When my son, Jacob, was a toddler, I made up a list of values, beliefs, and traits I wanted to nurture in him. Some of the goals I included on my list were that he would be kind and compassionate to others, have self control, be honest and hard working, be willing to try new things and tolerant of people who were different from him. It was also important to us that he would develop strong moral values, a deep understanding of God's love for all people, and a willingness to serve those in need. In addition, we wanted to teach him how to communicate effectively, problem solve, manage his finances wisely, and lots more. Most of these goals are similar in that they are things to teach or model for a child to learn.
One of our top goals is that we wanted Jacob to "love learning" and that is what this blog is really about. In my opinion, a love of learning is not really something you can teach a child since I believe children are born possessing a love of learning. It is more a trait which you can nurture and help grow. Babies are born with a love of learning and they quickly master things like rolling over, grabbing for toys, sitting up, crawling, saying their first words, and walking. We don't need to enroll a baby in school or take them to lessons in order for them to learn how to walk and talk. They want to learn how to do these things on their own and all we need to do is provide a little encouragement and an appropriate learning environment. What they need is a caregiver who talks to them and an area on the floor to practice their motor skills.
So if children are born with a love of learning, than why do so many children seem to lose it? In our highly stressful and competitive society, children's schedules are often packed full, leaving no time for children to explore things on their own. They are expected to meet a long list of educational milestones, often before they are ready. Then there are the many hours spent in front of television and video games which leaves little time for creativity or imagination to blossom.
In this blog, I plan to share my ideas and experience working to nurture a love of learning in my own children and the resources I have found most helpful to create an environment that helps facilitate this goal. These resources will include books, activities, games, toys, websites, educational curriculum, things you can make at home and lots more. My years of experience working with children in many settings has allowed me to see the types of environments that promote a love of learning and those that don't. Reading is a great passion of mine and I have spent hundreds of hours researching the best methods for helping to cultivate a child's love of learning. I continue to learn every day watching what nurtures my own children's love of learning. I know they are teaching me more than any experience or book ever could. I hope this blog will give you new ideas of ways you can nurture a love of learning in your own children.
Book Review: The Green Ember by S.D. Smith
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