While reading a book about the earth during story time, the children became interested in the animals pictured in the book. They were familiar with most of them, however one particular animal sparked their curiosity, and that was a rhinoceros. The enormous size, shape, and features intrigued the children.
To encourage their curiosity, the teachers printed images of a rhino and wrote the word “rhinoceros” and placed this, grey markers, and white paper on the light tables. As the children began trying to draw the rhino, together we identified the pointy horns, counted how many legs a rhinoceros had, and concluded that it is definitely not soft or fluffy. The children made note that the rhino was “all grey” and spoke with each other about the rhino being “big.”
We wanted to keep learning about different aspects of a rhinoceros’ life, so we continued to read many different books about them. Stay tuned for another post… we have a feeling this project is not over with!
This activity highlights how certain projects are started. It’s all based on the child’s interest, what they want to learn about, and expressing their knowledge in as many ways as possible. We believe children are curious and capable human beings who have interests and imaginations that need to be expressed. One of the key ways we are able to succeed in a child-led learning approach is a result of our wonderful teachers. Our teachers at Little Wonders are trained to listen, observe, and then encourage a deeper understanding through art, sensory play, discussions, music, theatre, and more!
Some critics of child-led curriculum say that children don’t have as many opportunities to learn because they don’t know enough about the world. We don’t think that’s true at all, and that’s because of our view of children… capable human beings who deserve respect and a chance to express their knowledge. Moreover, it’s rare that a study on a food, animal, or job stays stagnant on that one topic. Our projects are constantly evolving. What may start as a study on a rhinoceros can transform into a study on animals that have horns, the differences between reptiles, mammals, and amphibians, and a study on the continents and countries where rhino’s live.
In easier terms, our curriculum is based on the children’s passions and pursuits that we observe from their dialogue and play. The whole process is about collaboration, learning with the children, and instilling a love of learning into them!