Child Centered Education or Reality Centered Education?

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Many people would find the phrase  "Child Centered Education" to be a lovely high minded ideal.  After all, education is all about children, is it not? 

While giving a tour of the school to a prospective family recently, the couple told me of a perfect example of this kind of educational thought.  While touring a local public kindergarten classroom they had seen a list of "class rules."  Nothing new there, but the interesting part was that the rules had been written by the children.  This is the child centered education of our age. 

In his article "Literature, Literacy and Morality,"  R. V. Young, a professor of literature at North Carolina State University, makes a sharp observation when he says that this idea actually...

"....inverts the normal course of education.  Etymologically as well as logically [education comes from the Latin: "ducare"] this word means to lead out, to bring forth. Its goal is to make the child responsive to the world around him, not to his own whims and desires.  Children who are subjected to "child-centered" education are likely to become self-centered, self-indulgent adults."

At Imago we are attentive to the children. We pay attention to their unique skills and needs but we are striving to "lead them out," to see and know that which is beyond them.  We are calling them to standards of behavior that do not come naturally to fallen beings, to learn that which they would not figure out on their own, and to create works of such quality and beauty that, without instruction and example, would rarely be attained.

This is the "reality centered" education found at Imago, welcoming children to the banquet.