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Child-initiated learning is learning activity that children initiate themselves, as opposed to learning activity that is initiated and directed by adults. Children plan and select their own activities, and adults participate rather than lead them. Child-initiated learning involves cognitive, social, and physical learning that is within, but desirably near the upper limit of, each child’s abilities. It involves the inside-out learning of discovery and thinking about experience and the outside-in learning that comes from interaction with other people. Rather than controlling these activities, adults share control with children.

To support child-initiated learning, adults set up the classroom in learning centers or activity areas and give children time in their daily routine to plan and choose their own activities. Child-initiated learning is widely regarded as a critical ...

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