Yesterday, one of the former students who came to the reunion lunch brought along her 9-year-old-son, Chester. His mum didn’t buy any supplementary workbooks from the Book Fair for him. She didn’t sign him up for any additional summer short courses. When I asked Chester whether he was feeling bored, his answer was a resounding NO. Why was that so?
He has several storybooks from the Book Fair to read. He is writing and creating his own storybooks. He has his Lego blocks to play with. He produces mini videos of his Lego characters in action. He turns to his musical instruments when he is in the right mood. He plays chess with others, and when no one is around to play chess with him, he takes on both opposing sides simultaneously. He experiments with science building blocks bought from the Science Museum. He takes a nap when he feels sleepy. And I’m sure his mum will also organise gatherings for him to play with other kids.
And he snubs mechanical supplementary workbooks, finding them meaningless.
Summer is a good time to let kids express their creativity, to arouse their curiosity in things around them, to allow them to find their own elements (Sir Ken Robinson), to develop their interest in reading, or, to simply let them play. We can put them through 5 additional summer courses, or subject them to 20 supplementary workbooks. But there is a heavy price to pay.