Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Journey And Quest

It was her first day playing on our playground. 

I was hanging around the swing set near the top of the slope that defines our entire outdoor space. She said to me, "I want some wood."

I answered, "I'll show you where we keep it" and walked with her down the hill to the workbench were I pointed out our collection of scrapes. She picked out piece from a picture frame.

I watched her carry her wood to the play house, then around it, as if looking for something.

Her mother was standing nearby, watching her daughter as well. I said to her, "She told me she needed some wood."

"Oh, I think she wanted that because she was going to try using the vices on the work bench. I thought she had forgotten about that."

When the girl came back into view, I called out to her, "Here is a vice!"

Her face showed recognition and then determination as she got to work fixing her wood into the vice. 

She had had a question about herself and that vice. Not immediately finding everything she needed to answer that question, she had set out on a journey to find me, a person who she thought might have the information she needed: knowledge about where to find wood. She had come to the top of the hill, a place far enough away that she had gotten a little lost. Wood in hand she then continued her quest on her own, finally achieving it, answering the question that had sent her on that journey in the first place.

Children asking their own questions, then setting out to answer them: this is self-directed learning.

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