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?



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