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Elementary News: Home Learning Over the Break

Making the most of your travels and time in your communities over the holidays will go along way to create authentic and exciting experiences with your children outside of school. Inquiry opportunities are literally everywhere we go. With a little planning, family outings and excursions can create memorable connections and generate fresh perspectives.

Include children in the planning process - this will allow for them to acquire some background knowledge before you go on your trip. It will also help them formulate questions to enhance the experience and construct authentic meaning from your trip.

Provide some background knowledge - A child that has some background knowledge of your destination will find your outing much more interesting than one who has never heard of the place you are going.

If you are going somewhere new and have a specific destination such as a museum, aquarium, or theme park, provide opportunities for your child to do a little research on your destination. This will generate greater enthusiasm and set a purpose for extended learning.

If you are traveling home. Possibly provide some family history or stories in order for your child to make connections to your journey and stay.

Nurture observation skills - encourage your children to employ all of their senses. This will increase their sense of wonder. Prepare for a variety of ways to record your experiences. Cameras, journals, magnifying glasses, binoculars, sketch books and simple art supplies will allow for may different ways for your child to share their experiences with you.

Take your time - Plan large blocks of time for your children to observe, explore, question and document their experiences. Encourage questions, conversation, and reflection based on what THEY see as valuable and relevant. TRUST that they will be occupied. Encourage independence and allow ample time for the process to take place.

Be a role model - model the behaviors you want to see. Ask questions when you want them inquiring, listen when you want them to listen, write when they write, sketch when they sketch. Be the inquirers you hope your children will be.

HAVE FUN - this is fairly self-explanatory. Engage with your children in their adventures. Show them your enthusiasm and it will return to you tenfold.

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