Noah’s Children- restoring the ecology of childhood #5

vine

My fifth extract from the book ‘Noah’s Children’ by Sara Stein challenges some notions of what education should be about for young children. She compares the needs of these ‘tinies’ with those of wandering vines…

‘Most vines…germinate, grow tendrils, and wave about (clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on the species) until they engage support. Then…they climb upward toward the light, where, in sunlit maturity, they are able to bloom and fruit….Random exploration is essential to fulfillment of the vine’s biological program. So are the wanderings of children….

…you have experienced the wanderings of a child, and how it feels when what you have come upon suddenly makes sense. First, you wander the kames and kettles, kick sand and sink in mud, climb up and down the abruptly steep terrain, find fringed gentians, suffer poison ivy: then you reach for the fabulous coherence of glacial geography. Nothing is wrong with formal education except that we have got it backward. Children need experiences to make sense of before what we teach them can make sense. In this view, education is not something imposed from outside, but arises in children’s need for adults to arrange coherently the chaos of their perceptions.’

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