We have all, at some point in our many years of schooling, struggled through the drudgery of page after page filled with fractions, dull equations or word problems featuring “Johnny” and what happens if he starts with 35 apples and shares 1/3 of them with 2 friends then eats the rest. Aside from the stomach-ache Johnny is likely to have after this exercise; we are told that these arithmetic essentials will somehow prove useful later in life, although that does not make them any more enjoyable at the time.
Why does the menu at an Italian restaurant feature dish after dish of culinary masterpieces that make you wish you could order them all in one sitting? Because when people go out to dinner, they want a satisfying, enjoyable meal, not a bowl of flavorless, dry noodles. It’s all about the experience, and this applies to almost every part of our lives.
Children begin to learn about their world from the moment they are born. From their first perceptions to their first steps, from their first unrecognizable drawing to their first science fair project – this learning process continues throughout their lives. At the earliest age, learning mechanisms are built into things that children find interesting and enjoyable. They discover geometric fundamentals using wooden shape puzzles, or learn to count with small animal figures and so forth. If there is nothing appealing about what you are trying to teach them, their interest will likely wane and the intended lesson will fall short of its expected effectiveness.
As educators, parents or care providers, keeping the learning process enjoyable in an age-appropriate manner will always yield more favorable results. Building a baking soda and vinegar volcano is quite a bit more interesting than digressing into the chemical reaction between sodium bicarbonate and dilute acetic acid. Fun has a positive effect on motivation levels and on how much information we actually retain. By creating the “wow” factor with such a project, what might be a rather mundane experience becomes enjoyable learning. Why dish out the bowl of flavorless, dry noodles when you can have Pasta Con Pomodoro E Basilico?
At The Learning Lodge, we keep learning enjoyable. Children thrive when their environment nurtures quality learning with a health dose of fun. It fosters healthy relationships with their peers and adults alike, and serves to spark interest in things that might otherwise elicit little or no enthusiasm. Many an aerospace engineer was probably born out of a backyard model rocket experiment because the experience awakened a passion that may have remained dormant instead.