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In child-directed programs, children are free to explore their interests and ideas.
With a child-directed approach, children learn through experiences, not lessons. Teachers/caregivers offer support as children work together to solve problems. In this way, child-directed programs have a lot in common with play-based programs. In both approaches, adults provide support but step back to let the children lead.
The child-directed approach is:
- Open-ended. Teachers/caregivers provide support, but allow children the freedom to let their interests, curiosity, and imaginations lead them.
- Collaborative. Children work and play together to solve problems and create narratives.
- Imaginative. Children are free to follow their own interests and ideas.
- Safe. The child-directed learning environment is created with children in mind. All learning tools are age-appropriate. Children are free to explore without restrictions.
Child-directed programs teach:
- Self-reliance. When students play together, they learn to rely on themselves and their classmates.
- Problem solving. In child-led programs, children learn through doing. This creates opportunities for learning valuable problem solving skills.
- Communication. Children learn to communicate with one another by sharing ideas and playing make-believe.
- Creativity. Children learn to follow and trust their imaginations and play off the ideas of one another.
- Cooperation. Children learn to work together and cooperate with one another. Teachers/caregivers are there to provide support, but do not act as referees.
- Appropriate behavior. Teachers/caregivers model behaviors for students.