I was shocked to hear a story where a reception teacher had told a parent that although it was lovely that her 4 year old child loved to be outside, this child needed to learn to come inside and sit down so that he could be educated.
As of 2016 the government is talking about introducing testing our children at 4 years old. How can you test a 4 year old and why on earth would you want to. 4 year olds should be playing and exploring not sitting down at a desk to be tested.
Being a recent mum to a very active, out door loving little boy the thought of him being expected to sit quietly worries me hugely. His curious spirit is what makes him who he is and to squash that would be tragedy. I know that he will need to learn the benefits of learning, he will need to appreciate the sitting in a quiet space to read a book and he will have to learn how to sit exams but not at 4.
Our child 4 doesn't sit and doesn't do quiet. Even in his sleep he fidgets and wiggles around. What he does is follows a bumble bee on its hunt for nectar, chase seagulls, collects sticks to feed into drains, squelchs in muddy puddles and splashes through the rain. He knows to look for a rainbow when the sun shines through the rain, he hunts for the stars and the moon in the night sky. If we are out in the car he watches for cows, sheep and horses (see saws).
Knowing that I don't have the ability to home school and that his sociable nature means that he is probably more suited to learning with other children, school has to be the best option for him. So I will have to provide him with the learning outdoors stuff. We will have to allow him to explore and learn before school after school, at the weekends and during the holidays. We will have to carry out science experiments, build dens, set up sand and water tables. Tying all these things into reading, writing and numeracy. Thank heavens for the internet, it can provide us with loads of inspirational activities to do outside.
Maybe, just maybe our education system will start to listen to all the research out there about how children learn in different ways and that they are all really different. Different is good, creative is good, exploration is good, academia is good. Not one of those abilities is better than another, they are just different. In today's age of Internet, social media and technology thinking outside of the box is a necessity. In fact Apple and Google are struggling to find people who have the imagination and creativity to think of new innovative ideas for technology.
Children can learn so much if we just leave them be, of course there are risks in this but I honestly feel the benefits will outweigh them. Let your children climb a tree, traverse a stream and create a mud slide research shows that children allowed to thrive in the outdoors, thrive in later life. After all we have one life and surely it's to be enjoyed.