Learning Theories and Philosophies
Every child is different, learns different, and develops at a different pace, so how can only one theory or philosophy reach every child? I don’t believe it can, so I use a combination of theories, philosophies, strategies, and methods to better engage every child in learning. Our philosophy mostly centers around Montessori with a bit of constructivism.
An Italian physician and scientist, Dr. Maria Montessori, developed a child-focused approach to teaching children in the early 1900’s, which is still highly utilized in classrooms around the world today. The Montessori method is “student-led and self-paced but guided, assessed, and enriched by knowledgeable and caring teachers, the leadership of their peers, and a nurturing environment” (AMS, 2020, paragraph 4) which consists of a community of multi-age children. In this environment, children are encouraged to question, probe, investigate, explore, experiment, and problem-solve. The Montessori method focuses on the whole child and supports a hands-on, child-centered approach to learning.
Other theorists, such as Piaget and Vygotsky endorsed a constructivist approach to educating children. “The main idea behind a constructivist approach is that children build their own knowledge through hands-on experiences” (Gadzikowski, 2020, chapter 1.4). Using this philosophy will allow the children to expand their boundaries and minds to create their own meanings and construct their own understanding of the world around them.
This program’s focus is on allowing the children to question, explore, and experiment. I strive to teach them real life skills through hands-on experiences and adventures. Each new life skill learned enhances the children’s development as well. Play is another crucial aspect of how children grow, learn, and develop. I allow plenty of free and organized play time, which also allows the children to build social skills. I implement and teach conflict resolution techniques to the children to help them build better relationships and social skills. I value parent involvement and work to build relationships with parents and families as well as the children.