From The Principal’s Desk – January 6, 2015

On education. Have you ever gazed at a child while she stared in wide-eyed wonder at a bubble that floated across a beam of sunshine? The beauty and curiosity that comes from within that child was placed there by an Almighty God. His name is Wonderful and He created us for wonder.

Yet sometimes, we look at education against the backdrop of our own experiences in a traditional classroom. The brick-and-mortar classroom setting where we were glued to our seats mimicking words that fell from our teacher’s lips and copying pages out of a book thinking that this was the only way to learn about Math, Reading, Science, History, etc. This is not to say that teacher-led instruction is ineffective. I’m writing today to let you know that there is so much more to learning than what was passed onto us by the learning that was framed in the 16th century until the mid-20th century during Colonialism.

On my journey in understanding how children learn, I discovered that we must start with the innate love of learning within a child because God has placed His dreams inside each one. Each child is wired differently and understands life differently.  It is our responsibility as parents and educators to discover what motivates that child & what causes him or her to thrive. The partnership between parent and teacher to mine for the treasure that is in that child takes time, strategy, and understanding.  It is not an easy feat.

There have been so many instances when I threw my hands up in the air and felt defeated by curriculum, worksheets, crumpled notebooks and stubby pencils. The child who says, “I can’t” and stays there. But we persevere and we press on because love does not give up. The struggle is worth it because so many have gone before us and sowed into this child. We all have our part to play.

Then there’s that moment of hope. We find it. Yes, that moment when we see his little heart respond and then he begins to drive the learning. He takes the front seat and there is a glimmer in his eyes. “Let’s go outside! Let’s see what makes a plant grow!” he says. So our little class goes outside and we explore. We take our stubby pencils and little notebooks looking for sprouting seeds in a concrete jungle. Honestly, I don’t have to say much except ask a few thoughtful questions here or there. The desire to see why things are the way they are was already inside this little one. It just took a little bit of prodding and unpacking. Who knows? This child could be the next Nobel Peace Prize winner. He was sitting under our tutelage and was just waiting for an opportunity to blossom and grow. He really didn’t need any more already-processed academic jargon that was spoon-fed to him at every turn. He needed room to explore.

Education is the intersection where a child’s love of learning touches upon the world that God has made. A world that is composed of ideas, the intricacies of nature, cultural depth, and ongoing dialogue. This exchange between our world and exploration has the potential to impact society, create change, and bring forth dreams. So let us educate our children remembering their God-given desires, design, hopes and dreams. It just takes a small step in this direction – let’s give them some room to wonder.