The Wonder of Learning

“Real learning is a process of discovery, and if we want it to happen, we must create the kinds of conditions in which discoveries are made”

John Holt – Learning All the Time


I’ve always been fascinated by how children learn. Over the years I have realised that sometimes as adults in their space, we can be an impediment to their learning, as we try to hurry them along to learn different skills and facts according to our timetable and schedule, instead of allowing them to take their time to make their own connections. Hurrying them can not only short circuit the process but also take the joy out of their learning. I was reminded of this recently with my 5-year-old, when she was trying to master the days of the week and their order. I tried to be ‘helpful’ and taught her songs to memorise the days of the week in the right order and even got her a magnetic calendar! She eventually switched off and I took that as my cue to take a step back and let her be.  Months later, she has not only mastered the order, but she’s now interested in how the weeks turn into months and then years, how time works, day and night and a host of other related concepts. I have been reminded to let go of pre-conceived timelines about what our children should be doing and when; worrying about whether my child is measuring up or not. Children are not only natural learners, but they are often times better at learning than we are. Let us foster environments in which they can observe, explore, experiment, discover and ultimately learn as they make sense of the world around them.