The Supermarket Study: Education in the Real World

We tend to think of school as the main source of our children’s education.

However, for many children, formal classroom time only takes up around 20 per cent of their lives!

And while it’s the role of teachers to take charge of your children’s education, there’s so much you can do to encourage learning and important cognitive developments outside of school.

And the supermarket — surprisingly — is a great place to start.

We have frequently discussed on the blog the importance of conversation and interaction between parents and children.

It not only fosters positive family time, but also enables kids to learn, play and engage much more effectively.

So The Supermarket Study capitalises on this idea.

The study involved the placement of signage on regular supermarket items, which would encourage a dialogue between adults and children.

Questions like ‘where does milk come from?’, and ‘what else comes from a cow?’ were visible in the areas around the products.

And the results of signs like these saw a one-third increase in conversations between parents and children under eight.

While this study was conducted with formal facilitators (the signs), and with disadvantaged communities in mind, it’s certainly a principle that can be adopted universally.

It’s about creating opportunities for children to learn outside of the school setting and in the real world.

This can be done anywhere — in the car, at the shops, waiting in line at the bank…

It’s a great way to turn the more mundane daily activities into an opportunity for learning.

And by changing the dynamic of your daily duties with the kids, you can replace boredom with interaction, and distraction with engagement.

This means less complaining from the kids, and more efficiency for you!

So try asking questions next time you’re running errands with your kids — you’ll be surprised by how much both of you may come to enjoy it.

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