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Scientific vs. Poetic Modes of Learning

This from James Taylor’s Poetic Knowledge

Unlike the scientific mode of learning that proposes methods and systems for acquiring knowledge, the tradition that has been thus far reviewed [i.e. the tradition of poetic knowledge in the classical and Christian eras] reveals rather a way of knowledge, like a path or winding road, with interesting detours off the road, more than the superhighway of modern education. It is a way more akin to the natural human response to discovery of the world. It is a way of leisure and reflection of what is there, the way things are, and when one is considering the kinds of knowledge, it is seen that there is a natural order after all that corresponds to the learner and his universe, beginning with what is known, immediate and accessible, and proceeding to the unknown.

As I am immersed in studying and developing a pre-school curriculum these days, I am reading these words from the perspective of what a three and four year old child needs to learn. That “natural order… that corresponds to the learner and his universe” provides helpful clues to what we need to discover and implement.

I am happy to say that most pre-school resources seem to recognize that very young children need to live in the physical realm (a realization that disappears when kids reach the grammar school and are made to spend enormous amounts of time in the intellectual realm). That’s a good place to start!

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