Last night I was watching some elementary school kids navigate an inflatable obstacle course. The line was long and the kids were over the moon about getting inside.
What I observed was fascinating. The first time through, each child seemed a little hesitant, not knowing what awaited them inside the inflatable. As the child crawled into the entrance, the child behind him/her, would look through the opening to see what lay ahead when it was his/her turn. There was nothing to see, though. No data to be gathered at the starting point.
Once a child was through the element, and returned to the back of the line, he/she was now an expert. Data collected. The kids ahead in line would turn and ask, “What’s it like in there?” “Is it dark?” “Is it hard?” “Were you scared?”
At that point, the experienced student, the one who had been through the element, had much to share. He/she would answer the questions thrown out by the “newbies” with great confidence. As other “experts” came to the back of the line after finishing, little pods of kids would discuss his/her experience, comparing notes and telling tales of the strategy they employed inside the element. Often, others would say, “Good idea. I’m going to try that.”
Over and over the scenario at the back of the line repeated. Discussion, comparison, theories, strategies developed…kids learning from kids.
Now, more than ever, children need to learn how to work together. Teamwork is more the norm in any work environment, and therefore should be used as often as possible in the learning environment.
Red Door teachers recognize the importance of teaching kids to work together, both inside and outside of the classroom. To that end, we use collaboration, cooperation and project-based learning to ensure that our students have the tools needed for future success.