The Learning Basket Approach
The Learning Basket parenting series is a series of two-hour sessions for parents of infants and toddlers that emphasize nurturing the learning potential of both children and adults. The Learning Basket materials were developed by the Institute of Cultural Affairs in collaboration with Proliteracy Worldwide. The materials include a literacy manual, Parents are Teachers; the Play to Learn activity book which includes over 100 developmentally appropriate parent and child activities; and a hand-woven basket containing 18 objects, which complement the activities in the Play to Learn book.
Each interactive session is designed to draw forth the involvement and encourage the leadership of the participating parents. The sessions are designed around the understanding that functional literacy involves developing competence in the use of the foundational skills of reading, writing, and voicing ideas and opinions. In addition to these foundational skills the model emphasizes developing confidence in one’s own cultural values and practices; the capacity to do critical thinking and problem solving; and the ability to take on responsibility to put ideas into action. Sessions are guided by Learning Basket parent session guides who employ an interactive teaching strategy based on the learning philosophy of Paulo Freire, Malcolm Knowles and Carl Rogers (1961); and drawing from the research of Taylor, Marienau, and Fidler (2000), Belenky, Bond, and Weinstock(1997) Packard (2003), and others.
The sessions are designed around the theme of parenting and child development. In each session, participants engage in and lead conversations on themes in the Parents are Teachers literacy manual. In addition, session guides present key information about the effect of play on the development of the learning capacity of young children. Parents and guides also demonstrate play activities using the Play to Learn activity book; and each session includes play time with the children. Parents earn the objects in the Learning Basketthrough their attendance at each session.
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