Take children for example. The early year’s of their life are one big learning fest where everything is exciting and new and interesting. Everything they do is a an experience of education whether they’re playing a game, doing a job for their parents in the house or making something. For them, everything in life is about wonder and joy and fascination. In fact, as Alice put so eloquently in her talk, children only get bored when they aren’t learning something.
That’s simple then. We all love to learn and the best way to do it is through play and open investigation of the world around us. So how does this free approach to learning fit into our formal education that is all about curriculum and tests and other rigid structures and systems? They seem to have gone a long way to getting it right in the formal education system in Finland where all children have the right to a comprehensive education systems which sets them up well for adulthood both academically and socially, personally and creatively. Their system proves that it is possible to have an accessible education system where excellence walks hand in hand with individual experience so maybe we need to look more closely at what they are doing and see what we can learn.
Now the only question is how do we get adults to see that learning can and should continue to be part of life for people of all ages. Where do we possibly start with that one? But surely adults who are excited about learning are key to supporting children to be excited about learning? The challenge is to get the grown ups to turn off the television or internet and get out there to play and enjoy the wonder and fascination that surrounds us everyday, everywhere we go.