Learning is a journey where the success is measured by the adventures taken to reach the answer.
I am the luckiest person in the world, I run an educational centre which caters for children, some who come through because they want to fly higher and are particularly gifted in a subject, others are just not getting it. We believe in success and achievement for every child we come into contact with. We know that every single child has the ability to learn even when they are finding it tough.
Knowing this and seeing it in action are two very different things. This summer our theories were well and truly put to the test. We decided to run a summer camp, not the usual play and sport type camp, but a camp that focused on learning and in particular making learning a fun and satisfying activity for every child whatever their age and their interest. This was going to be a tough call, no TV’s no computers and definitely NO mobile phones were included in the centre rules and as a person who loves a challenge and more specifically I know there is always a way, I just needed a great team to make it all happen.
The children arrived on the first day, some reluctantly with over enthusiastic parents pushing them through the door with words of encouragement that I am not sure they believed themselves. So how did we turn something as mundane as English and maths into a fun-loving day that children really enjoyed and wanted to come back to day after day. This was definitely a challenge to break into a child’s mind and think about what would press the fun buttons to inspire a love of learning.
The first part was to develop learning opportunities at a level that would inspire and engage our children, so our maths involved planning daring rescues by superheroes, English involved writing about pirates and being chased by dinosaurs; A mission to the moon and a trip to neverland helped out with our science projects and also gave us lots of fun reading. Even ‘Georges Marvellous Medicine’ provided opportunities to explore different slime recipes. As a result, our parents simply couldn’t believe how much work their children came home with and how much they wanted to come again. Parents were writing comments like “amazingmy child never used to pick a book or a pencil up, and now she never puts them down”
There is no secret to the success just common sense. The first and possibly the main part of our approach was to make the learning opportunity something a child is interested in; the second part was to ensure that every learning outcome gives every child an individual sense of achievement. There is no mystery to this, I know that I don’t finish any book if it doesn’t engage me, so why would a child be any different, I also know that if I don’t enjoy a subject I don’t try nearly as hard if it’s difficult, so I will focus my attention on the things that come easily that I know I can accomplish and give me a feeling of satisfaction because they have been well completed.
Learning is a journey, and all children have to accomplish the process involved in that journey to move to the next milestone. They have to be comfortable with the pace and the direction they are traveling in, the end result will come and be more satisfying if they design the agenda of the journey themselves. As our children’s key supporters our goal is not to convince children that they are clever, it is for them to understand that they are smart against their own criteria, we can help open doors but the adventures they have on the way are theirs not ours. One of my favourite sayings is that if we don’t have the courage to leave the shore then the Ocean will never be explored. Give your children courage and hope and belief in their own ability, let them get it wrong, being right all the time is no fun either and being wrong and discovering how to get the right answer gives them hope that they can solve mistakes in the future.
In today’s perfect world there is no room to goof it up and get it wrong, but the getting it wrong – is the learning process that all children need to really succeed as they move forward. Let your children make mistakes, we do, but make sure they have success in their grasp. Letting them get is wrong is different from setting them up to fail this is not what we advocate. We suggest that they are allowed to set their own learning journey.
So, in summary the success of our summer adventure has been to talk to the children, give them the knowledge they need to succeed and the space to work out their own journey to the finishing post. We have opened doors to new discoveries and used the most amazing teachers who smile, engage, encourage and develop to ensure that every day is a new opportunity to learn. The direction and the speed of your child’s learning journey is never as important as the final outcome.
Kidsfull is an innovative educational centre, that uses a combination of traditional methods of teaching, aligned with inspirational and caring educators who will always find different approaches to any child’s educational journeys. The company is based in Motor City in Dubai and can be contacted on 04 566 5723.