The Early Learning Center at Jefferson Open School: (Re)discovering the joy of learning.
In this article the authors share some of the practices and conditions they implemented in their classroom (grades 1-3) in order to facilitate self-directed learning. By the age of 6, when children come to first grade, they have already been exposed to factors supportive of or detrimental to forming the habits of self-directed learning. Current public education mandates also pose a challenge to maintaining a program designed to foster self-direction skills. It is the contention of the authors that nurturing the habits of self-direction in learning in the early grades requires the four following conditions: (a) an emotionally safe classroom community, (b) a rich and inspiring curriculum, (c) unstructured time and opportunities for choice, and (d) open-ended materials.
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