Children are obviously curious and have a built-in desire to learn first-hand about the world around them. John Holt, in his book How Children Learn, describes the natural learning style of adolescent children:
“The child is curious. He wants to make sense out of things, find out how things work, gain competence and control over himself and his environment, and do what he can see other people doing. He is open, perceptive, and experimental. He does not merely observe the world around him, He does not shut himself off from the strange, complicated world around him, but tastes it, touches it, hefts it, bends it, breaks it. To find out how reality works, he works on it. He is bold. He is not afraid of making mistakes. And he is patient. He can tolerate an extraordinary amount of uncertainty, confusion, ignorance, and suspense… School is not a place that gives much time, or opportunity, or reward, for this kind of thinking and learning.”(Holt 287)
Children know preeminent how to go about learning something. If left alone, they will know impulsively what method is best for them. Caring and attentive parents soon learn that it is safe and suitable to trust this knowledge. Perceptive parents are conscious that there are many diverse ways to learn something, and they trust their children to know which ways are superlative for them. Children need plentiful amounts of calm time to think. Research shows that children who are good at visualizing are better learners and manage better with disappointment than those who have lost this ability. But vision requires time, and time is a difficult commodity in people’s lives. Fully-scheduled school hours and extracurricular activities leave little time for children to dream, to think, to invent solutions to problems, to cope with worrying experiences, and simply to fulfill the universal need for solitude and privacy. Children are not scared to admit ignorance and to make mistakes.
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