As parents and educators, we’re all kind of in a peculiar prickly spot at the moment. The past five months have been unnerving for just about everyone, and now we kind of have to get back to life. This means resuming school in some form or another, and in places that have already gone back, things haven’t been all that wonderful. Some of you reading this will be in the midst of choosing between in-person and online instruction. Others will have already kicked off the new school year, and will be working really hard to hold things together through another round of uncertainty. Nail-biting all around, right?
We wanted to take a moment to congratulate and thank parents, teachers and kids for weathering the storm thus far. This has been a toughie, and you’ve done (and are still doing) your best. We have no doubt that this fall, teachers will be dancing as fast as they can, and that you, the parents, will be doing whatever you can to support them. Libraries and community organizations will pitch in, as will extended family members in your bubble, and others in your community. Never has the “it takes a village” philosophy been as important as it is right now, even as we distance ourselves.
With respect to your child’s education in the near future, whatever you choose, whoever helps out, and however things turn out, please know this:
Your kids will learn this year.
If there’s one thing we’ve found from almost a decade creating materials for little thinkers, it’s that it’s pretty much impossible to stop a kid from learning. They ask questions, they experiment, they create, and they explore. The how, what, and when of learning may be up in the air for a while, but learning itself will still happen. The how, what, and when have never been the most important part of learning, anyway. They why of it has always been at the centre, and kids are spectacularly great at why. Maybe while the how, what and when are in a state of flux, we’ll get more opportunities to focus on why (teeny silver lining).
We wish we could give you an expiration date for all this upheaval, but we can’t. What we can do is reassure you, as a group of people who’ve worked with little thinkers and seen how they power through ideas like wee little juggernauts, that they’ll keep asking questions, and looking for answers, no matter what you do (or don’t do). We can tell you as people who’ve worked with bigger thinkers that when your kids are older, no one will know who learned more math during a lock-down, or who got ahead in their spelling, or who managed to memorize capital cities. All that will matter is that they know how to think, and they can learn that anywhere, anytime, in any set of circumstances.
What we can also do is continue to provide tools for learning to think, and we will. Very soon, we’ll be rolling out a new learning platform, chock-full of free tools and activities. It’ll have videos, interactive pieces, assessment and evaluation tools, lesson plans, printable paper crafts and more. We hope it helps!
Stay tuned, be patient with one another, and be kind to yourselves. Here’s to learning, in whatever form it takes!