Sunday, February 13, 2011


I never knew there was a name for it. But that's what we've been doing, more or less, for the last 17 years.

Incidental Learning.

And it works.

The children learn incidentally. Almost accidentally! But they sure learn.

My job I've realised, my calling - other than a wife to my darling is Mummy and FACILITATOR.

Did I spell that right - better go and google it ... yes, not bad - but why did I doubt?

And there's a funny thing too, excuse me while I run off on a rabbit trail.

Today we were blessed to meet with some folks from our church in a "small group" setting where people get to talk and share. The group leader asked a question and immediately an answer came to my mind, but I kept quiet because I thought it might be the WRONG answer.

Now that actually is pretty bad, because there was no WRONG answer, but why did I feel that way?

So I sat and had a little think about it, and I KNOW that it's because of the way I was schooled. I was indoctrinated with the idea that there is a right answer and a wrong answer. There needs to be. Otherwise how does the teacher know if you pass the test.

And that's funny - yes, because for the last 15 years or so (our first little guy didn't start speaking till he was 2) I have encouraged the children to "think outside the square" and to discuss all options etc etc ...

So much so in fact that the first time they came across a "multi-choice" quiz they were hard pressed to give an answer because it could have been "a" or "b" depending on how you looked at it.

Great Stuff.

So back to my precious job as a facilitator - I gather, store, keep neat(ish), and bring out lots of equipment and fun stuff as appropriate (as small as a library card, as big as a heavy old hand-cranked Singer sewing machine!).

I watch the children for signs of interest, I discuss, I ask them questions. And it's completely natural when it's and intrinsic and exciting part of our lives.

So I was delighted to find it had a name. Incidental learning. I like that.

And the photo? One day we were reading the account of the Tower of Babel from Genesis. While Mummy was reading the little boys were making a tower of blocks. After we finished reading they started to make a city of blocks which lead to Mummy reciting "Block City" by R L Stevenson.

And then it reminded me of the old City of London so we talked about how the buildings were so squashed in that the upper levels of the houses were almost touching across the street, and the Great Fire, and the plague and "bring out your dead" ... all this had been from MY incidental learning. I don't remember any of it from school.

I had, however, just finished reading a book about William Penn so I had gathered some information from that.

So facilitators need to be available to learn things for themselves at times too, to pass on to others.

It's never boring.

It's hard, but never boring!

Happy Facilitating.

The Mummalady

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