Rethinking The Book, The Story, Information And Storytelling.
We drool over and treasure beautifully illustrated children’s books, but are we showing more interest in those books than our children? The most captivating books for young children are not always what we expect. Why do we make a bee-line for the children’s section at the library or select for them only age appropriate children’s books?
When engaged in what looks like child’s play, preschoolers are actually behaving like scientists, (according to a new report in the journal- Science): forming hypotheses, running experiments, calculating probabilities and deciphering causal relationships about the world.
Source: The New York Times
Mathematics That Makes You Sweat
“This is Math that makes me sweat!” exclaimed Mr Six tonight.
Learning Without Teaching?
Can young children learn without parent-led teaching if most learning is incidental to the experience?
The brain is constantly looking to make connections between what is known and what is new. Constantly looking for new interesting things. So it seems creativity and play is the best place to begin life’s learning journey.
It’s obvious children are wired to learn. They have natural curiosity. But I think there certainly is the ability for adults to interfere with that natural creative instinct and potentially de-rail a child’s innate way of thinking, their passion and their desire to learn. I think we need to stop making learning like a chore. I believe if children are supported and encouraged to use their skills they begin life with, they have a much better chance at continuing on to be creative, innovative individuals throughout adult life.
Fun To Learn
With my children, learning is often the result of an interesting experience. Not always one that has been taught, repeated, practiced and tested. I think we can all relate to this. I remember events that were memorable, enjoyable and interesting. I tend to forget about those that were a bore. It’s actually quite easy to make things more fun, throw in a little more love and laughter and children may even learn better this way.
Curiosity = Interest = Attention = Learning
Curiosity creates interest and with interest there is often greater focus and attention to the now. When children are focused they are learning. They are interested. They are connecting and taking it all in.
Fail Often To Succeed Sooner (David Kelley, IDEO)
It’s sometimes hard to not correct a child who is learning, but mistakes and failures are part of their learning. It forms part of the experience of improving, evaluating and trying again. Mistakes lead to discovery. I try to let my children work it out themselves rather than showing them how, even if it it would be quicker and easier to step in.
Everyone Is Different
Not all children like to learn the same way. I can see how clearly different even my three are. We know boys and girls often like to learn differently from each other too. There seems no one right way to teach them, instead maybe we can set our children free and let them lead the way with their learning.
Critical Thinking Skills
We can help our children with ways to think, which is more important than telling them what to think. Play time is certainly not trivial, I think it’s vital to children’s development.
Children And New Experiences- Little Observational Research Experts
When a young child is experiencing something for the first time, they seem to be so deeply absorbed as they observe with open eyes and an open mind. I’m sure we could all slow down a little to experience life and really understand what is going on around us, instead of letting it fly by without noticing… What else might we be missing out on?
As a designer we use very similar skills during our design process. We call this human-centred observational research; gaining empathy to identify the unmet needs of the end user. The things that have been overlooked, that no-one else noticed. The inspiration for the ‘why-didn’t-I-think-of-that’ design solution.
Noticing The Little Things
The most famous question I hear from my children is “why?” Kids are so naturally inquisitive their curiosity leads the way. They have this deep desire to learn about the big wide world; to watch from a train, pick a flower, jump in puddles, explore, find the answer, observe people, listen to noises and study how a caterpillar crawls. They seem to want to understand how and why in every little detail. There is desire to try new things, to absorb their environment with open ears and eyes to learning. They are always the ones that notice the little things.
Learning About People
I’ve seen how my young child may watch someone closely with big wide eyes and a fixed stare, without feeling like they are invading someone else’s privacy. I can see they are learning everyone is different, people do things in different ways and maybe even how to relate to others and simply make that human connection.
Time To Experience
As my child sits on the train to watch the world race by they are taking it all in. What they see as well as the feeling, the whole experience. It’s something new, something exciting to add to their memory bank of life. They love new opportunities with time to listen, observe, learn and quietly absorb it all. Then I just have to find the time to answer all those questions…
Everyday there are new opportunities. My kids don’t need to look far to learn something new, to study something…. as little as the way grapes connect together on a stem and how easily you can pluck each and every one of them off. The resulting ‘skeleton’ is just as fascinating.
I’m trying to spend more time experiencing things with a fresh mind, from a new perspective rather than taking it for granted. I wonder what we could learn, what we may discover, just by using our beginner’s mind.