Sunday, February 10, 2008

Nature, play and school

february 10 2008

As a psychologist I've always said that most children need to play outside as much and as long as they can, to develop well.

Maybe I'm too much of a Montessori pupil, but I do think children will signal when they're ready for reading and writing.

Researchers from the Cambridge University now back up my ideas with research.

Children have many different waqys to learn, and I'm not sure we know them all.
Look at babies.
Even thought they seem to care only for food and other physical "activities" they acquire skills, and develop their own characteristics.

Schools offer a limited environment for children, and limited learning opportunities.
Homeschooling offers the same and in less time and most homeschooled young people turn out to have more self confidence, social skills and problem solving skills than people their age and level.

I've grown up in an area with many woods and large plots of farmland.
The freedom I exprienced made me aware I had to take care of my own needs.
Need for food, but also the need for safety.

I learned to oversee the consequences of my actions in a natural way.
Just sit down on an ant hill once, and you won't do it ever again. LOL!
I also learned a lot from the stupidities of others.

The boys next door did things that were not allowed, like climbing on the shed and in trees. I heard them screem in agony when arms and legs once again were broken during a hard landing.
No way I was going up there myself!
And in the meantime I also learned to make a difference between situations that called for immediate action and situations that could be ignored.

I'm still the one who keeps calm when an accident happens. I'm the one who orders other people around to call 911, to fetch a blanket, or to bring water when someone has burns.

One simply can't learn this at school.

One of the main characteristics I gained while playing in nature was curiosity.
The world is so very interesting!!

When I went to school I felt like I was jailed.
I had a friendly teacher and she did what she could to answer all my questions and to give me space, but it was all limited.

And when I finally could read, I had no chance to read what was interesting to me. I had to read what other people told me to read.
I was lucky the library was in my street. I sneeked in whenever I could, and read books about astronomy sitting in a corner where none could find me, I thought.

Ofcourse I read the books for young girls too.
For myself I found a perfect balans between dreams and science, untill schoolwork took all my time and I started to feel dull and stupid. All I could do was enter the competition of who had the best scores for homework. But I could never beat the kids that had private tutoring.

When children feel the same now, I can understand they feel unhappy and unwanted in society.
Children can't be themselves, they just have to be better than they are.

Chopping off bits of the individuality of people make them into creatures that will never fit in.


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