As soon as we have a new child in our home, we get peppered all the time with the questions about how we will encourage our young children’s brain development.
What school are your kids going to when they are older
What sports and actives are you going to have them do?
What instruments will you have them play
We know that 90% of a child’s brain is developed before the age of five and that this time is critical to defining their life possibilities. So the question then becomes, how do we best do this? How will we help them grow and learn and ready them with the key skills for life? (For the sake of this blog, let’s just assume that mommy has the luxury of choosing if she will or will not work. I know this isn’t true for all, and many families must make choices that are less-than-their ideal.)
How will we help our kids grow and learn and ready them with the key skills for life?
Often, early preschool involves parents putting a child in school as early as two years old, banking on the teachers at the school being able to put together a strong program which will lay down all the critical pathways in a young child’s brain: fine motor skills, gross motor skills, social development, emotional development, arts, music, sports, and preparation for reading, writing, and math.
Possible Upside: Someone else (the preschool / teacher) is paid to think through the critical development of the child, and parents get to do all the fun parts of development without worrying so much about “education” and “socialization”.
Possible Downside: Parents sometimes find themselves questioning if the child is getting enough of all the critical elements. Are the teachers able to provide enough care and nurture and support and personal contextualizing for every child in the classroom? Is it the best option for the child to be in school so early (ages 1 – 5), or do they need the care and guidance of their parent while still so young?
Homeschooling means a huge commitment from the parents (usually mom) and often homeschooling moms who choose this option work hard to find curriculums and establishing daily “homeschool” routines even when their children are as young as two years old. They usually set up a dedicated space in their house as “school” and spend money on getting it fully equipped with craft supplies, writing books, reading books, puzzles, instruments, etc.
Possible Upside: Most likely the family will spend less money overall than if they were to put their child in preschool. The child also gets a huge amount of individual attention which is tailored specifically to his/her needs and preferences.
Possible Downside: Parents may feel like it’s all on them and/or that they are stuck at home for many hours a day without other kids and people around. They often get questioned by other people about if the child is getting enough socialization and stimulation.
The unschooling ideas have received a lot of media attention lately and the big concept is that children follow their interests and what they are excited about and the parents watch and lend support to their “learner-chosen” activities, using their interests as a springboard for other learning.
Possible Upside: There is no real planning and prep for the parents or even money spent, just a really good understanding of their children and what they seem interested in (and then use creativity in how to encourage learning as the child explores and learn interests).
Possible Downside: Children’s interests may not lead them to achieving the usual key learning goals such as colors, shapes, writing, gross motor skills, etc., meaning that the family may risk not laying all the child’s foundations for schooling in the future (which may or may not matter to the parents).
Although adventuring can be enjoyed whenever wherever, and can hugely complement any of the above schooling options, the reason why we put this alongside the “options” of schooling is because for many families, it is becoming a daily lifestyle / educational choice with small children, taking the place of other schooling options. For other families, adventuring greatly supports and enhances their other early childhood education choices.
Because there are twelve diverse categories of adventures to enjoy through Adventure Clubs, the children have many options that include all the categories a child would enjoy in school including education, socialization and stimulation, fine and gross motor skill development, music, dance, art, culture, sports and fitness and more (somewhat like the preschooling option).
Adventuring means that children are exposed to a wide array of things to discover each day, guided by their parent’s choices of which adventures to enjoy together with individual attention (somewhat like the homeschooling option).
Then as they discover things their children particularly like, they then enjoy those same adventures over and over (somewhat like the unschooling option).
Possible Upside: Adventures can happen anywhere anytime and pretty much anything could be an adventure (provided its safe and age-appropriate). Parents can choose to enjoy adventures in the morning, afternoon, evening, weekend or whenever it suits them. If there aren’t any then, they can create an adventure on the app and invite others to it. Parents may choose free and affordable adventures or only the premium, more exclusive ones, or a mix of free ones and ones they pay for. Best of all, adventuring gives children one of the best gifts a child could ever receive – their parents present and involved in their young lives.
Possible Downside: To adventure, parents / guardians must be present to enjoy the adventure with them. There is no teacher to take all the kids. The parents ARE the teachers in this adventuring school of life. So parents who choose adventuring as their primary early childhood education option need to be available to adventure often with their kids. Not all parents have this ability, time or interest.