One of my favorite things to do in my spare time is crochet and dance. I'm not an expert at either, but that doesn't matter. I'm not trying to be. I just doing something I find enjoyable. Parents choose hobbies such as dance, crochet, golf, and swimming because we find it enjoyable. We also have some control over the time we spend in our hobby, and we see the opportunities for success. Success might mean under par, a completed blanket, or a beautiful garden.
Children too learn best when they have some control over their activities and play! MAybe they are choosing between toys or between opportunities, but they need that sense of control within the boundaries you set for them.
These choices empower children to take control of their own learning. Children use materials and equipment in far more creative and innovative ways than we could ever plan, and they use the materials in ways that meet their own developmental needs. So instead of asking your child if they want to color, provide materials of a few varieties and see what they come up with.
Research indicates that intrinsic motivation – when we work on a task just because we find it enjoyable – is the most effective and engaging way to learn. Providing more choices when your child does homework, plays with toys, or reads for pleasure is a key way you can support intrinsic motivation!
Erin Rae is the Curriculum Coordinator at Lockport 91.
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