Learning As We Walk

Welcome to the May Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival, ‘Kids and Learning.’

The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by Science@home is for anyone, because we are all teachers and learners. This month our bloggers have come up with some wonderful suggestions for fun things to do with your kids, ways to help them learn and thoughts on what learning is. Please read to the end to find links to other blogs, you might find a wonderful new blog to follow.

One thing that my part of the ‘burbs does well is autumn. Some of the streets on our walk to school put on a spectacular display of colour during this season. I have found the best way for kids to learn the seasons of the year is to learn them in context. Our walks to school each day provide the perfect opportunity to talk about how we have seasons of the year, discuss what season we are in and what signs can we see in nature that lets us know what season it is.

We can pick up the leaves examine their colours, see how the greener ones are still on the trees and the browner leaves are on the ground. As the weeks and then months pass, I will remind the younger children to look at the trees and see how many leaves are left.

In the past we have all taken guesses as to when all the leaves will be gone on a particular tree. For the older children I can then add “prediction” into the discussion, as we predict whether all the leaves will be off the trees before the start of winter on June 1st. (Southern Hemisphere of course!) All of this happens in general two way conversation as we walk to school. I don’t lecture, but encourage the children to talk about what they are seeing in their immediate environment, add pieces of factual information in context and enjoy seeing the older children explain their knowledge to their younger siblings.

As these conversations are led by the children, they can often move on to areas that I perhaps would not have thought to go. On a walk recently we watched a street sweeper, sweep up all the leaves. The preschooler wanted to know why they had to sweep the leaves away, for him they look pretty and are a great source of fun. As we walked along I showed the preschooler the gutters of the roads and how they have openings (drains) for the rain water to flow into. We talked about where the rain water will end up once it makes it ways through the pipes underground. Specifically for Melbourne it goes to the rivers and creeks where it eventually flows to the bays, so we talked about how it wouldn’t be good for the fish to have all these leaves in their water.

We then played street cleaners on the way home as well. The preschooler sat on front of the pram and used his foot to collect the leaves as we walked along!

At home we then used clear contact and leaves and twigs that we collected to make our very own autumn tree!

Taking the daily opportunities that real life provides for learning in context, is a simple activity that you can do with your kids. It will help enrich their knowledge, quite often without them even knowing that you are teaching them something!

[flickr id="4533876028" thumbnail="medium" align="right"] Visit Science@home if you are interested in participating in next month's Teach/Learn carnival. Please take the time to visit the other participants and see what they have to say:

Thanks for joining us! We hope to see you next month.