Minimally guided instruction can be a very powerful learning tool. However, its use may need to be mediated by an understanding of its functional weaknesses in the particular learning environment. Tim Murphey (2003) describes three teacher modes in the move away from guided instruction: autocratic, where teachers dictate student involvement; democratic, where the educator role is that of a negotiator and facilitator; and autonomy-inviting, where the teacher is more of an ethnographer, seeing learning from the students’ perspective (i.e. emically). This move may be described as an ideal, a target rather than a practical possibility with (as you mention) younger students.
Murphey, T. (2003). Learning to surf: Structuring, negotiating, and owning autonomy. In A. Barfield & M. Nix (Eds.), Autonomy you ask! (pp. 1–10). Tokyo: JALT Learner Development Special Interest Group.