Definition of “Natural Learning”

“Natural Learning” – Definition of this term is found in the natural learning your child did at home from birth on. “Natural learning” can be defined as “giving school-age children the same things Nature gave them as they mastered the highly complex skills they learned from birth on.”

The elements Nature provide your child are:

  • Role models of people gaining and applying knowledge,
  • Learning resources,
  • A safe and nurturing environment,
  • The freedom to explore their own interests, and
  • The freedom to try, fail and try again.

As the developmental psychologist, Dr. Peter Gray stated in his book “Free to Learn”, children are “little learning machines”. They learn highly complex skills before they ever enter a classroom. They learn to understand and speak a language foreign to them (English). They learn to roll over, scoot, crawl, stand up, balance, and walk.

To this list of things children naturally learn, Dr. Gray adds, “they learn to assert their will, argue, amuse, annoy, befriend, and ask questions. They acquire an incredible amount of knowledge about the physical and social world around them. All of this is driven by their inborn instincts and drives, their innate playfulness and curiosity.”

And they have no OFF switch!

Just because children turn 6 does not mean that their natural drive to learn shuts off. In fact, the opposite is true. As children grow, their desire to understand and master their environment also grows.

For some reason, we adults assume that children need to be controlled in their learning. There is much evidence, as Dr. Gray outlines in his book, that children actually, given the chance, will just keep on learning if given the same environment they had at home: role models, resources, a safe environment, and freedom to explore their interests.

This is the definition of natural learning. And, these are the very elements we offer your child at Alpine Valley Academy.