I think it is probably a truism to say that children grow up. They start from birth, entering their specific environment with their embedded genetic code, then begin the process of making sense of the world around them. Indeed, it can be some time before, as parents, we begin to understand the infant “communication”. We put the words into the child’s mouth, long before they can articulate anything for themselves, requiring only a physical acknowledgement. The child’s early education is often unstructured, (hopefully) led by very enthusiastic and encouraging amateurs (parents), opening their eyes and ears to what is around them. Some will have attempted to engender specific areas such as counting and introduction to books. Of course, there will be a significant number who will not have had those advantages.
Education, in its formal sense, can start in pre-school, or certainly from the start of the Early Years Foundation Stage, with more specified routes into learning and the what of content. This journey lasts, now, until the child is 18. There appears to be a logic appearing that every child will progress through the same journey, with many (formal) checks on the way. The language of checking and judgement can have a significant impact on subsequent attitude and effort, both essential to sustained progress.
As part of Pedagoo Local Hampshire, I have offered to run a learning conversation on the issue of education 4-18, seeking to identify potential barriers and explore how they could be overcome. I’ve come up with a few starter questions, but please feel free to add any others.
Are barriers created at transition and transfer points?
Does professional dialogue and understanding support/ease transition?
Is the expectation of “set points” at certain ages helpful to longer term effort and success? Should we have baseline expectations?
Is the same curricular route necessary for every child?
Do we have a clear definition of progress?
Do schools do enough to engage and support parents in the process of their child’s learning?
Does it matter which end of the educational telescope you look through?
I would invite comments from colleagues to help me to think on the subject over the next few months, to better inform the discussion. Please feel free to develop thoughts through the comment thread below, or tweet me on @ChrisChivers2.
Cross-posted from Chris Chivers Thinks