonderings.
This series of articles are inspired by a video I viewed on Twitter a few days ago titled “Characteristics of Playful Experiences that Lead to Deeper Learning.” The title of this post and the last post directly correlate to a list of five attributes the Lego Foundation says that,“Play looks like in practice.” The video struck a cord with me because these are the attributes I see everyday when working with the school age children. I am inspired to share what our practice and the children’s work are like in relation to the attributes in the video.
When choosing their own work, often children are engaged with other children and much of the process of exploring their wonderings is done in collaboration. The process of discovery and creation then becomes a place for social interaction. During these partnerships in learning, ideas are shared and fuel the process of iteration that accompanies much of the children’s work.
When children choose to work in collaboration, the search for answers and the discoveries made during the journey go to greater heights than if the children choose to work alone. The search for solutions to challenges when playing a game, or creating a new invention, is multiplied by the act of the children collaborating.
Another outcome of collaboration is the social connections created as the children work together. These social interactions invite the children to practice the skills we all need to be successful contributors to society. A large part of the play and work that happens in a school age program is connected to the social interaction of the children. Practicing social skills and assisting the children in the negotiation of these skills is an important part of our work.
The learning community is made of people and inviting the members in the learning community to learn more about and from each other as they play, wonder, discover, and create is the core of what makes a program thrive. The connections children make during work and play are the friendships that last a lifetime and become the glue that ties the learning community to the larger community.
To learn, know, and accept those who have different ideas from ours and are different from us begins at a young age. Being socially interactive is the space in children’s experience where they learn about the differences in people and how we are all different and the same. This blend of people and differences make up the wonderful space of learning and discovery that is the learning community.
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