Do you think learning is fun ?
Do you think knowing about stuff feels good?
I really do. And for children, OUT of the classroom can be the MOST fun place to learn new things.
What’s that bright star in the night sky, Mum? Sirius. Also known as the Dog Star. Why, Mum? Because it’s in a group of stars called ‘Big Dog’ (canis major).
And off you go.
Behind a desk and with a pencil in your hand, learning can sometimes seem routine and dull to children. So I try and make my day with children full of new bits and pieces. Take milk at breakfast for example.
“What’s that word ‘pasteurised’ on the bottle?”
“Oooh, well, that’s named after Louis Pasteur, the super-famous French scientist who spent most of his life staring through a microscope and found out that by heating milk, you can make it safe to drink, get rid of all the nasty bugs that make you ill.”
Clever guy. He also found the cure for mad-dog disease, rabies so thank you very much, Mr Pasteur. Take a look around today – there’s a learning curve to everything!
The final straw in my high aspirations for having brilliant children was when my 8-year old daughter told me that the Mona Lisa was painted by Leonardo di Caprio. I had to act. I knew they loved watching television – and that’s how I came to the idea of combining this with learning something worthwhile.
I wrote out the life of Leonardo da Vinci, packed the story with true and memorable details (he liked to slice up dead bodies, he made paint out of eggs, he didn’t go to school) and wrapped it into funny, 10-minute film which they watched over and over again.
And that was the start of NowYouKnowAbout, our company that makes short, funny films for children about really famous people.
This is my first blogpost so naturally I want to say hello and tell you that I’ll be writing mostly about my personal enthusiasm – how to make learning stuff fun for children. One sniff of homework, one whiff of compulsory swotting and rote-learning and kids run a mile.
But I’m here to tell you about the myriad ways to learn without realizing, to pick up all kinds of knowledge – the information that adds texture and richness to every life – with a smile on your face. I’m a teacher, a mother and a would-be ‘Mastermind’ candidate and I firmly believe that knowing about things is great.
There’s a lot of interesting stuff out there. We’re all sponges. Soak it up.