Children love learning. That, to me, is a fact. Human beings, after all, are designed to learn new skills, absord information…otherwise we would all still be lying on our backs chewing our hands. Children were learning long before schools and exams were invented.
What children are not designed to do is sit at a desk and learn useless information by rote. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t teach them, or more accurately, help them to learn.
N proved this theory this morning by asking to play with letters, when given free choice of activity at home. So out came the plastic letters, one of my favourites because they can be used in so many different ways at different levels.
N started out by proudly finding the first letter of her name, then found the others easily as I asked her to pass them to me.
She immediately asked to find our family’s names, and spontaneously thought up other words beginning with the same letter – “L is for L** and Lion, and F is for F*****, Fish and Fridge”…
This led to N thinking up her own way of using the letters, one I hadn’t thought of before, and wish I could take credit for. She began to pick out letters for objects around the room, and place the appropriate letter on the different objects:
As you can see, there were mistakes along the way, and I decided to prompt her to self correct some (“is that a d? Which way does its tummy point?”), but leave phonetically accurate “mistakes” such as “k for cupboard”, with a comment such as “yes, cupboard does start with a c sound” – since identifying the sound at the beginning of the word is the important thing at this stage and i didn’t want to undermine her confidence and enthusiasm with too many corrections. Her enthusiasm lasted, and she had a go at sounding out some simple, phonetic three letter words – cat, dog, leg, log…and very proudly told her Grandad that she can read when he called round!
And just to prove that she is a normal child 9and i am a normal parent), she is now watching Peppa Pig while I type this!