Learning starts with curiosity. A child learns to walk because they want to get somewhere. A child learns to talk because they want to be understood. And for at least the first few years of a child’s life learning occurs for a purpose and ultimately it means something to them. But then formal education starts and learning becomes less about the learner and more about the education system. In the UK at least, the prevailing system values conformity over diversity. But this ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach which routinely prioritises subjects, placing English and maths above geography and dance for example, fails to put the individual learner at the heart of their learning. Suddenly, the five-year old who took the family radio apart to find out where the voices come from and discovered how electrical circuits work is told that they don’t do that kind of thing at school for another five years.
A Child’s Curiosity
As far as I can see if children have an interest then education happens. Children are naturally curious. They’re also imaginative and willing to take risks.
When my son first started to ask ‘why?’ after everything I said I admit it drove me mad. Not because I actually lost my voice from talking so much but because it highlighted how much more curious he was than me. At 32 years old I had forgotten how to ask ‘why?’. Whilst his incessant questioning drove his nursery school mad it intrigued me. His questions led to many discoveries. I didn’t know, for example, that snowflakes change shape according to the temperature or that the sopranino is a small recorder and perfect for children who are told that they can’t play the recorder because their fingers are too small.
This year-long trip aims to reignite curiosity, both my sons and my own. Together we will seek out new experiences and, in turn, learn more about the world and what interests us. As a parent I feel it lies more on my shoulders, than any school teacher, to provide stimulating opportunities to help him learn about the world he inhabits. Travelling unlocks this door.
We invite you to travel with us as we share our experiences on this blog. Maybe it will even inspire your family to take to the road!