Looking for shelter on a rainy day afternoon, my daughter and I accidentally walked into a train model store in a struggling local mall. It was a tiny store but we were astonished by the displays, amazing historical book collections and every single mechanical train a hobbyist can dream of. The owner, a 70 + years old gentleman, was a mechanical engineer and model train collector for over 65 years. He passionately told us the legend of each classic model and explained the operating principle of steam engines in the most simple language. I saw how a girl’s curiosity about engineering was aroused. It was the best lecture about James Watt , industrial revolution, and energy conversion I’ve ever had!
We had a great time. On our way out, a note on the wall came into sight “ Thank you for your business. We can’t afford the rental anymore and after 30 years of business, our store will be closed this summer.”
Standing there speechlessly, I suddenly realized such a knowledgeable enthusiast and a small toy store in our community could bring so much to the kids’ education. What could I do to help them? The whole mall is going out of business. The world is changing after all.
This episode was printed in my mind. It made me think that’s probably how Steve Jobs was inspired about electronics and engineering from his early exposure in the garage workshop of the neighbor who works at Hewlett-Packard, highly unlikely by his physics teacher in the classroom.
What is true teaching and learning in this fast changing world? Most of the human inspirations were not born in the classroom. Knowledge should not only be imparted by the teachers or defined by the structured curriculums. Everybody has stories, knowledge, enthusiasm, perspective ,and skill to share. To help children get exposure to these real life experiences and different perspectives of world view are important to help them construct their own concepts and inspire their own solutions. These valuable talent resources in our community is a gold mine for supplementary education programs. This is ToddleKiddle’s belief and mortal.
Contact us if you want to share your talent with the kids.