Inspiring a love of learning, for life…

One of the more short-sighted polices i’ve stumbled across in a long time.

The environment around us (including the people who wander through it) has a deep and profound effect on us. It shapes who we become, how inspired we are, whether or not we feel safe, our views of society, our aspirations and dreams, and our ability to learn.

Here are two scenarios to ponder. The first will be very familiar to many people and which is something I remember very well from my days in school…

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The second scenario follows. Something I have only ever experienced as an adult after looking through the Architects Journal…

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Inspiring young people for a love of learning for life can be difficult, but it should be the main focus for the school system, not just to pass a set of exams. Inspiring a love of learning must be a very difficult task if you are placed in the context of the first scenario.

This equally applies to the teachers who are handed this awesome responsibility of caring for and teaching are children. Their experience of their environment equally boosts or detracts from their ability to teach. Yes, focus on the quality of the teaching, but there is much more to it than training or saving money by cutting back on the environments in which the children learn.

If you pour the creative talents of quality architects and designers from a diverse range of backgrounds into the learning experiences of the children, what will be the result?

Creativity, joy and a love of learning for life.

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Home education (Bite Size)…

Home education, natural learning, un-schooling, child-led learning…

There are many ways of describing what we’re taking steps towards doing, but it basically means that Jamie won’t be going to school till he’s at least 7. This doesn’t for 1 second mean both our boys aren’t getting an ‘education’ at home, or not learning a massive amount each day. It’s just a different way of doing it.

So, what i’m going to try and do is write a series of posts about the subject, as I read whatever book I happen to be reading on the subject. Right now i’m reading, ‘You are Your Child’s First Teacher’, by Rahima Baldwin Dancy.

I’m reading the chapter 12 on cognitive development and early childhood education, as all the previous chapters refer to earlier developmental stages. I’ll probably go back to them at some point, but this seems like a good place to start. I might do bullet points, or full sentences but the main points will come across clearly either way.

– Physical development and academic environments: One approach is to not teach formally until the adult teeth have been fully grown (age 6-7). So, general play activities until the body is more developed and the energy needed for its intense early growth is freed for forming mental pictures and memory work.

– Academic stress as an obstacle to early physical and mental development: pushing academic pressures onto a 3, 4, 5 or 6 year old can have far-reaching negative impacts. This can be in the form of reading difficulties, with an example given of studies between 5 and 7 year olds. The 5 year olds were more likely to develop reading problems and didn’t achieve better progress, while the older children learnt faster and more willingly.

This is a key point. If you are able of your own free will to attempt a task, or to learn something, you will achieve this far more effectively. Our approach is to promote a love of learning, not about anything specific, but as a general principle. The rest is up to them (and us to a certain degree). This is sustainable over your whole life. You have to want to do something for it to really sink in and to be able to sustain an interest in it.

Copying sentences & connections to meaning: studies have shown even 2 year olds can learn flash cards or how to copy sentences, but there is no connection or understanding of what this means. ‘The human brain neither needs nor profits from attempts to ‘jumpstart’ it.’ (p.272)

– Children in more academic environments tend to be less creative and more anxious: The last thing I want to do is remove my boys obvious creativity. By that I don’t mean I want them to grow up to be artists, I just don’t want to limit what they can achieve or who they can become. Creativity can mean anything from being an artist to simply working out different ways to do something – vital for day to day life.

– Every child is different / remember to be flexible: ‘There is no need to seek out preschool if you and your child are doing well at home; there is also no need to avoid it or feel guilty if your child is eager to play with other children and welcomes the activities a guided program can provide.’

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Liverpool FC + house work + budgets…

From the point of view of people reading this blog, there’s been way too much on here recently about the (mighty) Reds and various house work + budgets! I suppose things go through phases and right now it’s all about getting the house work underway and Liverpool’s sale to new owners.

I’m going to get more stuff on here about family things, particularly the trip to Train Land at Drayton Manor Park! Also the whole learning and perceptions subject, given the boys are growing and learning so quickly and changing all the time. That’s the stuff i’ll look back on and wish I had more information on.

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