Caulbridge School - Education for our Time

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Childhood is a Distinct Time

Debra Lambrecht, Founder, Caulbridge Education | September 17, 2014

Girls holding hands at Caulbridge SchoolChildhood is a distinct and valid time in and of itself, and not something to hurry through in a race toward adulthood. Children are not miniature adults; they have a unique set of needs for healthy development. Only when children are engaged with relevant and developmentally appropriate activities can developmental milestones be reached and real learning occur.

At birth, the brain is largely developed with separate motor centers in tact; the language center, executive function center, etc. During early childhood, neuropathways or neural circuitry of almost unimaginable complexity is being built at a rate of seven hundred synapsis per second. This network of connections between motor areas and hierarchy of systems is the basis upon which future behavior and learning will be possible. Engaging the senses, moving the body and human relationships are the most influential factors in the healthy development of these neuropathways.

Caulbridge School correlates educational methods and practices to the developmental changes occurring in the child, and resists the trend to introduce activities or concepts before a child is ready. It may seem logical that exposing children to as many different experiences as possible would foster curiosity in children; however, we find it can have the opposite effect of overloading children’s senses and destabilizing them. In an environment of healthy rhythms, consistency and encouragement the young child develops a foundation for trusting themselves and their world. Curiosity naturally unfolds in this kind of caring environment.

‘The right activity at the right time’ is fundamental to a child’s learning and development. Unlike the Common Core’s top-down approach (identify the desired final outcome for graduating students, divide up the content and map it backwards to its earliest stages in kindergarten), Caulbridge education uses a model of the healthy physiological and intellectual development of the child. The kindergarten child is perceived to have substantively different needs and learning capacities than a teenager. When learning reflects the developmental stages of the child, mastery is more likely to be effective, empowering and enjoyable for the student.