Learning by heART 2

If you’ve read my first ‘Learning by Heart’ post you will have seen some examples of my children’s artwork. Both projects were done with some adult ‘scaffolding’. The modroc models were inspired by a lovely friend of ours, who made the most amazing volcanic landscapes with her children. The prehistoric pop art prints were carried out in a group learning session.

My kids loved the experience of new materials and techniques that I introduced to them. They were also really proud of the outcome. They had spent a lot of time on their models and it was great fun. It was really valuable learning.

However, both my kids do all kinds of creative things on their own, under the steam of their own motivations and this provides equally valuable learning opportunities, actually I’m going to go further and say better learning opportunities.

If I were to show you my son’s creations this week, I wonder how impressed you would be?

Here’s one of them. It’s a kind of outdoor oven, made from a cake box (see the smudge of cake icing!). He wanted to find out if he could melt a piece of chocolate using heat from the sun. He is waiting for a hot day to try it out, but typically the sun went into hiding this week.


No adult interfered with the process at any point. From the idea to the execution, it was all T’s work (ok maybe Curious George helped inspire the idea). Many of us have this strange notion that ‘real’ learning can only be achieved if an adult is involved in the process. We are also really stuck on this idea that learning is all about the polished final outcome, whereas actually the process itself is where all the real learning takes place.

What looks like junk to anyone else, is seen as an opportunity by my son. If a package comes through our door, you would likely hear him say ‘Ooooo, I wonder what I could make with that?’ whilst holding the empty box or envelope aloft.

Most of it may look at first glance like the type of thing an adult might fob off with a cursory, ‘O’h that’s lovely dear’, and then quietly relegate it to the recycling bin. Whereas this is the real deal in my opinion, the activities we should be encouraging, giving time to, helping with (only when asked!) and finding ways to extend.

So that is why his solar oven will take pride of place, right next to his aardvark habitat.

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