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The 1941 edition of The Book of Knowledge had enough sense to know that standards are the property of young children.  They are owned and internalized by children with the support of adult love, attention and guidance. Standards most certainly do not come to children from paid consultants, state bureaucrats nor from corporations spouting empty rules and regulations simply for the sake of popularity and profit.

Book of Knowledge talked about standards which little children recognize and apply and it suggested ways that authentic standards appear and develop through the natural activities of every childhood.

Standards are decisions that children make.  In making something, the child wants it “to work”.  In doing a “stunt” she wants to do it “just right”. In playing a game she wants to “win”. When she starts to play a game or make a toy she wants “to finish it”. In drawing a picture she want to do it “alone”. In bouncing a ball she wants to catch it “every time”. In running a race she wants to run “as fast as she can”.  She decides the standard and she decides if she has met the standard.

Standards should be natural for her to use and yes, they do involve evidence but evidence that a child collects on her own about her own performance. The important question is how do the adults who know her, increase the opportunities for her to use standards with more and more knowledge, certainty and purpose? 

First, they promise to try and keep her involved in Interesting Worthwhile Things To Do – a variety of constructive and skill activities in which she can extend the application of developing, simple standards. 
They do not allow her to spend a lifetime spinning her wheels in a purgatory of test-driven drill and kill flat work.

Examples of Authentic Standards

Utility – good enough to serve the purpose.
Skill – the very best that I can do.
Independence – I did it alone.
Perseverance and Completion – I stuck with it or I finished it.
Speed – I did it fast or in good time.
Accuracy – I did it every time or I did every one.
Progress – I did more or I did better or I did it faster.

We want our student to grow habitual controls over her own behavior, operating every time she has to decide what to do or how well to do it.

Sculpture “Day” is by Paul Manship and was created for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. 
It shows the sun god Helios racing forward with energy, radiation and speed.

 

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