Here’s a question as old as time: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” A question usually asked by a parent to their child. Not to map out a specific destination, but as a wonder of all possibilities – the chance to discover their child’s passions, and start carving their path.
When I was two – true story – I wanted to be a lamp post. By four years old, I knew I wanted to be a dancer- because my parents always stopped to watch me dance. Then, later, the answer became less about imagination than an academic possibility and specific interests – along with the realization that ‘rocket scientist headed to Mars’ would take more years of schooling than I had counted on. I began to ask myself why that is. What was the shift during my life that caused me to decide that being a dancer wasn’t enough?
The truth is, throughout our lifetime, we’re unknowingly being persuaded by societal norms and expectations. Somewhere along the way, I learned to think more critically, in a way that coincided with the norms and resources that I had access to. E-learning is one way to fix that. It’s a way to bridge this gap of thinking and give us access to a world of new ideas, and resources. With this type of access, children all over the world are finally given the opportunity to be as educated as possible on not only the things they’re used to because of where they’ve been brought up but on a vast universe of subjects they could’ve never imagined before. How could you know that you’re destined to be a successful video game programmer if you’ve never gotten the opportunity to try?
The truth is when we ask them “what do you want to be?” question, we aren’t focussed on any definitive response, it’s not the point. Hearing just about any response to this question means that your child has the creativity to even imagine their possible destiny. That they can see a future where they have grown and evolved. We want to teach them that if they reach toward Mars, they just might get there.
A child’s imagination can be fairly limited when their experience is narrowed down to one hometown, or even one household. E-learning gives children the opportunity to learn about ideas and new ways of thinking, that without the opportunity to connect with people from all around the world on one platform, they may never have gotten the chance to discover. After all, In order to change the world, you must first grasp an understanding of things beyond your normal. How can you develop a passion for something you’ve never had the opportunity to try? The online atmosphere helps break the gap. On one platform, you’re given the opportunity to learn everything about anything! Although I am obviously a very big fan of e-learning, it most definitely is not the only option out there for parents looking to expand the horizons of their children’s creativity. For example, Montessori-style education is a holistic, experiential approach to learning. This is great for parents looking for a non-conforming education style. This approach is child-centered, based on scientific research of child behavior, in order to best cater to their needs and abilities. There are countless more non-traditional styles of education just like this, each designed with different aspects of a child’s learning in mind.
A big part of the parenting journey, especially in our children’s younger years, is teaching them to exercise their creativity. Whether it’s visual arts, dance, music, or even magic. Non-traditional learning platforms open up the doors so they can experiment and try things out. It’s a world of possibilities. Our job is to keep this creative muscle inside them as strong and fulfilled as possible, in hopes that they will use it throughout all of the important moments in their life. After all the goal is not only for them to be successful in whatever their future maybe, but for them to find joy and imagination in the little things, and never let go of that spark.
The importance of imagination isn’t limited to children. Without expanding your imagination throughout not only your childhood but your adult life as well, you could miss incredible ideas that you couldn’t bring to life if it weren’t for your imagination and exploration of new schools of thought. Creativity is one of, if not the most important human resource. After all, Elon Musk couldn’t have invented the Tesla if it weren’t for his brilliant and nurtured imagination.
In his well known Ted Talk, Sir Ken Robinson expresses his views on the traditional schooling system in regards to child creativity.
He explains the idea that the world has so strongly stigmatized mistakes, that we are educating children out of creativity. If you are not prepared to be wrong, you are not prepared to be original. In many cases, children who were destined to thrive in anything that is not found in the hierarchy of subjects within traditional schooling, aren’t given the opportunity to pursue these talents and abilities. He tells the listeners a story of Gillian Lynne. As a child, she couldn’t sit still, continuously fidgeting and distracting others during class. Assuming there was something wrong, her parents brought her to a specialist. The doctor played music and told her parents to watch. The little girl began to dance. He explained that just because she wasn’t excelling in subjects taught in traditional forms of schooling, doesn’t mean there is something wrong with her. If they hadn’t made this discovery, this little girl would have spent her whole life being told to sit still and calm down, when now, she has gotten the opportunity to study at the royal ballet school and become an incredibly successful choreographer.
He makes the argument that we should change this traditional model of education, which is based entirely on conformity. We should instead base education on a more organic process, giving children the opportunity to explore their options and follow their passions organically, even when they’re passions are not scholastic based. E-learning helps to cater to this education style. Through these non-traditional learning platforms, children are given the opportunity to learn about all subjects imaginable, widening their reach and giving them the opportunity to discover their talents and passions in an accepting and nurturing environment.
The world is seeing a shift in the virtual education of kids. Much of it’s because COVID-19 has reportedly seen more than 1.2 billion children taken from classrooms. But it extends to beyond regular schooling – or even helping out after they are able to return to class – and includes extracurricular learning. (By the way, some research has suggested e-learning can increase learning retention rates by more than 25 percent). The pandemic has not only removed countless children from traditional education. It has also impacted their ability to participate in summer camps and extracurriculars as well. This takes away from so many important and impactful stages in a child’s life. A great way to supplement these experiences is to use internet resources as a way to learn and connect. There are countless platforms to help make this transition as beneficial and fun as possible. Some of the many resources being ConfettiHeads, MasterClass, Homeschooling groups, and many more incredible platforms at your fingertip.
With the current pandemic, providing them with a nurturing group environment has gotten more difficult. Enrolling your children in a fun and interactive online course can keep their minds expanding, even while staying home. Every parent wants to do the best for their kids, in many cases, the lines can get blurry as to what “the best” really is. One thing is universal, exercising this creativity can be a step closer to them helping children find who they are as a person, and what will make them happiest in their life. It’s Imagining tomorrow.
We can debate many things- including whether I should have studied harder to get to Mars- but one thing is as certain as parents asking that question. Even if COVID-19 were to be eliminated today, e-learning, especially for children, has now become an important and recognized way of expanding their possibilities.