What makes us whole? What makes us shine? We are happiest when we are engaging in something that lights our fire. We are most alive when we have the possibility to follow a thread that ignites our curiosity. For me in this current moment, it is education. I am fascinated by how we learn, what we learn, and why we learn it. I am deeply intrigued by how we are affected by our environment. The truth is that I have the memory of a goldfish. Not as many concepts stay in my brain as I would like but I am always hungry for a good old ear-chewing education chin-wag!
Elizabeth Gilbert talks about following our curiosity. Following our passions is perfect, and everyone should do that. In some cases, people don’t know what they are passionate about. In my experience, I found my real passion a few years ago. It took me years of following my nose to find it. I believe that it was curiosity that led me to the prize at the end of the maze.
There is an amazing educational pedagogy called Reggio Emilia. The Reggio Emilia approach is an education philosophy described as student-centered and constructivist that uses self-directed, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments. It’s a mouth full but look at the keywords. Student-centered, constructivist, self-directed, experiential learning, relationship-driven environments. It’s based on curiosity. This education style replicates the environment created by a new mother for her child.
Babies give us the best example of how a learning environment should be replicated. Babies are purely curiosity-driven and are phenomenal learners. It is mind-blowing the amount of learning that goes on in those first few years of life. Half the stuff that they learn isn’t even taught to them, they teach themselves!! How do you teach a baby a language? You can’t explain it to them…
Nathan Wallis talks about the importance of the role of the primary caregiver in the child’s first 1000 days of life. Love, smiles, eye contact and a lot of words are some of the things that he talks about. It’s no coincidence that in the Emilia Reggio approach the relationship-driven environment is a key factor. We are social creatures. Yes, when we come into the world, we are equipped with amazing learning capabilities, but we all learn in social environments. The relational aspect of learning is essential.
Why is a baby’s environment so perfect for learning? They have all of their physical, mental and emotional health needs met. Physical – drinking breast milk means that a baby has all the nutrients and good stuff for the body to function perfectly. Mental – the learning machine came fully charged and ready to go so our genes have given us the best possible start straight out of the blocks. There also isn’t a lot of white noise going on. The baby is concentrating on learning and that is it. Emotional – Babies don’t have to worry about what clothes to wear, what selfie they should post on facebook, or how to get from A to B, so they are very emotionally stable. Unless they are hangry, or have filled their nappies. So, babies are holistically healthy. Their bodies are in top shape and they live within a relationship-driven environment.
To bring this small rant to a close. We come into the world curious. We learn in a social environment that involves close human connection. If you combine curiosity, human connection, and the right environment, you’ve hit the jackpot baby!!!!