Most of What Kids Learn in School They’ll Never Use ~ Making Room for Wonder, Intrinsic Motivation and People Skills

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Most of What Kids Learn in School They’ll Never Use ~ Making Room for Wonder, Intrinsic Motivation and People Skills

“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” ~ Oscar Wilde A few months back I was walking along the streets of Kitsilano when I happily ran into one of my favourite people—Sandra, a grade 9 student. I hadn’t seen her since she began year two of high school so I seized the moment to ask her how it was going. A sour look fell upon her face, followed by, “It’s boring. We’re learning how to measure the circumference of a circle.” She then went on to say with a little bit more bite, “Like we’re ever going to need to know how to do that in the world!” […]

The Wisdom of Giving Your Child a Sword to Play With Instead of a Gun

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The Wisdom of Giving Your Child a Sword to Play With Instead of a Gun

There is a great debate amongst the educators and parents I present to about children playing with guns. In fact, it may be the hottest of all debates (even more than whether to allow children to go up slides!). Does playing with guns support or hinder child development? More so, how might a child playing with guns today impact society tomorrow? As a boy, I remember happily playing with guns. Whether it was with my cork gun shooting cans in my backyard or playing war with plastic guns with my friends, I only have good memories. Gunplay was a means of using my imagination, connecting with others, and being in nature. Looking back now, however, I view those times from mature hindsight, with a depth […]

When Kids Long for Your Ignorance More than Your Knowledge

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When Kids Long for Your Ignorance More than Your Knowledge

“It’s only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.” ~ Henry David Thoreau  A friend unreservedly praised her wise young daughter while proudly showing me a picture of this rising star. Only 18 years of age, she, at the time, had already left home, knowing, as she had for many years, exactly where she wanted to live—in the progressive community of Nelson, Canada, amongst others she held as like-mind. With a wistful smile, my friend recounted an outstanding mindset her daughter had which she relentlessly advised her mother of—“question everything”; to look beyond the literal, the surface features of life, and sense that lying beyond the veil of reality most in the West traditionally acquiesce to. This young seeker knew there […]

Children’s Play Becomes Work When You Get in the Way. Let Them Be.

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Children’s Play Becomes Work When You Get in the Way. Let Them Be.

“In today’s world there is such a focus on a child’s academic abilities that the social is becoming obsolete. I have seen children as young as 2 years of age who know their entire alphabet, the sound each letter makes and numbers up to 10. Parents are so proud of their child that they are “sooo smart”. However, the same child does not know how to play by himself—even for a few minutes—is constantly seeking approval from their parents, and has the highlight of their day being what they refer to as ‘lesson time’—which is an app on a tablet—because that is when they get to spend time with mom or dad.” ~ Early Childhood Educator  Play does not have a beginning and ending. It […]

The Disease of Being Right

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The Disease of Being Right

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” ~ Rumi It’s well known that when children are abused, emotionally or physically, often, if not usually, they believe it’s their fault. They did something wrong. This was true for me. I took to heart the various abuses inflicted on me when young. It was if a sword was pushed deep into my heart. The deepest wound is to the human heart, a wound that perhaps can never fully heal. It was not just that I believed I did something wrong, but more so, I believed that I was inherently wrong. There is a distinction here, an important one. We are not human doings, after all, but human beings, deeply […]

There is Knowledge, and then there is Knowing ~ Learning to Trust and Make Space for Your Inner Wisdom

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There is Knowledge, and then there is Knowing ~ Learning to Trust and Make Space for Your Inner Wisdom

“Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living; the other helps you make a life.” ~ Sandra Carey There is knowledge, and then there is knowing. Knowledge is finite. It is the facts of life: a butterfly has two wings; Earth is round; the sky is blue. Knowledge has defined edges, beginnings and endings, a specific this is it; it is information the mind grasps in completeness… until it doesn’t; for our understanding of things evolves. One day we live in a geocentric solar system, and then the next day it is the sun, not the Earth, the planets revolve around. One day our knowledge informs us that we must spank children. The next day this is considered cruel. Like a monkey, […]

We Over-Educate Children Because We Over-Think and Are Afraid to Feel

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We Over-Educate Children Because We Over-Think and Are Afraid to Feel

There is enough research to clearly show that we are over-educating, over-pushing our children in school. But if you need extra evidence, here are two studies for you: “According to Daphna Bassok, an assistant professor of education and public policy at the University of Virginia, in 1998, 30% of teachers believed that children should learn to read while in kindergarten. In 2010, that figure was at 80%.” ~ Why are our kids so miserable? | Jenny Anderson, Quartz  “One major study of 700 preschool classrooms in 11 states found that only 15 percent showed evidence of effective interactions between teacher and child. Fifteen percent.” ~ The New Preschool Is Crushing Kids | Erika Christakis, The Atlantic If you need more research, please read Inspiring, Troubling […]

Re-Imagining Education ~ Awakening the Gifts and Purpose Inherent in Each Child

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Re-Imagining Education ~ Awakening the Gifts and Purpose Inherent in Each Child

Beyond the accidental universe “The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore What if the universe we live in is not accidental? What if it is a fluid intelligence spoken through sage stars, prophetic planets and guiding galactic spirals; through the bees that know how and when to collect the nectar we use for our honey; through the sun that rises everyday with the gift of light pulsing through curtains of clouds; through the salmon that somehow know exactly where they come from and when to come home to spawn; and through the trees that release their golden leaves every Autumn to the beckoning earth waiting for nourishment? What […]

Inspiring, Troubling and More: Research and Stories on Child Learning and Development

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Inspiring, Troubling and More: Research and Stories on Child Learning and Development

“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.” ~ Stacia Tauscher For a while now, participants in my keynotes and playshops have asked me to share the growing collection of research and stories I have on child learning and development. Teachers, in particular, want to share these finding with parents and education faculty to broaden perspectives on the importance of such things as play and nature in learning and development. Each piece below is listed as an excerpt of useful information with a link to its associated article making your perusing easier. Feel free to come back to this page as I will add new findings regularly, listing them at the top of their respective category. Scattered amongst […]

Kids Hunger For More Meaningful Conversations and Less Direction

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Kids Hunger For More Meaningful Conversations and Less Direction

“Teachers expect kids to act like adults, but they treat them like children.” These are the frustrated words from a mature grade seven student. When asked for an example, she said, “I remember in kindergarten sharing ideas and dreams with my teacher, and she would respond by saying, ‘That’s nice, dear. Why don’t you go and draw a picture about it.’” I then asked how her teacher could have responded differently. She said, with a degree of irritation, “All she had to say was, ‘Tell me more about it.’” *** Scroll to the bottom to read 15 Questions Kids Hunger to Hear *** In the same way that recess is learning, engagement is teaching. “Conversation is gold. It’s the most efficient early-learning system we have. And it’s […]