In the month of March, South Africa celebrates Human Rights Day. Among the fundamental human rights, SPARK Schools has chosen to focus on education as a human right.
Quality education aims to develop fully-rounded human beings who can positively contribute to society.
Learning, or more importantly, a love for learning, forms the core for achieving this objective.
Since education and learning does not only take place at schools but is also taught at home, SPARK explores some easy-to-implement tips to nurture a child with an absolute love for learning.
We start with physical care which enables mental strength. Nutritious and regular meals increase a child’s attention span, concentration and memory which is crucial for successful learning. Mayo Clinic discusses and provides daily guidelines for the different amounts of specific nutrients that children require at different ages in order to perform at their best.
Similarly, children and teens also have sleep requirements depending on their age.
A consistent bedtime routine with sufficient sleep promotes optimal health while “sleeping fewer than the recommended hours is associated with attention, behaviour and learning problems,” according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Only when children are physically well can they apply their minds fully to learning.
Children are more successful when parents are involved in their schooling and intellectual development.
Showing interest in the books your child is reading, what subjects they are learning about at school and any new topics that interest them will show them that what they engage with has value.
Enquiring about and being involved in their physical schooling environment is also beneficial and reassures them that support, if needed, is not far away.
This can include asking about what’s going on in class or the latest news at school as well as volunteering, fundraising, or sharing any proactive ideas and/or skills beneficial to the school.
Involvement in and knowledge of your child’s daily environment eases any concerns a parent may have about their child’s wellbeing.
Crucial to developing a love for learning is positive association with schooling and reading. Children take cues from their parents about what is important, so creating a learning culture is necessary and beneficial.
Homework and reading needs to become an integral, enjoyable and habitual part of home life, as this helps scholars practice important study skills, responsibility, work ethic, critical thinking as well as improving memory and brain function.
Once children start to understand that learning is a life-long and empowering exercise it no longer becomes a chore that they need to get over and done.
This is a core focus area for SPARK School, so teacher training and attracting promising new teachers for both educational and emotional development of our scholars are pillars in our strategy to provide quality education in our schools.
SPARK Schools also actively promotes that our scholars own, share and choose their own reading material as research shows there are benefits to each of these.
Owning books creates a sense of responsibility and ownership, with sharing/lending and borrowing of books fostering both kindness and service, two SPARK Schools core values.
Scholars choosing their own books builds self-esteem, improves decision making and increases interest in reading because when children have a choice, they then read for pleasure instead of obligation.
Parents should monitor what their children navigate towards and provide them with more of this, as well as associated themes or topics.
An important skill to teach children from a young age would be organisation skills. The methods used for organising objects and information are then easily transferable to prioritising objects and information.
For a child to understand that anything can be achieved through a little structure and planning eliminates the overwhelming feeling of learning new or a lot of information.
This is a life skill which they will need well into adulthood.
Finally, teach them to have a little fun! There is no need to make the learning process a boring one. Get them all revved up and ready to go by playing games or lively music in the car on the way to school.
Every family has that favourite song which everyone thinks they know the words to… 😊
We would love to hear from you! Share with us your family feel good song or fun car game you play with your kids en route to school in the morning.