When a child learns to use cultural tools, new psychological qualities that we call abilities, emerge. Abilities are those universal “mental habits” and human qualities required for success in any skilled cultural activity. The most significant route for the development and expression of abilities is through cultural tools (concepts, visual signs, symbols, models, plans, texts, maps, formulae, language) which are not merely taught in isolation as skills, but offered to and grasped by the child as practical actions, used in particular ways for particular purposes.
The “Key to Learning” curriculum is different from the others because it moves focus from educational content (what) to the cultural tools (how). It focuses not only on teaching skills and knowledge but on developing learning abilities. It offers specially designed optimal learning experiences that are:
- precisely matched to children’s learning and development
- challenging but attainable
- emotionally vibrant, playful and enjoyable
- shared by children and responsive adults
It creates right conditions for minds to open, for learning to become a pleasure and for creativity to flourish.
Developmental cognitive curriculum ‘Key to Learning’
- considers play as a vital, self-regulatory activity
- amplifies development but doesn’t accelerate it
- unlocks possibilities to a maximum
- prepares children for the educational challenges they will face
- supports parents to help their children to learn
- introduces different “symbolic languages”. Once children have acquired “symbolic literacy”, it is much easier for them to cope as we continue to challenge them to master new and ever more demanding learning tasks
- develops abilities that will give children control over their lives and their learning, for their learning there will be no end
- it provides a substantial basis for a child’s early learning experience in the foundation stage of their education. It creates a love of learning and gives them the tools for life-long learning