As featured in Parentdish

Monday, 25 October 2010

Active learning

Recently a client sent me a link to a newspaper article about a school which was taking the children to a local castle regularly, getting them involved in the local history of the area and using the castle as a basis for learning. She pointed out one of the comments which an online reader had made. The school was in a not so good area, and while the other commenters wrote that it was great these kids were getting involved in some local culture, one reader took the view that these kids were going to come to nothing anyway, and that they would be much better off in the classroom learning the three Rs.

Well firstly how sad that these children are being written off before they have even left primary school and by people who have never met them. I could go on and on about this but I won’t. I don’t believe in any child being written off.

But also I thought we had left those antiquated views behind in the nineteen seventies. Most of the country has moved on from the days when learning through topics was frowned upon. The relevance and benefits of topic work is now well established due to common sense getting a say. We all learn more and remember things better if what we learn is interesting and taught to us in an interesting and lively matter.

Active Learning may be one of the buzz words of the noughties but it really does work. I love history and studied it in school but the majority of history which I know about was not taught to me. I learnt it myself.

Those children will go back and read up more about the castle they visited, they will use their visit to learn about the history of their area and use it as a basis for writing projects.

I have visited enough schools and seen how they work to know that my children are lucky that they are learning in this way. I don’t consider it a waste of time.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Career choices

Darrell wants to be a jedi when he’s older. Hayden, now older and wiser, has decided against being an astronaut, and is now in favour of being a footballer. Avril, taking a break from her art ambitions, is going to be a scientist.

I vote for Darrell’s choice. I think being a jedi sounds like a great idea and shows he has some of his mum’s philosophy on life. Why go for sensible?

On a recent trip to the hairdresser’s Avril got asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. Artist or hairdresser was her reply. “Oh, encourage her in to hairdressing, there’s always jobs in hairdressing” she told me.

At the ages of 8, 6, 4, and sixteen months I think there is plenty time for sensible options. If they ever come. When I was little I wanted to be either an author or a pianist. Well no matter how many times I play “Three blind mice” or “Frère Jacque” I’m kidding nobody.
I believe you should follow your passions in life. I have, and I am happy with that choice. Others I know who went for the sensible option, are miserable in their jobs, or counting down the years to retirement. The day will come when my children sit down and weigh up their career options. That is when the sensible option will be pondered on. But for now, I’m going to speak to Hayden again about becoming an astronaut.

Friday, 15 October 2010

And the competition winner is.....

Hazel Hiram wins a copy of Penny the Postie. Send me your address Hazel and I will get your book sent  out to you.