In my worklife, I have the grand opportunity to attend many lectures and conferences on the latest trends and research in education. As I've mentioned before, my husband and I are both trained educators with fond remembrances of the rich habitat of a classroom, and I enjoy dipping back into these forums whenever I get the chance.
While attending a panel discussion yesterday on the state of science and math education, I was intrigued by new-to-me concepts of making science come alive and relate to children of all levels and backgrounds. And as a brilliant scholar narrowed the conversation to a single thread, I was struck by his question:
Where is the possibility to pursue your curiosity?
He argued (well) that science should be, foremost, a pursuit of our curiosities - a way for each of us to make sense of the physical world around us.
Fast forward ----> This brings me to another new summer feature here on Pars Caeli, Mommy & Daddy School. Because my husband and I are both teachers by formation, it's just in our blood to want to "teach" our children. Of course this happens all the time during the school year. Parents are the first and primary educators of their children. But, in the summertime, we take it to a different level and run our beloved Mommy & Daddy School.
Research has proven that children learn best when the learning is continuous. Don't we all?
I want my children to be lifelong, everyday learners, curious and inquisitive about the world to which they contribute. I also want them to know and feel that knowledge is powerful.
And so as June approaches, furniture and traffic patterns change. Our cozy red, mission-inspired dining room is converted into a space for curiosity. And these multipurpose 9-cubes from Target find their way up from our playroom and are prepped to house projects, books, folders, and anything else that catches our fancy. Note: this is them before. Soon you'll no longer be able to tell they're white because we cover them with labels and "really interesting stuff."
I have three little people with whose amazing minds I get to work - ages 7, 5, and 2, and I want to make sure that each feels honored and encouraged in the space.
And so that means along with these lovely white spaces ready to be filled, we also have lots of these...because little L's loudest wish on the big summer list was to build lots of legos. So you better believe that we have lots of legos and a lego table in here for him (and because he has two older sisters, there's a lot of pink legos, too).
I believe children need open space in which to explore their questions, a structure on which to organize their answers, and a gallery in which to share it with the world. What does this mean practically? A large table, individual storage space, lots of writing and creating materials.
We're just starting up our learning, and I love to begin by asking them what they want to learn this summer because these ideas are our primary curriculum! I'm always surprised by what they offer. Here's where we stand:
M: learn to use a sewing machine
C: learn to go all the way across the monkey bars by myself
L: learn to ride bike without training wheels (this is gonna be a tough one at two, but we'll definitely work towards it)
We also start off by measuring each other and making a great big growth chart on which we also measure other important items (like special blankets and toys) to learn how other objects compare to us in size.
All of these artifacts get posted in the "red room" for us to look at all summer long.
I love being surrounded by my children's accomplishments and dreams. It's a room of such energy.
Follow along every Wednesday as we explore some of the fun activities and projects taking place in Mommy & Daddy school. We'll be reading, crafting, exploring nature, taking on great IPad apps, praying, exercising, experimenting and more! Phew, and taking naps.
How do you nurture your curiosity? Is there a space in your home for you or your children to do so? I'd love to hear!
Thanks so much for popping over! Happy Wednesday.
PS. Here are some great ideas from education experts on simple ways you can keep learning together this summer.