If there is one thing that helped me scale through last year, it has to be developing my students’ autonomy.
Encouraging them to carry out different tasks based on their strengths and skills. I saw a lot more confident children at the end of the term than I started with.
Most adults assume that this would mean children would go haywire and become ‘uncontrollable’ and therein lies the problem. We need to understand that in order for human beings to thrive, autonomy is one of the cognitive needs that should be met.
Autonomy simply put, is the freedom of choice. In relation to child development, autonomy will mean that children start to become aware of their ability to be self-sufficient and make their own decisions.
Children develop a sense of autonomy as early as the age of 1. They begin to show signs of independence and would want to make certain decisions by themselves (Does the term ‘No’ sound familiar?).
When we give room for children to exercise their autonomy, we are then raising children who grow to be:
- Solution providers
- Assertive and confident.
The list is endless.
The first on my list will be … drum rolls…. PLAY.
PLAY AND AUTONOMY.
- Play is the easiest way to allow children exercise their autonomy. Play exposes children to different social situations that will require them to make decisions, take risks and attempt new things. As they play, they get to face little ‘challenges that require them to think of ways to solve such problems without the help of an adult.
Some other ways are:
- Assigning Age Appropriate tasks and responsibilities to children: Let them put on their shoes, rinse their cereal bowls, tidy up after themselves, etc.
- Give them time to complete tasks whether assigned or self-chosen. Don’t be too quick to rescue them when they attempt to do something. Be patient with them. Your role is to supervise and guide them.
- Indulge their curiousity. When you notice a child is curious about something, discuss it with them, talk about the pros and cons.
- Give room for them to ask you questions. Ask them questions that stimulate their curiousity and get them to think critically.
Respect their opinions and views as you guide and supervise them.