As parents, we want the very best for our children, particularly when it comes to education. Most of us can recall lessons from our own childhood, which typically involved gazing out of the window and being so bored it was hard to keep our eyes open, let alone take in anything of interest. When a lesson simply involves being talked to, it’s no surprise that the minds of children begin to wander, but things are very different when a child actively participates in the lesson. Research has proven that this is a much better way of instilling knowledge than through traditional teaching methods, as information taught in this way is more likely to be remembered.
Allowing children to interact in a hands-on way allows them to participate fully in the lessons, utilising problem-solving skills creatively. This gives them a great sense of satisfaction in their achievements and really enhances the overall learning experience. Working with other children in teams helps children to explore their world in a safe, fun and challenging way, whilst learning how to co-operate with each other. These are valuable lessons for the world of work.
Even non-academic children can shine in an environment that actively encourages them to take part. This is particularly valuable for their self-esteem. Sporting activities can be useful, allowing children to let off steam in a controlled way whilst improving fitness. Team and ball games can improve co-ordination and spatial awareness whilst encouraging children to develop a good team spirit. Children who do not excel at traditional sports are sure to find some activity that excites and stimulates them, be it swimming, kayaking or even caving.
Out of the classroom
Gone are the days when educational trips involved a guided tour around a museum of dubious interest to the child. Nowadays, school trips are geared towards interaction and learning in a fun way, making them an exciting part of every school’s curriculum. With a wealth of interactive museums, galleries and parks at their disposal, all children now have the opportunity to explore the world in a safe but interesting way.
Science museums these days are not just rooms full of exhibits, but are filled with things for children to touch, experiment with and explore. Art galleries and theatres allow children to create their own works of art and plays based on what they have seen, touched or heard, while hands-on conservation projects give children the opportunity to learn more about the world in which they live.
It is vitally important that children are able to learn about the world and about themselves, in their own way and at their own pace. Every child should know that he or she will grow to be a valuable member of society. Traditional classroom teaching has always predominantly catered for the academically-minded child, but by opening up previously ignored possibilities, even the non-academic child has an opportunity to shine. To make this happen, teachers must understand that there is more to education than lessons learned by rote.