June 28, 2018

Learning how not to learn

Today I'm going to write about, probably, the first and last boxed activity that I offered to my child.

I don't remember when exactly I bought it, but, looking at the recommended age 3+yrs, I had fallen for it, just as any consumer does upon spotting an attractive toy or beautiful clothing piece. That's the aim of the various bussinesses that are prospering right now, ain't it?

The first time I opened it and read out the picture along with the word written on each card, I failed. I failed to meet my child's thinking and, thankfully, I realised it even before I failed my child's thinking.

I pick up a card and see what's shown and written, for the same I observed that I get more than one explanation. And I started to question myself as to why I should tell my child that this card means this? Why shouldn't I let my child think on her own and suggest what the picture says?

I did not read out the cards. I just left there, she played for a while and left them too and the box went deep inside the closet.

Here is my explanation for not choosing such activity or another similar one:

* wet - a child is seen covered in rain drops

There are real life examples to define the term wet. Wet cloth, wet floor, dry cloth absorbing water from wet floor and many more

* Dry - child standing
A 3yo sees it as a child standing not as someone who is dry

* Open - child moving across an opened door
A 3yo can see it as a child simply standing there. Open is very easily understood in daily life, like, open a bottle, open the door, open the box

* Close
Similar to above

* Top/bottom - child seen standing near mountain

A 3yo does not necessarily infer it as a mountain and that the child is in its context.
The terms top/ bottom are very easily understood in day to day language

* In/out - child standing with respect to a tunnel adjacent to him

Again, it is not necessary that a 3yo sees it in the same context. Children can create 50 inferences out of a same image and it is that creativity that has to be nurtured. Not glueing kids to such activity sheets/boxes.

* Cold/hot - child holding an ice cream

I had a good laugh. Things like cold, hot, dry, wet are to be felt by the senses and understood, not by drawings from a specific context.

* Give/take - child stretching out the arms

Well again, a 3 yo can make 50 inferences out of this picture. Not necessarily, the one that was expected.

* Fast/slow

* First/last

* Loud/soft


Aren't all these to be seen and felt through one's senses??? Can these be mandated to be understood from an activity sheet?
Real life experiences provide ample resources for a child to learn all that  needs to be learned.

As a parent, all that is required is just 'being' with the child, not shooing away the child when the child is willing to contribute in kitchen or visits to bank, shops etc.

Most importantly, all that the child needs is time and someone who is willing to facilitate his learning, not necessarily teach in only one context.

There are many such puzzles available in market - opposites, meaning, matching etc. In an attempt to keep the child busy, a parent may tend to buy such, but, of what real learning are such things?


June 11, 2018

Thermocol play

While buying something and playing with it for couple of times before it just lies on the ground gives joy to a child, MAKING something that can be played around in couple of different ways gives more joy to the child and everyone involved.

We had a new electronic item at home and it brought the thermocol with it.

Cutting the tape, deciding what height the thermocol could be fixed, fixing it, making a similar one in smaller size for the little sister... every act brings joy and happiness.
And then, there is no limit to what DD1 suggests regarding the number of different ways that we could play with it.

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Stones in Water - Open Learning Series

While the schools are busy in getting the children to memorise and recite the story of 'HUNGRY CROW', we are here, picking stones to drop in a tumbler of water to see the water rise.

More importantly, driven by the child herself. 
I do not call her for this activity.
I do not declare this is story time.
I let the child be in her thoughts, while she was having her breakfast and seemed to not finish it soon enough for me to finish mine and clean up. I waited, observed her.
She said:
I am thinking about something.
I got an idea
Me: What is it?
DD1: We could see how water rises from the bottom to top.
We will put stones in bucket of water and see what happens.
Me: Sure
She completes her breakfast and runs to kitchen to get all the necessary materials.
DD1 and DD2 start to pick stones and put in the tumbler. Noticed the water rising.
Next, they pour this mixture from tumbler to a bucket.
Next, they pick sand, grass and add to the bucket.
DD1 stirs this mixture saying she is preparing something.
Keeps it for a while in the same place.
Brings it to the kitchen, puts on the stove and does a pretend-play as if lighting the stove.
She weaves an explanation for all that she has done.
And, before she ends the day, she poured all this mixture into a strainer to see the water draining out and stones caught up in the strainer.
What was more important?
Memorising a story and reciting to hear applaud from parents/teachers OR this freedom to immerse in one's own thoughts, bring about an action based on it and create a new story altogether?
Isn't this creativity?
Don't we tend to kill this natural creativity within every child by forcing them into a schedule/curriculum?

Experiencing the joy of Open Learning!!!!

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June 07, 2018

Drop the seeds

Cardboard box, cardboard sheet with holes of non uniform size made using scissors, kabuli chana, whole urad dal ....Let's play!!


Joy of arithmetic!!

DD1 takes arithmetic class!!!
In the process, learns...No rote or force just to finish a problem faster or to score first in an exam whose questions were already revealed and practiced repeatedly by students for a week prior to the exam date.
She spotted some candles and said the following lines: 
'lets play a game'.
We will add some candles and see how many we have.
I'll put 2 candles first and add 3 more, you tell me, how many in total.
Next, I'll put 3 candles first and add 2 more, you tell me, how many in total.
Oh 2 plus 3 and 3 plus 2 are both 5.
(Did some more additions. )
Now we will remove some candles.
(Did some subtraction using the candles.)
Now, we will do this...She shows the cross symbol with fingers ..I say it is multiplication.
She knew about that symbol when playing around with calculator app on smart phone.
I ask her what she wants to multiply. She said 2 cross 2 and asked me what it meant. I explained in words. 2 groups of 2 candles. She grouped and counted all to 4.
Next was division. Again she didn't know the term but wanted to share the candles between two people.
She said, When sharing 5 candles between 2, each gets 2 and 1 is left. I just wrote the term remainder though have not insisted in learning the terms now. I had written her observation in words that's all.
Next, she said when sharing 4 candles between 2 people, nothing is left, write 0 there.
Again when sharing 5 between two people, we could break the left over candle and give each person a half. I had written it as 2.5
Then the doorbell rang.
I have not called her for any maths class.
I have not forced her to sit to solve problems.
I have not initiated the play to do additions.
I have not given her the candles in order learn something out of them.
I just don't know how to describe the entire scene. But children are so curious to pick things from their environment. Even without adults (forced) direction, they are always in their learning journey.

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