It’s interesting how things come around. Nowadays with our youngest learners we talk about facilitating ‘child initiated learning’ and we are all implored as teachers to empower this most irrepressible feature of the enquiring mind. I suppose in many ways it seems so obvious that young children are programmed to learn that we imagine that child initiated learning will ‘just happen’. Of course, it does! But what will they learn? Well, mostly, whatever they want to, although inadvertently they will also learn other things that we might not want or intend them to learn. However, child initiated learning is more complicated than it sounds at first consideration: there is a government agenda or programme of the kind of things that children of various ages should learn. So often, child initiated learning amounts to something slightly different to what it says on the can. Perhaps a better way of putting it would be ‘child initiated areas of interest in to which government-approved learning outcomes are introduced’. Hmmm. Am I the only one that feels that this may be too narrow? Isn’t some of the most exciting teaching that which runs with children’s interests AND outcomes? Doesn’t this empower higher order thinking and creativity rather than important, but lower level, skills? And if we pursue THIS sort of child initiated learning over time, won’t we find that all these lower level skills are covered anyway? Let’s not pretend to put the children in charge of learning, but take a deep breath and actually PUT THE CHILDREN IN CHARGE OF THEIR OWN LEARNING.