When I mention that I am interested in alternative pedagogies, the first impression people have is to imagine that what I am doing is very far from their reality. The word alternative sounds like we have reinvented the wheel and are in a completely parallel universe. However, what most pedagogies put forward is a return to the roots of childhood.
It is a reflection, an intention out of a desire to offer a little more, a little better. By being interested in a new pedagogy, we open up to new data and we choose to put these elements in place in full awareness of what they could bring.
What the pedagogies offer are adjustments to our lifestyle that can give the impression of stepping back in time. Waldorf pedagogy, for example, advises to abandon screens and reconnect with nature, tales and art. Charlotte Mason offers a classic education made up of carefully selected books called living books.».
Reading occupies a large place in many pedagogies and it is an element in which I have a great interest. I love to read to my kids, it's nothing new. The difference here lies in the way of selecting the works. One day, I realized how important these words could be to them. When we are in our bubble, glued to the couch and I tell, I want what I say resonates with who I am, that these tales reflect my values, our reality, and this, at least for a few years, while my children grow up.
I go to the library regularly with my children and have noticed over time that all books are far from the same. Sometimes certain books surprised me with the messages they implied and I detected a lot of ordinary educational violence in them. The little ones immerse themselves in what surrounds them, books included. I wanted to explore and find the best books using different pedagogies. It must be said that several pedagogies contradict each other. I will tell you about three styles of books that have a place in my children's daily life. There are other criteria (Quebec books, interactive, fun, etc.) that I also use, but for this article, I will focus on styles inspired by alternative pedagogies.
Realistic books, reflecting the everyday and simple life of children
Like a reflection of what they can experience, this style of book allows little ones to take a fresh look at what is happening in their lives. He values the little things, the little things that seem trivial to adults, yet are what matters to our children. They identify with the characters, understand the environment represented and acquire vocabulary that applies to their experience. You can find simple stories like the story of a day or a specific action.
Books and oral tales to dream of
In Waldorf education, stories of fairies, animals and other wonderful legends revolve around nature are offered. Many of these stories are in fact used to introduce, explain a phenomenon of everyday life or a tradition. For example, a tale about a goddess explains the origin of the Easter bunny. Many of these stories focus on the qualities and skills to be developed in children. Children live in a fantasy world and these stories can fuel their imaginations. In fact, we sometimes abandon picture books in favor of books without illustrations. Hearing an adult's words and letting their imagination create their own representations is a valuable experience. I like to offer these types of books for active reading. I then read that they are playing or painting and they are thus inspired by the words.s.
According to Charlotte Mason's pedagogy, a good book is a living book. A living book is a quality book, written with passion, that thrills us and sets off sparks within us. It inspires, learns, has a positive impact on the child.
My favorite: The universe of Balthazar and pip
Balthazar is a little boy and his faithful companion (a plush) which offer different stories of great quality. This series of books represents a perfect mix between the different pedagogies. We find realistic adventures for children, sometimes poetic rhythms, references to ways of doing things inspired by Montessori (like the beam of time). A vocabulary of great richness, of benevolence in abundance, this series is definitely one of my most beautiful literary discoveries for my little ones.
Signed Five minutes to play - Zoé L. Sirois