“Child Centered Learning” is often misunderstood. It is not, “Do your own thing!”
Child Centered Coaching refers to methods of teaching that shift the focus of instruction from the coach to the player. When children are allowed to take part in learning decisions, question and contribute they become internally motivated to participate and learn. Coach centered learning is based on the needs of the coach and the game; scoring, winning, performance, obedience. Child centered coaching encourages skill development, responsibility, problem solving and questioning based on individual needs.
Children cannot learn without previous experience and direction. All learners need a facilitator to demonstrate and direct the progression of learning. Good teachers present learning challenges that are just beyond the child’s present stage (zone of proximal development) encourage success and develop confidence.
As children gain more experience they are allowed more autonomy within the learning experience. “How can we learn to catch more consistently?” or “How can you protect the city from Godzilla?”
The coach who “demands” perfection also eliminates and discourages participation. Respect and fear are short term motivators. Conversely, unguided independent free time without direction or goals serves little purpose. Child Centered Coaching comes with smart, nurturing facilitators who carefully guide learning.
In First Steps Lacrosse we recognize the child’s need for imaginary play, socialization and experimentation. We have no preset benchmarks of success because we recognize that the preoperative stage of development from 2 to 5 years is not predictable and children develop different abilities at different rates. We are adaptable to individual needs so that we help each child achieve success and motivation to participate in physical activity.