Summer is the one time in the year when a child is free from the timetable of a school, free from expectations to study, and free to do whatever they want. Summer is also the time when children have the time and space to play, have new experiences, face new challenges and ultimately learn about themselves and grow to be independent.
Is this expectation-free space important for a child? Absolutely. Especially in today’s world, it is crucial. The media dependence seen in children today is unbelievable and deeply problematic because a child who is brought up on a media diet is a child who does not know themselves and can’t solve their own problems. Dependency on others and an inability to make informed decisions spell doom for a child because adulthood consists of complex personal and professional situations that require self-awareness and maturity to solve.
- A child in today’s super-fast world needs learning experiences that make them independent, self-sufficient, self-aware, goal-directed and confident. These are the skills that make an adult successful.
- It is more important to help a child learn how to learn rather than teaching them anything specific. Today’s children will be unstoppable if they know what they are interested in and know how to learn about it.
- It is thus important to provide experiences to children that make them curious, motivate them to explore and derive joy out of learning something new.
Take the opportunity this summer to provide your child an experience that helps them learn more about themselves and the world. Here are a few things you should look for in what you choose:
- New is Challenging: Summer is the time when your child will be open to new experiences. While it is always a choice to make them do something they are already good at, we suggest you go for something new. Navigating through a new experience is a challenge that encourages your child to question, explore and tinker, and these are the building blocks of innovation. Children get to test themselves at new things and understand their own interests, strengths and weaknesses better.
- Foundations over Final Result: Independent learning cannot take place unless a child truly understands the fundamentals. Teaching a child a programming language like C is of no use unless the child understands why programming is required, and what the basic logic behind any program is. Teaching a child how to paint is of no use unless they understand why certain colors or forms are used in art. Similarly, teaching a child how to make a film is of no use unless they understand what makes a good story, and why certain camera shots and movements are used.
- Can it be applied? Children are much more motivated to use what they learned if they understand why they learned it. If you’re choosing a summer camp, your biggest friends are the words why and how. Robotics camp? Ask the camp director why they think robotics is important. Ask them how the child can apply what they learned later in their lives. Painting camp? Ask, why is painting important for my child? How will this help my child later? If you’re not convinced with the answers, don’t take the camp.
- A Sense of Success: Once the child understands the fundamentals, success is the best way to encourage them to independently pursue their area of interest. An experience that provides them the opportunity to accomplish something – be it building their own robot and successfully programming it, writing their own short story, or making their own animation and presenting it. Once children learn that they can do the basics, they will want to taste the success again and again. Making something of their own also provides opportunities to children to hone their time management skills, leadership skills and decision-making skills.
A summer filled with experiences like this will help your child look at the world with more maturity, and you can be sure that this will reflect in the way with which they approach the upcoming school year.