For millions of years and 99% of our existence here on earth, we did not spend $24.99 on a Squatty Potty. We just squat.
For millions of years and 99% of our existence here on earth, children did not go to school. Children matured and educated each other in hunter gather communities. The adults and children cared for the infants, never left to cry. Toddlers were free to explore with their friends with no adult supervision. Meltdowns and whining did not exist for the children were learning in the environment in which evolution meant them to be.
Through science we know this environment is ideal. For infants, neuroscience shows that the stimulus provided in touch, expressions, voice, is paramount to brain development. For toddlers, their brains are forming 1000 neuron connections per second. They addictively explore, investigate, and move throughout their world ensuring those connections.
Adult driven instruction in a brick and mortar school is in its infancy in terms of evolution. This paradigm is the result of agriculture, religion, nationalism, immigration, and abuse. Physical punishment of students once flaunted, has morphed into a more “pc” punishment known as grades and SAT scores. Our entire public school system ignores evolution and neuroscience. The result – a generation of anxiety filled, unregulated, and ill prepared children.
I created Grassroutes applying science and evolution as the groundwork to this school. My students and I are outside, typically bare foot, doing what we want to do. I continue to work the property as the children explore, build, play, eat, and sleep as they decide. They direct their day, negotiate with each other, and form their own mini social democracy. Five year olds show the three year olds how to construct a roof on a fort. Three year olds give a bottle to the infants. The babies watch, imitate, and enjoy the activity that surrounds them. My school is a mini hunters gather world and it works because that is how children were meant to learn.
Personally as a young student, school was jail and homework my parole. As a lawyer, I was defeated by the reality that success was earned only with arrogance and deceit. As a mother, I incredulously questioned why my peers micro managed their young, cramming the day with soccer clinics and scheduled play dates. What happened to playing outside after school?
Those early years taught me that when we try to make things right by doing more, whether it is homework, regulations, activities, rules - we are mucking up what works all by itself. Look at science and evolution. Simple, keep it simple. Here at Grassroutes, we are back to the basics. Discarding the status quo and embracing the science of how we learn has reaped an amazing world of development.
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