What does it mean to learn?
Learn ~ Verb
- to gain knowledge or understanding of or skill in by study, instruction or experience
- to come to be able
- to come to realize
What does it feel like though, true learning? What should it feel like? Like schools filled with predetermined curriculum? A place where walls rise up around you swallowing even the slightest spark of creative or critical thought? Where your every move is scrutinized and checkboxed? I mean, you learn things there for certain, of what value though?
Certainly not how to walk gently among the ocean creatures at low tide, steadying your very heart to be a silent observer or what the voice of the Great Blue Heron sounds like. You won’t find out how to solve conflicts with dignity, to communicate with openness, to hold space for a friend. There is no worksheet with a flow chart that teaches you how to properly assess risks and adjust accordingly when you’ve failed.
Learning is simple. It’s living. It’s the opportunity to nurture the potential you were born with. Learning is about the process, never the outcome.
It’s the interactions. The intricacies of humanity.
When someone asks me what evidence there is of learning in my students, I just shake my head. The evidence IS the child. It’s amazing who a person will become when you simply create space to let them be who they are.
Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, whose work inspired an international movement and wake up call tells us;
“Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart. If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.”Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods
For a quick and informative read on why this is both an opportunity for and responsibility of parents and educators, click here.