Child Centered Education Vs Traditional Education: What You Should Know

Posted on: 9 February 2016

When your child reaches the age at which they should be starting school, you may find yourself faced with several different decisions to make about the future of their education. After all, your child's education is the foundation upon which the rest of their life will be based. One of the major decisions that you will need to make is between a child centered education experience and a traditional education style. Many of the child centered schools are charter schools whereas traditional education is more the realm of public schools and prep schools. Get to know some of the differences between child centered education and traditional education so that you can make the best decision for you and your child.

Child Centered Education Is More Flexible

Traditional models of education, particularly those that are used in public education, can be somewhat constrictive. They are designed to meet the needs of what is considered to be the "average" student based on their age and development level. Of course, the truth of averages when it comes to people, is that many will fall to either side of this average.

It can be difficult if not impossible for teachers working within a traditional educational framework to accommodate the needs of children who fall above or below the average. This means that some children have their abilities stifled whereas others do not get the opportunity to learn at a pace that suits them and miss out on learning opportunities.

If your child falls within the average range, this may not be a problem. However, if they deviate substantially from the norm, they may actually benefit from the more flexible nature of a child centered education. Children who are advanced are encouraged to move on to new skills and tasks when they are ready to do so and are free to explore new areas of learning. And children who need a little extra time to learn a new concept, skill, or task will get the time and assistance they need to learn and grow.

Child Centered Education Is More Hands-On

Generally speaking, traditional education focuses on a model in which the teacher prepares a lesson or lecture that is delivered to the students. Following the lecture, students will do worksheets or other writing and reading activities to practice and solidify the concept in their minds. However, this is not always considered to be the best way to learn.

Younger children especially, but older children as well, do not always internalize lessons learned in this way. For a skill to be useful to them outside of the classroom, they will need to put it to use in a hands-on practical way.

You can learn, for example, the scientific theory and process in a classroom as a list of steps to write out and follow or to put in proper order on a worksheet. However, for a person to remember them beyond the test, they need to conduct an experiment that takes them through the steps of the scientific process. Child centered education programs strive for all lessons to have this type of hands-on, useful approach for better retention.

Now that you know a few of the differences between child centered education and traditional education, you can be sure that you are making the right decision for you and your child. Click here to learn more about child centered educational opportunities for your child.