Respect the Child. The Pittsburgh Plan is based on one very important idea:we expect your child to learn, rather than expecting you to teach.Why?Because – and there is really no way to say this gently – your child is almost certainly much smarter than you!
Children do not just love to learn, they bring to the task sophisticated weaponry, innate mental structures that allow learning at a rate and with a sophistication that no adult can match.Children do not just memorize facts; they develop, without apparent effort, sophisticated cognitive structures in which to embed knowledge.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in a child’s acquisition of language.A five-year-old child cannot describe the rules for choosing verb tense, using adjectives and the like, but he can do these things and many more. And the child accomplishes this mostly on his own, outside of any formal instruction, by being immersed in language and absorbing its rules from exposure -- in essence, extracting the rules from his experiences of hearing them in action.
But both reading and mathematics have many of the characteristics of an oral language (a notion that is obvious for reading, but perhaps less obvious for mathematics).So, why not try to tap into the child’s powerful innate language learning mechanism for math and reading instruction?Why not mimic the environment in which a child learns language – immersion, coupled with a certain level of instruction?Why not let children learn the rules of math and reading in a problem-based, inductive way?And, why not have them learn through positive interactions with their parents, just as they learn to speak a native language in their early years?
The Pittsburgh Plan not only respects the child; it relies upon him to do the heavy lifting in learning math and reading!