• Brave Development

Teacher’s talk – BE OUTSIDE

Hi! I’m so honoured to share a post today written by my big sister, Elishia van Buuren.

She is a spectacular teacher (although she’s not teaching at the moment) and a wonderful God-mother to my little boy. This is MUST READ:

So, while studying my Be.Ed (teaching) degree at the University of Pretoria, every class I walked into, the following question was asked; Why are you studying to become a Teacher? Over the years my answer to this question might have changed, but one thing has remained the same – a love to see the joy on the faces of my students when they’ve finally achieved the goals that they’ve set out for themselves.

Now, after five years in the Teaching profession, the question that I’ve gotten asked most by parents has been; How can my child to do better?

The beauty of working with young children is that they learn best through action, through examples and what they see. Therefore, physical activity is very important. It is the basis of all learning. It prepares them for reading and writing. People tend to want children to rush through the foundation, to get to the “real” work. This perception couldn’t be more WRONG!

The foundation is the most important part of schooling. If a child doesn’t understand numbers, they’ll struggle with algebra. If they don’t understand shapes, geometry might not be their strong suit. The same goes for Language; if they don’t understand the different sounds and how they fit into words and sentences, they’ll have difficulty with reading and writing. Yes, for us it can feel like a tedious process, it can’t be that difficult right? But let this serve as a reminder that what appears as obvious or habitual to us, first has to be learnt and practiced by our children.

All children learn in different ways. I think, so often, we forget that maybe, just maybe one little learner could learn better through physical-doing, rather than pen-to-paper learning. Why not rather take our children outside and let them jump a number; learn to write a letter in the sand; allow them to build it with their bodies or spray it on a wall with water. In other words, by saying the letter or number, while experiencing it through body movement; as well as seeing it, we’re incorporating more learning styles than in the classroom itself.

Make learning fun. Why should our kids only write with crayons or pencils? Freeze some food colouring and let them draw and write with that on a big surface. With this activity they’ll not only learn about colours, but they’ll also see the ice melt, which allows them to see that the size of the ice cube will change from big to small; and if you use different colours, it will mix and they’ll see the colours change. In this one activity you have covered, art, science, maths and language. Language? By talking to the child while they’re busy. What are you drawing? What is happening to the ice cube and the colours?

How does it feel?

Children of a young age are still developing their fine motor skills, which is why it is so important for them to do things BIG, before they can do it small. Being active and being outside (by the way, you don’t need toys for this) develops children in more ways than you can imagine.

We live in a beautiful country with great weather and plenty of opportunity to explore and learn, yet we spend our days inside in front of screens. Let’s allow our children to play in the rain and stomp in the mud, a bath will clean them, and a towel will dry them but they won’t know what it feels like by only looking at it through a window. BE OUTSIDE!


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