Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Creating Discovery Time

As an educator, I place endless pressure on myself to have a child that is high performing in everyway. Like I mentioned in previous posts, being a parent requires you to have a thick skin and trust your instinct versus jumping on the bandwagon and going with the flow. I've  always been a believer that play is more educational than any program I can create at home.

Discovery time is an environment that I've created for my daughter. I created themed weeks this year that begin with basic concepts (shapes, numbers, colors, etc) as well as creative themes (holidays, seasons, time of year events). This has not only made learning more meaningful, but my days as a parent purposeful. I typically begin the week with vocabulary words or a book we can talk about that is focused on the theme. My daughter was 2 years old when I began this and it is more about exposure than her acquiring skills. Last week we discussed art, I'm not expecting her to even remember what we did, but purely for the fun of trying new things and approaches. I have also found that incorporating Montessori activities has been great for fine motor and attention development. I put together a bin with a few colored cotton puffs and had her use a spoon to transport  the puffs from one bin to another. This was very entertaining for her. I've also created matching boards for her using old boxes from Costco.

I think it is important to develop a love for learning at home. As children develop, it becomes more and more crucial for them to be self motivated learners. Although learning at school can be intense and stressful at times, begin finding what activities and hobbies your child enjoys and finds entertaining. This will prove much more beneficial than whatever cartoon is on or phone app is available. Until each student is provided a laptop at school, there is much we can continue to do at home to cultivate a love for learning. Games and family activities are a great way to grow, bond, and have fun learning new things. I believe my intense love for learning was developed at home when my dad purchased me an old college math textbook and told me I was smart enough to do the work in the book. We also played Jeopardy each night, so trivia is the way to my heart. I looked back at my childhood and realized how those little things taught me to constantly strive for new knowledge. I hope that my own kids will find that thirst quenched as well.

Whatever you decide make sure that not all the time spent learning is structured. Children learn through play and it's important to have that time, whether it's building blocks, dressing up, or creating skits for the family, encourage your children to be imaginative and problem solvers.
How do you develop life long learners?

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