It is very easy to fall into the trap of teaching to the test or thinking that in order for children to grow and learn they must be contained in an extremely structured, student sits and teacher teaches, direct instruction kind of environment. At the B-SAFE program at Epiphany LEARN that is not how learning happens. The same way kids come in all types of personalities and different backgrounds so does the way they learn. Not all participants learn the same way. It is important that as educators and youth workers we understand that. The world we live in is different, the environment in which our children grow in is different, and so the way they learn is also different. Learning can happen in all types of forms. Learning can be measured in all types of ways. Test should not dictate the content taught or the manner in which learning happens. This leaves with the question of, how do children learn? The first step is taking the time to get to know them, their families, and their individual needs. As you take the time to build that foundational relationship, you build trust, you learn about their strengths and areas that need more growth. When we engage families we get a more accurate picture of the child and come to understand their needs even better. This foundation is crucial in helping learning happen. You then tailor your lessons to those needs and little personalities. Learning can happen while out exploring in a field as much as it can happen sitting in a classroom listening to a lecture. Learning can be measured in a conversation as much as in the completion of a worksheet. If this is true, then we should be making learning more engaging to children by making it fun. The best learning happens when kids don’t necessarily realize that they are learning something new. This learning is permanent because it is t engrained with happy memories. This is the learning that comes from something being created and all of our senses activated. Effective learning is when we have kids at the edge of their seats with suspense eager to take in more information. It’s when they have smile on their face because they can see and understand the growth that they just underwent. This is how effective teaching should always be. This the direction that successful prevention of the summer slide should take. This is how we have fun learning at B-SAFE.
By Mauryn Perkins