Like all humans, children are prisoners of their own life experiences. If they haven’t had the benefits of broad social experiences and outings, they are bound to be limited in what they have come to understand and be able to do. Like the rest of us, kids are totally framed by what they have experienced in their families or in school.
Actually, NO. That’s NOT SO!
Kids CAN learn quite independently from their social structures. Youngsters CAN learn more, and even better, than their families and schools can teach them IF they have been taught to be comfortable (and capable!) in seeking and gathering answers to their own questions. They shouldn’t be STUCK with the luck of the draw of a school’s curriculum or their teachers’ talents, and struggling to access the small amount of time in their lives that well-meaning adults have to address their curiosities.
Children needn’t be imprisoned by only what schools can afford to offer ALL of them. Rather, each child must be offered, from early on, the support and opportunity they need to learn how to explore and grasp things they find confusing, troubling, fascinating, or novel. Children CAN do that on their own IF they have been taught to be eager and comfortable with selecting just-right books from libraries. There, all kids may seek out and choose books and other reading materials, to fulfill their personal urges to LEARN ABOUT WHATEVER THEY WANT.
Cities and states boast about their systems of formal education, designed to ensure a firm foundation for children’s lives as they continue to grow and develop. The limitations of that orientation, however, are school programs designed for teaching EVERYBODY are not teaching ANYBODY in particular. However, EACH child, unique in multiple ways, needs to become proficient in handling the individual challenges they will undoubtedly encounter in life.
It’s not good enough to be proud of a school’s reading program’s test scores. Those are fine for newspaper headlines, but insufficient for particular children’s individual needs. Whatever kids’ questions, inquiries, discoveries or creations may be, they need to have been taught how to comfortably and confidently strike out on their own, using a variety of resources–books, magazines, websites, etc.– to help them in their search for personal fulfillment, self-initiated inquiry for deeper investigation into things like:
- How do Saturn’s rings stay so perfect?
- What is the use of a dodecahedron?
- When and how will we fully address global warming?
- Where do new species of plants and animals come from?
- Why are there so many languages in the world?
Accomplished readers must learn where and how to find answers to these kinds of questions, extending their education throughout life in every direction and depths.
Children who are not taught to access the joys and power of libraries and their books, the internet and other information sources, or worse, who were but never do so, are pretty much just stuck.