|Math facts box for 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades|
|Nails bend. Getting them straight is not just a matter of luck.|
Lev Grossman, writer for Time Magazine had called the woman who told him of the direct harm to his child, "Suzie Joykiller." She had shattered his illusions of all the wonderful things he hoped technology was doing for his child. What about hand and eye coordination? These high tech parents ask. Try scissors.
Progressive education really means growth from within the child toward the embrace of the world at large and all the learning available within that expanding, progressive relationship. It begins with the family, proceeds from the school, through the community and through the culture. It explains why children in the primary grades used to visit their local fire stations. It wasn't just for fun but to expand the child's conception of self.
Otto Salomon, one of the primary co-founders of Educational Sloyd described progressive education in his prescription, "Start with the interests of the child, move from the known to the unknown, from the easy to the more difficult, from the simple to the complex and from the concrete to the abstract." Anyone watching a toddler with an iPhone will see that they are interested in it. The easy manipulation of images on the iPhone screen can be addictive and for some has become a thing better known than the real world that surrounds them. You can become lost in it, distracted by it. But it all misses being developmental on two fronts. It is not concrete, does not lead from the concrete to the abstract, but rather begins in abstraction and it does not lead from the easy to the more difficult except in the least concrete of terms. It fosters far too little responsive, creative engagement in either family or community and no actual creativity, that William James had referred to as "correlative expression."
Ed Tenner had written a piece for the New York Times, telling that laptops are not laps, and that children need the latter. I referred the editor from Nightline to friends at the Alliance for Childhood. If we want our children to be creative, leading our future in ways that restore success to our nation, progressive education, including such things as play with blocks, would be a good way to begin.
Make, fix and create...