Michelle Chan
Lifelong Learners
Without school, kids would be playing nonstop! Yet the same can't be said about learning, especially when there are other forms of entertainment at home. Lifelong Learners is an educational platform for elementary kids that uses playful learning to help kids become active learners outside of the classroom. It's time for kids to explore, play, and LEARN!
Artist/Thesis Statement
Growing up, I was always focused on getting good grades rather than learning for the sake of learning. My identity was largely defined by my efforts as an academic achiever. I didn't love or hate learning in school, yet it was still a large part of my life. We typically think that "learning" starts the moment kids enter the educational school system, but it starts much sooner and can take place anywhere in our everyday lives. Students spend around six or seven hours a day going to school, and for little kids that can feel like a lot. I look at my 7-year-old brother and how he struggles with motivation when it comes to doing his schoolwork or engaging in independent learning. He would much rather play video games or watch YouTube videos. And with the transition to remote learning due to COVID, it is even harder for kids to concentrate and stay engaged with the class.
We know that kids LOVE to play, but how do we get them to love learning? How do we get kids to embrace learning as a part of life rather than something that exists only in the classroom?
I started thinking about the learning process itself and exploring ways to combine learning and play to activate engaging learning experiences for kids. From observing my little brother's zoom classes, engaging in play explorations, to researching about growth mindset and existing education philosophies that break away from traditional schooling methods, I realized that rather than getting children better at a particular subject (which can be tough especially for kids who feel extremely unmotivated or think "I can't..."), my project instead takes advantage of children's love for play to encourage personal learning outside of the classroom. I want to take the act and labor normally associated with learning and transform it into a process that is both fun and insightful. Lifelong Learners functions as a fun educational website for elementary kids that informs parents and individuals about what playful learning is all about while providing play-based activities and resources that allow all children to become the active learners they were meant to be. Kids are free to explore their interests and what they like to do, while engaging in learning along the way (through integrated lessons that continue to incite interest and curiosity). We want children to embrace their curious and wonderful selves, while tapping into their natural potential for learning. The goal of Lifelong Learners is for kids to develop a lifelong love for learning early on, so that they can take it with them as they continue to grow and learn about the world around them.

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