In the Collaborative Learning Process, the Exploration Stage (8 to 10 years old) is a time when a child does a lot of exploration in many topics of interest. Although each child has a style or interest that is revisited consistently, moving off it to explore other areas of potential comes more easily. It’s like sampling from the buffet table, but bringing the food back to your preferred table to eat.
Brain Development: Transition Stage
The second stage of learning is called the Transition Stage because it’s the beginning of the integration process of the two hemispheric specializations. Because the brain is beginning to expand its capacity, the child is more able to take advantage of all that childhood offers, though there will still be a me-centric aspect to learning (why are you doing this to me?) The Exploration Stage supports this stage of brain development because it supports the natural exploration into new topics outside of their natural interest when it’s more capable of being integrated. Short teaching moments allow each child to decide what skill or knowledge is ready to be pursued.
The Creative Learning Center Focus
Our learning environment for this stage is set up to continue to give value to those objects, topics, and interests that most appeal to each child. The Creative Learning Center Facilitator focus will be spending time expanding opportunities of learning by applying what was revealed about each child’s style of learning and interests to facilitating exploration requests and introducing new and relevant resources and knowledge.
The Creative Learning Center Facilitator Implementation
For each subject time period, Facilitator will introduce a concept, skill, or activity based on information gleaned from journal entries and observations, foundational non-interest areas of various children, and/or typical relevant childhood knowledge for that age range. This will be an interest-starter or skill continuation lasting no more than 15 minutes. It will almost always be hands-on, visual, interactive, or game-based in order to hold a young child’s interest. It will be open-ended in order to encourage exploration by the children. Facilitator will interact and observe the children by assisting in the continuation of the prompt. Each child will be encouraged to show or share understanding of the prompt through individual learning style preferences.
Children will always have the option of pursuing their own interests after this time, regardless of subject category. Facilitator will promote learning in this category by (1) adding fuel to each child’s focus (i.e., if they like whales, staff might suggest a book, activity, or toy on such), (2) expanding the interest (i.e., if they like whales, staff might talk about the oceans each live in and share resources on that), (3) bringing in other ideas based on similarities to the child’s focus (i.e., if they like whales, what about sharks?), and/or (4) opening the world to them through their learning style preference (i.e., if you liked learning about whales and sharks in the oceans, you might like an atlas as a tool).
The Creative Learning Center Curriculum and Resources
This age continues to learn through living books and manipulative-based learning tools, but also begins to dabble in open-ended educational tools and activity books, including a few small scale workbook and practice books. This is the time to encourage computer software games and apps as well as bringing in magazines, comic books, and other visual reading material. The Creative Learning Center has a full array of options in all categories. Last, this is a time when Friday class offerings are available because formal class settings become more meaningful and participating in groups such as Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts or 4-H is beneficial.
The Creative Learning Center Assessment Tools
Facilitator will write a journal entry for each child at least three times a day. During these observations, photos or samples of work pursued will be kept. These assessment tools will provide individualized learning knowledge for Facilitator, parents, and young people in understanding the way they learn best. These assessments will be compiled for parent viewing every Saturday.