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Life Beyond The Classroom
Get hands-on, outdoors and connectedJane Sandwood | 6 August 2018
With increasing academic pressure on children, it’s arguably never been more important to foster resilience and adaptability from a young age.
Life Beyond The Classroom
This is reflected in the value Montessori teaching places on freedom of choice and movement in learning. If children are encouraged to explore and develop more broadly, then their future success becomes not just numbers in exams, but how they contribute to the community, create their own home and family lives, and where they find contentment. This is particularly critical for children who find school challenging, such as those diagnosed with disorders such as ADHD. Even where an effort is made to create a positive environment, there are only so many hours in a teaching day. So how can families help? What can children learn beyond the classroom?
While some schools offer traditional ‘home crafts’, children may make much more progress at home with closer adult supervision than is possible in class. Home cooking, DIY and sewing are relatively low cost hobbies which will save children money as they grow up and are able to eat healthily, and make do and mend for themselves. They’re also tremendously satisfying. For a non-academic child who struggles with math or literacy, being able to create something beautiful and/or useful with their hands, is inspiring. Want to get started? Why not pick up a cookery book, find a beginners sewing machine, or try Pinterest for project ideas. Even better, include your child when there are shelves to put up, or spring bulbs to plant.
Encourage your child to get outside. A recent report by Common Sense Media showed that children under 8 spend 48 minutes per day glued to a screen. This is affecting their physical health (obesity levels are higher than ever) and mental wellbeing. You could try camping, den-building or orienteering with kids who already enjoy being outdoors. Children who need a little more encouragement might like to paint or draw outside, or go insect finding or bike riding. The satisfaction of being able to ride a bike or swim in a creek can boost a child’s confidence as well as increasing their perseverance and resilience as they master those skills.
Encourage your child to build connections with their grandparents or older members of the community. There is a wealth of wisdom out there waiting to be shared, and with the current loneliness epidemic, elderly people would benefit just as much as the children. Importantly, older members of the community or family have time to share, as well as experience. Letting your child learn from them not only instills a sense of how to treat others, but you may also find they gain a history lesson, or unexpected practical advice.
A recent Forbes article states that curiosity, commitment and agility (resourcefulness) are the crucial skills employers now seek. These can be learned in a forest, in the kitchen or at the sewing table; there’s no time like the present.