Freedom in learning

It’s Tuesday morning. The sun is hot and intense. The children are playing in the cool shade under the tree. Wei (12) picks up a Chinese yoyo and starts to play with it. He is confident and adept at spinning it with the pair of hand-held sticks. Zhe (10) follows suit. He too is familiar with the toy as he has played with it at the kindergarten that his parents run in Klang. The rest of the kids look on. A few of them have a go at spinning the big yoyo. Then Lewis (6) decides to climb a tree. His sister Rosella (5) follows suit. Then Xuan (5) and Wen (8).

 

 

 

Zhe wants to climb too. But after several failed attempts, he attributes them to his weight and size. He is upset that he cannot climb up while the rest of the group are enjoying their view from the top. He starts to rant and whine. But his ever patient father encourages him to try and try again. But he fails and fails each time. It is 1pm and getting very hot now. The rest of the kids are hot and hungry. They climb down one by one to go back to the house. Zhe is not satisfied because he has yet to climb the tree. He stays back at the park. His dad stays with him.

Back at the house the children continue their play indoors. The girls play masak-masak in the playroom while the boys build their Lego house and gadgets. Wei lies on the floor, playing with some dried bean pods he picked up from the park. The mothers are busy preparing vegetarian lunch in the kitchen. It is 1.30pm. Zhe finally comes back with his dad. He has a big smile on his face. His dad shows the others the photos he took of Zhe on the tree.

He did it! Everyone claps and congratulates him.

This is an example of the beauty of freedom in learning. The child chooses to learn, or not to learn, at his own pace. The parent is supportive of his decision. The day before, he decided to give up because it was too hard. His dad was ok with that. Today he decides to try again. His dad supports his decision. His friends do not tease him for having failed in his earlier attempts. They understand that it can be difficult to do something sometimes, as a child. Because everyone is free to be himself or herself, there is no need for pretense nor the need to bully others.

Children growing up in such an environment learn to be accepting of others as well as themselves. When parents are okay with their children, then the children will be okay with themselves and with others. There are very few incidences of fighting or arguments. The energies flow smoothly amongst these children!

Speak gently with your child
and your child will be gentle.
Act lovingly with him
and he will be loving.
Be happy with her
and she shall be happy!
Let children be free to learn
With curiosity and intensity,
And their minds will be free to grow
In strength and velocit
Most of all, touch their hearts
with your wisdom and compassion,
And they will learn
to touch the hearts of others!

 

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