I think it has become top of the charts for our daughter! We catch her engaging in play (like walking a dolly around the house) while sweetly singing the alphabet to herself. It is a rather blissful moment (I'm not too sure what is bliss though; her enjoying the alphabet or that she is playing by herself !).
The alphabet song has quite a peaceful tune to it… something which has dawned on me slowly over time. Maybe because I have put the song into lovely situations (singing it while waiting for fish to bite our hooks, digging holes for tomato seeds, swinging on the swing at the beach playground) instead of that sombre attempt at singing the alphabet in the cold, dark, boring classroom years ago.
I have also used it to my advantage. I have sung the lullaby tunes of the alphabet song, in an attempt to ease the screams of my daughter as she is forced to endure dreadful events - like being strapped in her car seat.
Through these times I have realised the alphabet tune is exactly the same as Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and Baa, Baa, Black Sheep. It makes a good melody! And quickly turns the atmosphere in the car around.
'I Spy' has been another great car seat boredom buster. It's probably the game which has really made our daughter love the challenge of learning. And it has become a challenge, a fun one, not a task. It started with spying the names of objects, now it has progressed to 'I spy something beginning with the sound mmmmm…'
This enjoyable type of learning (for the two of us) is just part of life and is actually effective. We caught her while searching for toilet paper at the shops whispering "t-t-t-toilet paper. T for toilet paper".
And today my daughter walked up to the computer, stared, pressed the 'B' key, said "B, we parked on that level yesterday," and walked off… back into her big world of discovering.
I do think I have a responsibility to teach my daughter instead of waiting for the school too do it in a few years' time. But more importantly than teaching her facts and skills, I think I have a responsibility to help her to discover that learning can actually be an enjoyable part of life.
It most definitely is. And it does encourage both of us to spend more time together.
Sure, maybe it's a bit of effort. And problems arise. My daughter is two numbers off knowing our phone number and wants to share this new knowledge with everyone, absolutely everyone. But it's worth it.
Daniel Stott is a primary school teacher on the Gold Coast and Bible College trained.
Daniel Stott's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/daniel-stott.html