Wednesday, January 18, 2017

“I want you to have this”

Three pieces of plastic glued together now sit on my desk right below my computer screen. They were delivered to me by a very young student after a tentative knock on my office door last week. Small hands showed me how the pieces fit together, had been glued, and taped (quite enthusiastically) to keep it together while the glue was drying. I asked for the story behind how this creation came to be, and what I needed to know about it. Without skipping a beat, the student shared. “I like making things, learning how they fit together, and I wanted you to know that I got it all figured out.”

I have to admit that I love visits like this from students. I draw much from them in terms of affirming why we do what we do here at London Christian Elementary. Here’s what this brief interchange reminded me:

Our students start school with a powerful desire to make sense of the world around them. It is easy for an adult to forget the intensity of discovery and sense-making that takes place in childhood. An ever increasing sense of the physical world of God’s creation is expanding every day in their mind to become wider and deeper in complexity, increasing their wonder and fuelling their curiosity. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have a Christian school where the wonder and connected nature of God’s world is affirmed and celebrated every day.

Learning takes place in a relational context. The sharing of this item with me was proof that one of the most exciting things about learning is sharing the outcome of that learning with someone else. I am thankful for Christian educators that pace along with our students to help them put all the pieces together and praise God while they do so. These relationships have powerful, character shaping impact in the growth of faith and worldview for our students.

Learning is both knowing and doing. We need to work with concepts and ideas frequently, but not to the exclusion of hands-on discovery as part of learning and discovery. Students who have made patterns with tiles and felt the “fit” when it all made sense, or those who have collected compost and watched the effects of decomposition by microorganisms themselves will understand these things in more memorable and meaningful ways. We are grateful for a diversity of learning tools and methods at LCES that we can provide for our students as they explore.

I won’t be throwing out this precious gift anytime soon.  SJ

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