Wrestling with balance
Balance is the word that comes to mind every time I have a discussion with family, friends or colleagues in terms of how we put our philosophy of education in to practice. Balance between a developmental curriculum / child-centred approach with ensuring children reach their age-related milestones.
So, I started to research the developmental milestones for 18 month to 6 year olds. Many hours / days have been spent compiling a document which includes what a child should be able to do at each stage in terms of:
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Communication and language
- Physical development and health
- Mathematical concepts
- Understanding the world
- Arts and design
…alongside ideas on how adults and the environment can support. The thinking being that the milestones could be used as a checklist to ensure children are making the appropriate progress whilst working from a child-centred approach.
It all seems to make perfect sense…but at the same time God has been bringing the word ‘lukewarm’ to the front of my thinking. In Revelation 3 God reveals He has no time for someone who is lukewarm; neither hot nor cold, “I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16). Decisions that are made in relation to the school and education need to be hot!
I am left considering the following…
Is working from a child-centred approach and having checklists just being lukewarm? Do the two contradict one another? How can we ensure children make the appropriate progress whilst working from a child-centred approach? The educationalist within me says this can’t be left to chance.
So what next? How do we ensure we remain true to our philosophy, giving every child the opportunity to fulfil their God given potential?
Recently I met with a colleague, who as soon as she saw me explained how she needed to invite me to a conference. The conference, in June, will consider further the Reggio Emilia Approach of curiosity, creativity and discovery. The conference is attended by people from all over South Africa, who have many years of experience in working from a child-centred approach. I knew straight away that I need to attend – to be with others who are passionate about education – who I can learn from and with – where I can wrestle further with key decisions that need to be made to ensure that whatever processes / structures we put in place remain true to our philosophy.