Curiosity is its own reward, at least for teachers. On my first afternoon at school, when the children began slowly to wake up from naps, I was watching them. By chance I noticed Gloria and a couple of others putting on their shoes and stockings. I joined them to help and to talk. One child asked for a story. 'Read a story, Mrs. ‘awkins.'
There are so many stories to be told and so many more to imagine. The Hawkins Exhibit, and its four main themes (Eolithism, Teacher as Learner, Messing About, and I, Thou, It) tuned the U of C Lab Schools in to new ways of coming together to tell a shared story.
One of the highlights for me was thinking about how to put together the learning stories submitted by my colleagues to correspond with the Hawkins Exhibit panels. The connections between the four main themes weave in and out of all types of learning and subject matter. The culmination of our work produced seven panels that demonstrate progressive education from Nursery through High School and on into adulthood.
A mother’s reflection:
There is so much that is thought provoking and needs time to absorb ...
The material serves as a powerful reminder that learning is a process we ALL undertake all the time, throughout the different stages of our lives - and in different ways depending on the context.
As a parent of three young children, it's good to be reminded, too, that as the adult we sometimes need to determine the starting place or direction for learning. It's sometimes easy to slip into behavior that 'corrects' or modifies what a child is saying in response to something in the world.
If, instead, I take a step back and appreciate that there are many places to start and that their inherent curiosity will take us to places I might never have imagined, everything seems possible! This exhibit reminds me that adults can help focus and 'clear the way' for children to develop their ideas -- but it is a relationship of learning together rather than hierarchical (that's not to say that I can't tell them when they need a bath or need to get to bed!!)
The best ideas often come when people have broken free of pre-existing ways of thinking and asked, 'what if I start here?' instead of the conventional 'there'.
Children do this all the time -- if we listen with them, the ability to preserve it through adulthood is the challenge.