5 ways to encourage self-directed learning in young children

Manisha Snoyer (www.modulo.app)
5 min readMar 25, 2017

By Jenni Mahnaz
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Self direction is one of the most powerful skills anyone can develop. Learning to identify what intrigues us, digging deep, and coming out on the other end with more knowledge than we had going in is essential to a meaningful human experience. In today’s world of high stakes testing and educational pressure, how can we encourage a development of self-direction in learning? Is it even possible to be a self-directed learner, free of interference in today’s world? It’s not always easy but there are some simple steps any adult can take.

1. Stop interrupting them. It’s easy to feel like we need to “do something” to make sure our kids are learning. We ask them questions about the color, shape, and feel of toys they play with. We ask them how many letter ‘A’s’ they see as they flip through a board book. When we do this, we are micromanaging their play and we are distracting them from their own goals and work. You may be asking about the letter ‘A’ but your child may be making connections between images on opposing pages. He may parrot back colors to you but what he’s really trying to figure out is why his blue ball bounces higher than his yellow ball. Deep exploration and meaningful connections do…