Once we got some clarity about what our learning space should offer, we were faced with the question of ‘what the child needs to learn’ or what are the ‘fundamentals’?
Yes, we will naturally attempt at filling the learning gaps, but what will be our reference point to assess these learning gaps? The simple solution was ‘What class should the child be in now? Get a textbook of that class and teach all of it.’
Then we hit upon the question, ‘Does age matter in learning?’ You might say ‘Obviously! You can’t teach a 3-year-old about atoms.’ And we would counter that by saying ‘Well! You can’t teach that even to a 35-year-old if they have no basic understanding of what things are made of, can you?’. So it all narrowed down to getting your basics right.
So, what are the fundamental concepts or ideas a child should have in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geology, astronomy, etc. to progress? What is the foundation upon which a child builds his/her understanding of the world?
Here’s what we arrived at!
- Physics: Concept measurement (the fundamental units and what they measure)
- Chemistry: What is the world made up of? (beginning with what is visible i.e. the elements)
- Biology: Classification of things in the world (living, non-living, animals, plants etc.)
- Understanding Numbers (as an expression of quantity, systems)
- Working with Numbers (operations)
- Visualising the world mathematically (with shapes and numbers – geometry)
- Technology: Step-by-step thinking to reach the desired solution
Geology, astronomy, and all else that needs to be learnt, we figure, branch off from these roots.
Would more would you add to these roots to get your basics right?