As a parent; you understand the level of commitment and hard work that it takes in order for your child to be successful in the classroom. In fact; the importance of instilling strong work ethic in children as a necessity for academic success is vital and unquestioned. However; it is also necessary to instill in children a realization that learning is linked to far more than what is taught in the classroom. A very important characteristic that children need to develop as part of their personal growth is a lifelong love of learning.
What does it mean to be a lifelong learner? It simply means that one understands that education does not end upon receiving a diploma, and is committed to continuing the journey of learning beyond the four walls of their school. The lifelong learner is always alive to the possibilities and opportunities that each day provides to learn something new. Such a love of learning is no coincidence, however. it must be cultivated and developed in one’s life, and the younger in life this process begins, all the better.
In order to cultivate a love of learning in your child; one of the most important keys is to help them to recognize that learning is not something that only takes place in the classroom or while completing homework. Helping them to see that there is a world of learning opportunities in which they can engage outside of the classroom is absolutely essential.
So with that thought in mind; here are five simple strategies that can help to fuel creativity, develop a sense of wonder and an inquisitive nature, and cultivate enjoyment and fulfillment while engaging in learning activities. In short; these five strategies can take learning out of the realm of drudgery and into the realm of fun:
1) Have children engage in reading books of interest on a daily basis: Many children claim that reading bores them, while other children seemingly cannot get their hands on enough books. The key to cultivating this lifelong activity is to help your child to identify topics of interest, and then help them to find books related to those topics that are also written at their reading level. Once you have the books in your home; set aside a designated period of time each day devoted to household quiet reading time. Or try reading out loud to your child. The key is to get children reading consistently every day through using areas of interest to draw them into the activity.
2) Encourage children to keep a daily journal to write their thoughts, questions, and ideas as they go through the day: Many children claim that they do not like to write, but journaling is a great way to free the mind by getting them to think creatively. It is amazing how simply writing thoughts and ideas on paper can unlock the mind to a whole new world of ideas. Whether they write one statement or pages of thoughts, simply engaging in the activity is a worthwhile endeavor.
3) Take children on nature walks: Whether you live in an urban or rural setting, take time to cultivate an appreciation for nature in your children. This will develop a sense of wonder, and may provoke scientific inquiry. It all can start with simple family nature walks, and the settings can be diverse. Walks through the woods, along the beach, by a lake, or in a park are all great family learning opportunities.
4) Take a weekly venture with your children into a setting that will help them to appreciate other cultures and historical events of the past: This is a truly fun idea because it encourages families to access and visit a broad range of sites ranging from restaurants serving foods of other nations to museums and historical venues. Such outings will instill a sense of cultural and historical appreciation in your child.
5) Help children to discover and cultivate a mode of artistic expression: Art can include painting, drawing, poetry, forms of dance, playing a musical instrument, or singing. Whatever the activity, help your child discover an area of passion through the arts.
Putting these strategies into practice with your children at home will be a most rewarding experience as you watch your child develop into an individual who values, appreciates, and loves all of the richness and diversity of learning that is available within the realm of life experience. Seize the day!