Child-Led Learning is Beautiful. And It Works.

Did you know that crocodiles don’t sweat? This is why you can oftentimes see pictures and videos of them with their mouths wide open, to cool them down. 

Did you also know that they can hold their breath for over an hour while they are underwater?! 

Another fun fact: crocodiles and hippos do not get along and will fight to the death if they come upon each other. 

Why the random crocodile facts? Because these are all things I’ve learned about crocodiles over the last several weeks while my son has taken a particular interest in them. It started with the National Geographic Croc vs. Hippo documentary on TV and has since escalated into YouTube videos, Googling random questions he throws my way, and many checked-out books from the library on crocodiles. 

It has reminded me that child-led learning is beautiful, and it works. I could have thrown together a crocodile unit for our at-home preschool at any point this school year, but his interest level would have never been as high had I brought forward the information. He saw something he was interested in and ready to learn about, so I followed his lead. 

A small handful of learning that I’ve witnessed from these last few weeks of crocodile learning: 

His ability to spout off random crocodile facts for anyone that will listen.
His recognition of the letter C has solidified. Because… C is for Crocodile!
He learned about different habitats and the difference between salt vs. fresh water.
His geographic knowledge of the globe has expanded.
His awareness of different cultures has grown.
His knowledge of technology and how it can be used for learning has been practiced. 

Child-led learning is beautiful, and it works. I can’t say how his learning would compare had I chosen a week to focus on the letter C and Cookie, but I’m fairly certain it wouldn’t have sparked as much excitement in him as learning about crocs did. 

Oh, and did you know? There are 14 different species of crocodiles on our Earth! How cool! 

Photo by Rene Ferrer

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