What Is Child-Led Learning and How Do I Apply It in Practice?

Child-led learning is an innovative approach to curriculum design that puts children firmly in the driving seat when it comes to controlling their education. The CWC Way, our bespoke curriculum methodology, involves children in consultation from the very beginning stages of curriculum design. This extends to pupils being in control of how they approach particular tasks, the methods they use to reach outcomes and how they work with others to achieve results.

Children Are In Charge of Their Learning Experience

The CWC Way is a creative child-led approach to curriculum design that ensures children are responsible for their learning outcomes. This approach helps children to gain cumulative knowledge and cultural capital for success — something that is vital under Ofsted’s new 2019 Curriculum Framework. Children are involved in the planning process from the start, leading their learning regardless of their background, experience or ability. While planning the direction of their work, pupils discuss ideas, formulate plans, reason, negotiate and make decisions to develop their understanding.

Pupils Gain Knowledge from Many Subject Areas

children on an educational activity

While tackling problems as part of a child-led learning approach, children work across the curriculum and gain knowledge from many subject areas. This ensures engagement and helps children to develop deep understanding as they generate new knowledge and draw their own conclusions. Pupils will research, generate and discuss their ideas, engaging in critical thinking as they discover more about a diverse range of subjects.

This better equips them for the future, helping them to acquire essential life skills and preparing them for academic success.

Children Produce Their Own Work, Often Independently

A key part of a child-led curriculum is that children produce their own work, often independently. This self-direction develops motivation, resilience and independence. As part of their learning experience, pupils will work on enterprise projects and generate ideas, which gives a purpose and reason for learning that ensures engagement and ownership of the curriculum. By producing their own work, children learn how to reason, negotiate and problem-solve.

Less Traditional Worksheets and More Creative Assessment Methods are Used

Child-led learning involves fewer traditional assessment methods, such as question-and-answer worksheets, and instead provides more opportunities for children to engage with materials as they please, perhaps by crafting, drawing, singing, acting or dancing. This approach to primary assessment gives children ownership of their learning outcomes and helps them to “find what they love”, pursuing topics and subjects that meet their aspirations.

Parental Support and Educational Guidelines are Key

For children to have more ownership of their learning experience, parents, carers and educators must provide vital support and resources as well as the structure pupils need to succeed and fully engage with the curriculum. While child-led learning requires independent learning and problem-solving, primary pupils will need their parents and teachers to break down tasks into manageable steps and keep them motivated as they work through the curriculum. Teachers act as facilitators rather than instructors, guiding activities and encouraging healthy debate and collaboration on group tasks. Parents and carers are also engaged through a variety of family orientated home activities.

Request Your FREE Curriculum Consultation Call with Our Experts

Children Who Can is a leading provider of innovative curriculum design consultancy services for schools. We collaborate with schools on bespoke, child-led curriculums that encourage their pupils to take ownership, develop essential life skills and fall in love with learning at an early age.

We can help you to develop a curriculum that is perfect for your school’s context and adequately meets the requirements of the new Ofsted curriculum framework. Book your FREE curriculum consultation call with our educational experts now.