What kids need to know.

I don’t know if there is such a thing as a researcher syndrome, where you expect a totally unique and amazing discovery out of every interaction. But when I walk into schools ready to talk to principals and teachers of alternative schools; when I’m about to hear details of a disruptive teaching methodology. Every time I’m eager to be enlightened by a brilliant formula that will empower me to educate my kids with the advantage of knowing “the secret”.

After 8 weeks of research for “the secret”, I have to tell you that there is no secret.

The more I learn about the education of our young kids and about the different ways in which they can learn, the more everything sounds like common sense. (damn you common sense!)

Let me give you an example.

We need to nurture the natural curiosity of kids, so they can discover their world and make sense of it.

How about this?

“Kids need to feel secure to ask their own questions, discover their own truths and grow up confident about who they are in the world”

I don’t think I know any parents who would argue with me about those two statements. Yet, most learning environments are not built around these simple principles. Most are still organized around old fashioned learning principles and beliefs.

Speaking to kids about what they love to learn and how they have learned their most precious lessons in life.

Based on the research we’ve done so far, what our kids need is a bit different from what I used to think.

  1. Our kids need to know they are loved for who they are. Imperfect, in progress, curious, playful, genius, sensitive souls in the process of becoming.
  2. Our kids need to know that we expect them to learn everyday. That the process of learning is active, messy, playful and full of errors.
  3. Our kids need to know that it’s their journey and therefore their choices. We need to treat them like people, with respect to their freedom to select their own interests and passions.
  4. Our kids need to know that we are protecting them. That we’ll try to keep them safe and healthy. (probably one of the hardest promises to make for many people in “emergent areas”.)
  5. Our kids need to know that they are not being measured. As we recently read “nobody ever grew taller by being measured”. Measurements are artificial ways to gain a sense of control over our diverse and complex human universe.

I know it’s not an all revealing list, it just makes sense.

What do you think parents? We’d love to know your thoughts and your kids opinions about what our kids need based on your experience.

The Learning Gypsies.