I love learning. I love discovering new ideas, new ways of approaching issues and furthering my professional knowledge. I work with children and yesterday I went to a professional development session about ‘Developing a child-focused curriculum’. It was great! I came out of it feeling motivated and inspired. I couldn’t wait to start planning. Now, some of you are probably thinking, “What a nerd!”, who likes going to professional development? But plain and simple, I love learning.
When I first started primary school, I loved reading. You know those books we used to read, ‘Aussie Nibbles’ and ‘Aussie Bites’ and so on? I had read them all. I powered through them and I was up to reading books for grades above me when I was still in Grade 1. Now, the “old-school” teacher didn’t want me to go above my Grade 1 level, but the younger and more revolutionary teacher, you could say, took me to the school library every week so I could be challenged. I still love reading and all through primary school I was excellent in English. I loved spelling, comprehension and reading. Even to this day, I’m a bit of a grammar and spelling Nazi. Everything has to be proofread and edited multiple times (I’ve already read this post about 5 times so it’d be a bit ironic if there was a mistake). I really believe this young teacher began my love of learning.
Now I’ve had plenty of “teachers” throughout my life who have encouraged my love of learning. From family members and friends, to high school teachers, dance teachers and even my short time at Uni, my love of learning has continued. And to this day I am still studying and constantly researching different approaches to different scenarios. An issue that was brought up at the workshop yesterday was that as children progress through school, learning becomes less fun and is more focused on results and checking skills off a list. In early childhood, learning is play based and child focused. Our National framework and guidelines specifically say that. But why does that have to change as soon as you get to school? Why can’t primary schools promote play-based learning, particularly for lower primary? How can we expect 4 year olds to sit in a classroom, at a desk and learn from a teacher at a whiteboard? Because I know when I was 4 years old I was still in pre-school. And back then in pre-school, a lot, if not all of it was still play based!
Why do we push kids? Why are they expected to be quiet and well-behaved all the time? Because it’s easier for us? Kids need to BE kids, learn from their mistakes, challenge themselves and most of all have fun without feeling pressured to grow up. Now, I’m no expert on children. I don’t have any of my own yet but I do have experience working with lots of different children who have their own little personalities and quirks and I manage to cater to them all. I problem solve and learn, because that’s how I’ve been brought up and that’s what I hope to pass on to the children I care for and hopefully one day my own. Children need to be resilient, confident and involved learners. I want to pass on my passion for learning. I’m eager and motivated to share my love of learning.
I know from experience as I worked my way through the grades in high school I felt an enormous amount of pressure to do well because you have to do well in school to have a good future, or so I thought. My parents never put any pressure on me to do well in school, it was all me. I pushed myself, I stayed up until all hours of the morning finishing assignments, proofreading them (with the help of my parents, you know, a fresh set of eyes) and going to class, all to get into Uni. And what do you know, I spent a year at Uni and dropped out because it wasn’t what I wanted to do and I wasn’t motivated. I was losing my love of learning because of all the extra ridiculous assessment that I had to complete. I’m a hands-on learner. I love getting messy and involved. I actually struggle to sit and watch PowerPoint presentations and listen to lecturers go on and on about useless information and unnecessary tangents. I love discussions, and using my hands and brainstorming. That’s how I learn. I’m a visual and kinesthetic learner. I have to see and do. Now that I have discovered my learning style, it has made it so much easier to cater for the children I work with because I am aware that everyone learns differently. But in schools, particularly high schools, curriculum is no longer individualised. Some children get support if needed but I find *some* teachers don’t know their students because they teach so many classes.
In Early Childhood, you generally know the children’s birthdays, their family, their interests, their likes and dislikes among other things and we can plan the curriculum around them. Rather than having a set curriculum that is the same every year, it’s constantly evolving and expanding. In the two and a half years I have been involved in Early Childhood, I’ve barely seen an intentional teaching activity repeated unless it’s been with a different group of children or the children have asked to do it again. And I love that! It makes me want to discover different activities and new ways of approaching experiences. As I’m nearing the end of my Diploma, which I’ve been loving (it’s workbooks so exactly what I need to stay motivated), I’ve begun looking at future study options. I’m pretty much certain that Uni isn’t in my future but I’m still open to it because I’m constantly growing and changing. Who knows, in 5 years I could be at Uni or I might’ve completed another two Diplomas/Certificates!
I hope I never lose my love of learning. It’ll be a sad, sad day if I do.
Until next time! xx