We were on our way to visit friends this week when Joseph remembered another friend he wanted to see....immediately! I explained to him that she is at school now, and that its difficult for us to see her during the week.
"I want to go to school" said Joseph.
"Why's that?" I asked.
"Because in school there are teachers and they tell you about things so you learn."
I have to admit I was a bit shocked that despite only ever attending nursery, Joseph has nonetheless absorbed the idea that teachers have knowledge they bestow upon others, and the sense that this knowledge cannot be gained without them. In response I told him that a teacher is just one person and doesn't know everything, and that in his life he has access to many people he can learn from; I listed my friends, his friends, our family, people we see around and other adults and children he knows. I also told him that a classroom is just one place, and that we are learning all day long, from all the different places that we go to. To this he replied,
"Ok. Well can we go to Africa, find a volcano and dig for dinosaur bones?"
Our little chat reminded me of two things; firstly how ingrained in our culture the idea of school and 'teaching' are, and secondly how huge the world inside of Joseph is. We talked about Africa, what we might see if we went there, what we would have to do to get there, why he thought he might find dinosaur bones close to a volcano and if there is anywhere closer to home we might be able to dig for bones! We talked about fossil hunting on the coast nearby and the following day I took him to a park with a big sand pit so that we could play at burying things and digging them up, giving one another clues in order to find where the 'treasure' was buried!
Joseph holds the Universe inside of him, and I aim to allow him to learn in a way that keeps it that way. Children think big if we allow them to and their ideas can be far bigger than classrooms and 50 minute lessons. While we save for our African Adventure (if this turns out to be something Joseph pursues!) I can find a way to bring the parts of Africa Joseph is interested in to him. We have made our own dinosaur bones and skeletons before, we can hunt for fossils, we can make our own exploding volcano, we can turn the back garden into a jungle...his interests and imagination can make all our lives more interesting if we let it!
His world is huge. I think that's how it should be.