We grow the child’s knowledge by developing their abilities to acquire, relate-to and communicate knowledge. We give them a larger framework for managing this knowlege – some call this framework thinking. To achieve the best results, we hope that children can begin once they are able to walk. The program has four courses that address different areas of development, physical, social, communication and thinking. Each part of the Alpha Lambda program nurtures the seed of knowledge in a child. As your child progresses through these courses, you will see them grow their own knowledge trees.
These knowledge trees consist of operant knowledge. Operant knowledge is the wisdom a person uses to solve problems and create useful work. Operant knowledge is knowledge that is a tool for the professions, for academia (this is tested knowledge). The opposite is background knowledge, useful facts, figures or otherwise that a person picks up as they move through life.
We seek to develop children to their fullest potential by exposing them to different viewpoints and ways of thinking, different versions of theories and truth. For example, the product four can be 2+2, 1+3, 3+1, 4+0 and so on – each is the truth. We see our job as helping children and parents grasp different truths through different experiences and different ways of learning.
To help children grow their own knowledge trees, Alpha Lambda practitioners begin by distinguishing between Development, Learning and Education. Development provides children with the ability to learn. Learning comes from the techniques used to help children become adept at solving problems and completing tasks. Education is a systematic way of providing a person with information. For early learners, fostering their development and learning ability take precedence over education. Developing a child’s learning ability enables a child to read, write, communicate, comprehend and interact in other ways that facilitate educational efforts. This is why the Alpha Lambda program emphasises development and learning over education. We leave education to the formal school system.
Development – when a child is developing, they grow the skills needed to live and to learn. Development is a function of nature. This is where the body uses cells to build the systems necessary for learning to occur.
Learning – using learning ability they have developed to grasp and understand higher order information like math and language.
Development and Learning processes overlap. When a child has developed sufficiently, they will begin to learn (at a low level). As the development process continues, the child develops more capability to learn. This combined process of development and learning is spontaneous (Piaget 1964), resulting in a process of embryogenesis. This is where the body develops, the nervous system develops, and the mental functions develop. Embryogenesis continues until well into adulthood. Embryogenesis occurs when a child is growing. As the child grows, they learn.
While learning is connected to cognitive development, instruction in learning presents a different problem to efforts to enhance development. Learning does not occur because cells within a child’s body develop and their physical structure matures. Learning is context driven – it is a direct result of the environment surrounding the child – their family context, school, friends, society and culture. As such, institutions providing education according to the Alpha Lambda method work very hard to create situations that provoke learning. These learning situations provide the context for a child to observe, mimic others’ behaviours and to experiment. We provide an environment and tasks that facilitate and enhance your child’s abilities to learn.