Meet my Dad, he is larger than life, even here in his school photo from long, long ago when he had only been in Australia for 1-2 years you can see it.
The great thing about my Dad is he loves learning. He is curious, passionate and loves working out how things work. He is always learning a new skill, like the time he figured out how to make a pizza oven, built it and then learnt (through trial and error - yum) how to make the perfect wood fired pizza. His favourite Nonno joke is: “Use your brain – Google it.” And then he laughs and says it again…priceless.
In the past he has gone to “nightschool” and done numerous courses. The most memorable to teach himself Autocad so he could "make sure he could understand those bloody Architects".
He also loves photography, so he reads camera magazines, did courses and joined a camera club. He enjoyed fishing when I was growing up and not being content with just being a member took on the President of the fishing club.
Dad always has a project on hand and now he is retired he never rests, his latest building a pergola out of the recycled wood from recent renovations. He also just bought himself a guitar and is rekindling his first great love. He always has a musing on the latest science fiction book he is reading and the comparison to technological advances or the ground-breaking inventions and how one day we will all be teleporting….
My Dad shows that a love of learning does not just occur in the classroom, it is lifelong.
How can we as parents, families and carers foster and nurture a love of learning?
Find the five-minute moments – it could be in the car, at the dining table or walking to school. Your child may bring up a topic and you can kindle that curiousity like fire. For example, recently my daughter wondered how dolphins sleep. We had just been snorkelling so could not go and Google but we spent a bit of time supposing, theorising and a tiny bit of imagination. To be honest we did not even go and find the answer but it was all learning…learning to think.
Create the environment – Leave a book out where it can be found. Libraries are full of amazing non fiction picture books. Pick a subject that your child may like or has been talking about. You could even leave a stone in the middle of the dining table and play “What could you use a stone for?”
Go visit somewhere you have not been in your local area and go on a tour. Perth Mint has a unique tour right on our doorstep. Or do you know anyone who works somewhere interesting that would be willing or able to give you a behind the scenes peek?
Play “I wonder”, lie on your back in a park day or night, observe and play “I wonder…”
Be careful not to do all the talking, just cause you may have the answer or the perfect thing to say, resist the urge to fill in the silence. Give your child time and permission to think and enjoy the time to listen.
P.S. I now know that dolphins “sleep” with one eye open with half of their brain staying awake. Thanks Google.