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Learning Connections

The longer I've worked with young children, the more I've come to understand that there is very little we can "teach" people. We can provide examples, we can offer guidance, we can nurture, protect, and provide, but we really can't teach anything, not in the sense dictated by science. We are designed to learn through connection, not information. It is the connections we make and our experience with those connections that teach us almost everything worth knowing. It is wisdom we see as a child strives, from their first breath, to connect, through play, with everything. We see it in the breathtaking way they learn technically complex things like how to walk, talk and understand their world without being taught how to do it.

Nature connects communicates, it does not instruct. Connection is how we learn about what it is, what it does, what it can give us, and what it requires from us. This is what teaching anything as a subject cannot do. We may be capable of learning through instruction, data, or information, but none of it will ever make any sense unless we start and end with connecting with the real world.

Children are born seemingly knowing nothing and yet they know everything about what the rest of us have forgotten. They know how to connect. That is why they snuggle into our laps and hug us with abandon. It is why they roll in the grass and touch everything they can get their hands on. It is why they delight in the simplest things like their own shadow or the wind in their hair. This is education. This is wisdom. How do we acquire wisdom, as adults? We learn it from children.

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