Paused for thought

Paused for thought

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Challenging minds

Yesterday my 2 year old asked me a question (to be honest he asks me many questions everyday but this one really stood out). He wanted to know if I knew that a Tyrannosaurus Rex had a loud roar. To be honest I don’t know that for certain and I admit that I’ve never asked myself that question. The idea of a T Rex with a weak little voice made me giggle inwardly but as I was explaining to him what I thought, I realised that my basic knowledge of dinosaurs, along with many other things, is open to challenge. Instead of being facts learnt through direct exploration or research, a large chunk of my learning is based upon a series of assumptions or information that I have learnt in a parrot like fashion, without ever questioning the source or the extent of the original research. I suspect that if I questioned every nugget of information I would be exhausted and I would be exhausting to be around too, but this moment made me reflect.

Another moment that had that effect was today when discussing leaving presents for my 4 year old’s teachers, and asking him what he’d like to buy them and why. The thoughtful answers and sound reasoning that he gave astonished me. That at 4 he can have such an understanding and appreciation not only of the world around him but of the people in it. He really sees them, not just as people who he knows but he notices the little things, thinks about them, and finds a solution to a problem so that his parting gift to them is really happiness. For example the teacher who hadn’t seen Wall-E (she watched it just for him) and he thought she might like a book version as she said she had enjoyed the film so much. The teacher who leads forest school but doesn’t have her own pair of binoculars so always shares with the children so he wants to buy her a pair. The teacher who gets hot and he thought might appreciate a little hand held fan.

These are just two examples of thoughts that have come from the minds of my wonderful little boys. It makes me wonder why, when the minds of children can be so interesting and supple, more adults don’t think to take a moment to learn from children. Why are there so many adults keen to step in and help a child out when they were perfectly happy doing their own thing? Why do adults feel the need to ‘teach’ in so many situations rather than learning together? Child led learning has been around for years but yet the principles which are so interesting and positive seem to be forgotten in so many situations. Nurseries, schools, parents, childminders. We all have the ability to exercise the opportunity to learn together and especially to learn from children and encourage their inquiring minds. It saddens me that this can often be overlooked. That fascinating little minds are not encouraged to grow and flourish through nurture and stimulating conversation, but instead trampled into the mould that society expects of them. In the coming months, as my eldest joins primary school, I am determined to keep this thought at the forefront of my mind and encourage and welcome the challenges and thoughts from my amazing little people.

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