Early experiences vital for children

This parenting gig is a tough one. There are plenty of books advising us on the right way and the wrong way to raise our children but ultimately (for me at least) it’s a work in progress.

One area I feel we could have done better in the early years was engendering a love of reading in our boys. Sure we read to them but neither have developed a real passion for reading.

I saved all of my childhood books for them, hoping they too would escape into a world of Famous Five adventures, but it is not to be. I read one of the Famous Five to my boys, who listened under duress. When I suggested a second they declined.

Boring, they declared. I was mortified – the Famous Five were like the brothers and sisters I never had. I loved escaping to their world.

The difference these days is that my sons are bombarded with computer games, electronic gadgets, explosions and books full of fart and bum jokes. Reading about the Famous Five is, for them, akin to being asked to spend the weekend with an elderly relative. They’d just rather not.

As we continue on this parenting journey I’ve had to accept that it doesn’t matter what the boys read as long as they’re reading. So Pokemon cards it is.

We’ve been blessed with the advice and help of some wonderful educators who have shown me it’s all about engaging the boys and working to their interests and their strengths.

But more so it’s about giving the boys our time and attention and connecting with them and the things that interest them.

Using everyday experiences as real-life lessons is far more powerful than boring rote learning of a maths equation.

This ‘think outside the square’ approach to education is at the heart of the trial of 130 Independent Public Schools in QLD. One of those in the trial is a local school, Kalbar State School.

I spoke with the Principal Chris Muir this week about what independent status means for him and about the Early Years Conference his school hosted.

Listen to my ABC612 story