Education: interests key to lifelong learning love

Focus on fun: Make learning enjoyable by focusing on what children are interested in and making it an educational experience.
Focus on fun: Make learning enjoyable by focusing on what children are interested in and making it an educational experience.

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Make learning fun.

That’s the advice from experienced early childhood teacher Megan Cameron.

Mrs Cameron is a centre director and the educational leader who provides the plan for how children’s education should be approached.

“The key is to find out what their interests are and to develop those interests into learning,” she said.

“Some kids might be into cars so try and relate learning to cars, it keeps their interest but makes it educational.

“Painting with toy cars, going to a car lot and counting cars or standing in the park and watching cars go past. It’s a way to keep them learning and make it fun.”

However, it is also very important to introduce some structured learning early on in life.

“Seek out early education for your child at least once a week,” Mrs Cameron said.

“It is more focused learning and it’s important children have an aspect of early education.”

When it comes to encouraging and supporting learning Mrs Cameron recommends not putting too much emphasis on it.

“Don’t make too much of a big deal out of it as they need something to look forward to,” she said.

“You need enough encouragement to peak their interests and to keep them following along.

“Too much emphasis on something puts all your cards in one spot and you don’t have enough to keep playing on it.”

The same goes for sports, extracurricular activities and interests. Don’t let them do everything at once.

Rather than enrolling them in soccer, swimming, ballet and music lessons let them pick one at a time.

“If you let them have all their interests they don't have anything to look forward to,” she said.

“Plus if they do everything at once they’ll burn out and won’t have energy to do anything else or to apply themselves to learning.”

Mrs Cameron’s final advice for parents is to relax. Children often come in saying things like “mum and dad say I have to do this” or “I can’t do that.”

“Let them learn the way they’re going to learn and scaffold enough that they don’t run off in the wrong direction,” she said.