Learn while you play

Sum­mer pro­vides per­fect chance to foster learn­ing

QT Magazine - - HEALTHY, WEALTHY AND WISE - WITH KIRSTEN MUL­LAN, HEAD OF JUNIOR SCHOOL, WEST MORE­TON ANGLICAN COL­LEGE

OF­TEN as par­ents, the sum­mer hol­i­days are seen as a chance to have fun, en­joy the warm weather and for chil­dren to sim­ply en­joy be­ing kids.

At some point of that long, two-month break from school, most par­ents have and will have asked them­selves the ques­tion “how am I go­ing to keep them amused to­day?”

It is of­ten be­lieved that Year 12 is the most im­por­tant year of school ed­u­ca­tion but, for me, it’s those years around kindy and prep that are the most vi­tal. Why?

Early learn­ing is crit­i­cal to ev­ery stu­dent. It is much eas­ier to get them into good habits early in life, than it can be to turn things around later.

So when sum­mer hol­i­days come around, think of those the weeks off not as a time for them to re­lax and do noth­ing all day, but a time to have fun, while learn­ing new and valu­able skills at the same time.

It’s not only a golden op­por­tu­nity to help your chil­dren once school re­sumes but you’ll have lots of fun do­ing it.

Go to see live shows, lis­ten to mu­sic, visit the art gallery, or even the na­ture re­serve in Queens Park, th­ese rich ex­pe­ri­ences are an es­sen­tial part of learn­ing and fos­ter­ing chil­dren’s in­ter­est and knowl­edge in the world around them.

There is a mis­con­cep­tion that you only learn when you’re sit­ting at a desk do­ing maths or English. That’s not the case.

Play­ing out­side, bal­anc­ing, get­ting messy and dirty, learn­ing to fall off things and brush­ing your­self off and get­ting back up again are all im­por­tant learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences.

I al­ways stress the im­por­tance of read­ing to­gether, and not just fic­tion ei­ther. En­joy a va­ri­ety of books; if you mix things up, they learn new things ev­ery time.

Another idea is to cap­ture the sum­mer hol­i­day ex­pe­ri­ences … take pho­tos, get your kids to write about them and share their sto­ries with the fam­ily. A child may know the let­ters of the al­pha­bet and know how to write them but they need things to write about. Cap­tur­ing their ex­pe­ri­ences will al­low them to ex­pand their knowl­edge base and in­tro­duce con­cepts of sto­ry­telling.

Most im­por­tantly, dur­ing the sum­mer it’s im­por­tant to get into good habits. It will pay off all year. I can’t stress enough the im­por­tance of a healthy diet, and a good break­fast, along with good sleep rou­tines.

As teach­ers, we see eas­ily the dif­fer­ence be­tween chil­dren who had a good sleep and break­fast. It’s all in their fo­cus in class. Start­ing th­ese habits in the hol­i­days will greatly as­sist new rou­tines of start­ing school.

Make this sum­mer full of fun and learn­ing for you and your chil­dren.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED.

Sum­mer is fun, and a great chance to learn

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