• Natalie Fordwor

Reflecting on our First Learning Theme

I didn’t think I would get so attached to our “Birds in Ghana” theme that we explored for 8 weeks. It’s even hilarious admitting it. Before we dive into our next topic, I want to share some of my reflections, thoughts and learning experiences from the past few weeks.

(1) I found it amusing when one child said to me, “You must really love birds.” The funny thing is that prior to us exploring the topic, I hardly paid attention to them. But once I gave myself the responsibility of making the theme fun for the children, everything changed. I started spotting the wide variety we had in our garden, and our neighbour’s garden is like a bird sanctuary (something I hadn’t noticed before). I realised that the regular knocking sound in the morning wasn’t the neighbour hammering at something, but a large bird pecking at the wooden frame. I became more aware of my surroundings, and I think that made me a better teacher of the topic.

(2) I learnt that when you put your mind to it, you can look at one topic a million different ways. As adults, we should always make room for our child-like creativity. Children will show a deep interest when we (as leaders) model that deep interest.

(3)Playful tasks and fun games are a fantastic way to get children to learn complex or seemingly boring things.

(4) Art activities are actually an amazing way to help deepen understanding and promote a deeper level of engagement with the topic. And the children WON’T forget the fun art activity.

(5) I was intrigued when friends and family started sending me photos of birds they had seen, followed by a message, “What bird is this?” To be honest, most of the time, I didn’t know, but with the help of the Bird Guide book and Youtube, we could figure it out. I learnt that just because people begin to see you as an “expert” on a topic, doesn’t mean that you will have all the answers. Research, and tapping into the minds and resources of more knowledgeable (traditional, scientific) people are really powerful methods of learning. I started finding the oddest things interesting, like the detailed pigmentation process of eggs. Lesson is: Learning never ends!📝