Learning is ageless

Children are learning sponges - age cannot be an excuse for any learning for them

A newborn senses the world around with its strong & sensitive senses. Even before learning to talk & walk, she reacts positively to familiar touch and displays her uneasiness to a non familiar touch. This only grows stronger into the toddler years. The major milestones of human development and growth, and the important life skills, all set their foundation before the child steps into the primary years or by the time she turns six. Talking, walking, writing, analysing, making habits, being independent, knowing the need and way to fit in, peer pressure, hiding, telling a lie etc – all set in a child during these initial years.

Despite knowing the significance of learning and development during these early years, we tend to underplay the topics on environment in child’s learning. Some of us even display our short sightedness by mocking and ignoring any and all such learning. Making children know about and follow waste segregation, and ways to save our resources are few learning aspects that don’t get the due they rightly deserve in child’s learning environment.

Potty training is one of the most crucial and difficult stage of child’s learning. Nothing else gives more headaches until achieved, and nothing else gives higher relief once achieved, in the growth trajectory of the child. Every parent strives for the child to achieve this at the earliest. But, guiding and explaining the child to dispose off the diaper rightly becomes the learning way beyond their age!

Learning the importance of eating fruits regularly, and chocolates only occasionally is done at a toddler age for a child. But, teaching how and where to correctly dispose the peels and wrappers, we wait till middle school years or even beyond. We start teaching colours from the day the child starts pointing her finger, but linking it to the colour of the bins to segregate and throw waste is not considered a necessary learning.

A child telling where is the tap and where is the fan is good teaching, a child brushing and washing hands properly is good learning. But, a child knowing how water comes in taps and that it can’t come forever is real learning. Real learning is when saving water and light becomes a part of child’s everyday living and habit.

The issue is not that the child can’t learn these things at a young age, but we adults don’t see it important enough to teach it to our children. We still don’t take it as something affecting our lives. We are neglecting the fact that our children will have to deal with the garbage pressure as they will have to deal the peer pressure. And, they can only handle it successfully if managing it is their habit.

Can schools and teachers strive to give this real learning to young children? If everyone can be a ‘Nature Nurturer’, there will be no need for ‘Nature Talks’. Let’s create schools as spaces where teachers make puzzles and flash cards from old newspapers and magazines. Empty boxes and cartons are recycled to store stationary, to make class models and teaching aids. Children discuss and practice ways to save water, light, gas, fuel, paper and also to segregate waste on daily basis. They are the KEY ambassadors for these at home too. They share and practice these ways with their family and also with one friend or neighbour. This focus on environmentally conscious learning with children is the only way to bring everlasting positive change. When saving becomes the habit of citizens, it no longer remains a menacing problem of the planet. If we believe in this and put our best of efforts towards it – we would be able to grow real, sensible and sensitive children at our home, schools and on our planet.

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