Awe in the world – I reckon that’s the best thing about being with little kids. Sharing their awe in the world, a world which is new to them of course.
Bit of a pain when you can’t get anywhere quickly because everything has to be examined; the bug on the pavement, the cat on the car bonnet, the dandelion growing out of concrete, the seeds from the sycamore, or even the odd dried dog poo. And they find endless delight in the clusters of city pigeons that strut around the benches in the precinct. They even find awe in their own feet sometimes.
Boring to us it may be, yet it’s all new stuff to learn about when you’re new to the world yourself!
Sometimes having small kids can even reignite your own awe in the everyday things we adults take for granted. That’s one of the wonderful things about having your kids around you – they make even you take notice of the little things. When you really examine the colours on a pigeon you find the most extraordinary iridescence.
If we’re not careful we can take this for granted. And overlook the essential part all this plays in our children’s education.
For this observation is a basis for educating – observational skills are valuable learning skills. Observation helps build knowledge of the world. Observational skills are as essential as all those other skills you equate with education like reading, writing and sums, which are really only a small part of the whole range of skills a person needs to become educated.
To become educated, and to fulfil the whole reason for education if you look at it beyond just gaining grades, children need to be equipped with the skills they need to live in that world. They need to look at it to learn about it, understand it, interact with it, care for it, take responsibility for it – starting with oneself, and work out how to make a contribution.
And all this starts with observation. It starts right back with you taking ages to get to the shop because you have to examine all these tiny parts of their world on your journey. Talk about them, point things out, answer questions about them.
Giving time to doing that helps encourage their awe in their world, helps keep it fresh, helps keep them interested and if they’re interested they’re learning.
It’s worth giving the time to what you think are irritating insignificances because while you’re being irritated by the constant stopping and observing, your child is learning and adding to their understanding and therefore their education.
That takes time.
It only takes ten minutes or so for them to learn how to add up. A complete and valid education takes a lifetime – a lifetime of awe in their world. Just like Newton was awed by the fact the apple fell down not up. What discoveries might your child make just through their observations of the world around them?
So, slow down, take as many moments as you can to foster and nurture that awe and observe the world. Who knows what it might lead to!