In the Collaborative Learning Process, the Collaborative Learning Stage (11 to 13 years old) is a time when a young person leaves his childhood behind and begins to step into adulthood. The young person has hit the height of his childhood abilities and explorations and now finds himself in new territory; a starting over phase of understanding how to develop an adult work ethic and learn goal setting skills to pursue purposeful adult work. This is where young people are ready to be mentored in more formal frameworks by the adults moving from gathering and honoring information to sharing and coaching information that empowers a young person to self-advocate effectively.
Brain Development: Integration Stage
The third stage of learning is called the Integration Stage because the established dominant brain preference increasingly integrates the opposite brain specialties until the learner becomes able to navigate most subjects. Because the brain is now fully integrated, it moves from a me-centered dynamic to an understanding of a young person’s place in the greater world. An adult is now more easily able to work with a young person. The Collaborative Learning Stage supports this stage of brain development by shifting with the young person from a childhood-focused support system to an adulthood-focused support system. Now is the time for each young person to be able to understand their own learning style and time frame needs as well as work more specifically on weak areas through this new knowledge.
The Creative Learning Center Focus
Our learning environment for this stage is set up to fully support the brain shift into adulthood and the skills required to accomplish that. A strengths-based focus will continue by giving value to those objects, topics, and interests that most appeal to each young person.
In the morning individualized learning time, The CLC Lead Facilitator focus will be spending time creating and supporting studies and discussing appropriate independent work systems for each young person. In the afternoon project-based learning time, The CLC Lead Facilitator focus will be facilitating and supporting interest-based topics, projects, and career and volunteer opportunities. The CLC Lead Facilitator will mentor and coach extensively on traits such as work ethic, independence, persistence, perseverance, responsibility, commitment, integrity, etc.
The Creative Learning Center Lead Facilitator Implementation
Lead Facilitator will conduct consistent mentoring sessions with each young person. The types of conversations that will occur will be on a more mindful and conscious level about how the young person likes to learn, where education will lead them, what the young person finds important, and what goals and pursuits interest them for their immediate future and later future. Lead Facilitator shares what observation reveals might be important for them, where wisdom shows how education can assist in future goals, and what, therefore, might be good goals and pursuits based on the young person’s view of their immediate and later futures as well as the bigger view of what possibilities exist. This may actually be the first realization young people have that an education is occurring; whereas, before, they had simply been experiencing the joy of learning.
Lead Facilitator initiates a collaborative effort in creating formal goals and work systems with each young person. Depending on the person, usually we start with one topic or subject or interest that would be important to them, but is not typically pursued by them naturally. This means it usually comes from those subjects outside of their interest and passion areas as well as supporting subjects. As collaboration occurs, Lead Facilitator points out why a subject might be important for the young person to pursue. Often, they agree and desire to add it to their learning process. Then, together, collaboration on how best to pursue the topic through a brainstorming session entails, bringing in the ways the young person typically likes to learn. Over this entire stage, the subjects/topics pursued in this area grow until it is encompassing the morning individualized study time period. Lead Facilitator will fully support the transition of the young person into these formal academic structures.
Young people will continue to pursue their interests and passions in the afternoon project-based learning time. Lead Facilitator will promote learning in this category by (1) facilitating needs the young person has to accomplish a project or interest-based study, (2) identifying resources available to the young person in expanding an interest or project, (3) encouraging entrepreneurial or volunteer opportunities surrounding an interest or project, and/or (4) arranging internships, teaching classes, or locating public venues to showcase their work.
The Creative Learning Center Curriculum and Resources
Learning through living books and manipulative-based learning tools is a good core foundation for any age learner, and it continues in all age groups at all levels. Formal resources and tools are added in as these young people learn to navigate formal goal setting experiences. Leadership and speaking and/or teaching opportunities are created within The Creative Learning Center whether in the form of mentoring younger children, modeling for their peers, especially in their line of passion, or seeking group project opportunities. Utilizing our community resources is especially beneficial at this age through apprenticeships, volunteering and/or more meaningful interactions and in-depth knowledge seeking through weekly Mentor classes.
The Creative Learning Center Assessment Tools
Samples of work will be collected from each young person during independent work time. Lead Facilitator will write a journal entry for each young person under their supervision during independent studies and project-based learning time (at least twice a day). During these observations, photos or samples of work pursued will be kept. These assessment tools will provide individualized learning knowledge for Lead Facilitator, parents, and young people in understanding the way they learn best. These assessments will be compiled for parent viewing every Saturday.