It is surprising (or maybe not) how much time I spend trying to convince people that learning is a natural, fun, lifelong practice. What I try to convey is that - we are all constantly adding to our "data banks" every minute of every day. Yes, even in our sleep.
Learning doesn't require a particular place, time, or materials. The only things you really need are curiosity, an open mind, and an environment (community) where you feel safe and accepted.
I had this exact conversation (again) with an eight-year-old during the first week of the DRC Summer Program. He was busily painting a mural on the back of the shed and said something akin to - I am having a great time - do kids that come here for "school" do this kind of stuff? I responded that they do. He asked in all seriousness, "but when do they learn?" I said, "while they play and do cool projects and activities - like you have done this week." And he responded, "but I haven't learned anything this week."
Instead of banging my head up against the tree, I was leaning on, I took a deep breath and said, "you would be surprised how much you have learned this week. Just because you have not done worksheets and listened to a teacher talk at you doesn't mean you didn't gain new information." He shook his head in disbelief and continued painting.
I find this so, so, so incredibly sad. This extremely bright kid doesn't understand that play, exploration, and having fun are the basis for all learning. In his mind, it can only happen in school - where laborious, monotonous "work" is required.
Is it any wonder that many kids come to DRC jaded, unhappy, anxious, and completely unable to believe that the process of learning can (should) be a joyful experience?
Every single little thing you do today will change you in some way. The simple act of breathing guarantees that statement. It may be that you think about something differently, or it could be a mistake you made, and now you know what not to do.
So, I ask: What made you think a little bit deeper or gave you a reason to pause today? What made you throw up your hands in frustration? What inspired you to dive deeper into your explorations? And what made you laugh out loud in pure glee?
Those are the memories that are stored to be built upon for later use. Which I must point out is a pretty good definition of "learning."
Scenes from the first week of DRC Summer Program '22
Weekly Creative Meditation
The DRC Summer Program is a hit. The kids had a fantastic time this past week. The last two weeks are completely full - therefore registration is now closed.
Last week, I promised news about our DRC-East program. Unfortunately, we don't quite have all the details sorted out yet. Hopefully, next week I will be able to blast some cool news.
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