school motivation

Avoid hearing “I don’t like school” from your child

Your child has been a highly motivated learner from the time they were born.  Their capacity for active and independent thought has been limitless as they have embraced every opportunity, learning so much in such a short time.   

But the landscape of learning is about to change   

Their desire for experimentation, for trial and error, personal choice and social engagements is about to be confined within a school classroom.   

Their biological drive for personal, contextual and physically embraced learning will become streamlined into lesson objectives, timetables and a place on the carpet.   

Avoid hearing “I don’t like school” from your child  

As many children disengage from learning following this transition, your child may announce that they are bored or that they do not like school.  As they struggle to understand why their natural instincts for learning are being restricted or reprimanded, they are learning little more than school is not for them.  A feeling you may yourself be familiar with, despite great personal achievements later in life.  

Your child is viewing the world in their own unique and highly personal way 

Unfortunately, within the school classroom, a busy teacher managing a class of 25 may unintentionally bypass your child’s engaged and deep level thinking when it is not what they are expecting.   

When teaching a room full of children the planned lesson for the day, the question posed may seek only one answer, with anything else unlikely to be positively responded to.   

Children receiving their first experiences of the classroom are learning how it feels to be at school 

Their emotional engagement to this process is deeply important.  Adverse stress felt during these first experiences of school-based learning will combine in your child’s mind.  Pressures to conform, to do well or to behave in ways they are not yet developmentally ready for will negatively associate with their feelings towards school.  And their belief that they “Don’t like school”, or that school is somehow not for them is likely to follow. 

School lasts for a long time – avoid your child forming a negative opinion of learning that will only intensify 

Be aware of what you, and other influential characters are saying to them, on the lead up and during these early days.  Avoid telling them that they will be great, and that it will all be so exciting – if this is not how it feels, they will wonder where they have gone wrong.  Instead, show faith in the effort they are making and show interest in all that they have to say. 

Recognise their deeper levels of thinking when they voice an opinion or share a thought – and if these don’t come naturally, ask for them.  Avoid immediately correcting them if they say something unexpected.  Instead, explore it as you try to understand where this thinking has come from.  As you do so, you are showing them that their ideas are valid and worthy of development.  

And take care to continue nurturing their natural forms of learning; find time for their personal interests, give them authentic experiences of learning in the real world.  And every opportunity you can to be physical. 

This article is taken from our course: The Learning Child

Dr Kathryn Peckham is an Early Childhood Consultant, author and researcher and the founder of Nurturing Childhoods.  Providing all the knowledge, understanding and support you need to nurture your growing child.


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