“I came up with the initiative myself. I asked Peter if he wants to come to kindergarten and talk to children about the universe, which he loves very much. Without hesitation he said ‘YES!’ I saw that he likes this idea. It has been decided,” said Petra Banášová, mother of an eight-year-old boy named Peter. Peter realized a discussion about the universe for children in kindergarten. Interview with Mrs. Banášová in which sometimes Peter, the student of the Lutheran elementary school, entries brings to you topics about the universe, the needle, a child’s motivation, and books hidden under the pillow.
The fact that one child teaches other children may be considered inevitable. Especially if this child has the courage to lead a discussion and give enough time for various issues brought up by the students. Don’t be overtaken by the story. Rather let’s try to see how Peter’s discussion ran with the kindergartners. Peter’s mom Petra Banášová begins:
Peter introduced himself at the beginning and told something about his school. He prepared a DVD with some images grab the kids’ attention and then he presented twelve paragraphs about the universe. For each of these topics he had prepared images from books and downloaded videos about the universe. At the end of this discussion the children could look through the books that Peter took with him. The children asked him questions and he answered…
Sounds great. The professionally trained know to have these exact elements – a little bit of text, some video, experience, questions for and from the students and the correct answers. However, the 12 points about the universe seems to be enough …
Yes it is, but Peter wants to tell how the universe was created. He talked about the sun and solar system, he described all the planets and their moons. It entertained the children, so he also spoke about dwarf planets, asteroids, meteorites, comets and meteors. In his lecture he also mentioned the stars in the universe, which are similar to the sun and solar system, statistics about the solar system, and black holes, too.
What was most interesting for the small audience? Did the children respond to the lecture with something funny or interesting, too?
Children ages 2 to 6 were listening to Peter. I think they like everything because they knew all the answers to Peter´s final question. It was really funny when children two or three years old were shown one of the planets and called them “little balls” .
Is Peter´s interest about the universe a long-term space hobby? When did he start becoming interested in the universe?
Peter became interested about the universe on his “nameday”, when he received an encyclopedia, in which he saw topic “the universe” …. and so it was. Since then we only are buying books about the universe, encyclopedias and globes of all possible sizes. In the meantime he’s added other topics which interested him – prehistory, maps and the Bible. Peter now sleeps with books (laughs).
I think he does it well. Indeed, once the books are put under the pillow and when we wake up in the morning, we were smarter . But let’s return back to Peter´s discussion. How did he train for the discussion?
Peter´s preparation for the discussion was very interesting and sometimes amusingly turbulent. Peter knows exactly what he wants to say and how he wants to say it. He does not like my involvement. He was prepared for the discussion about one week ahead of time. The program lasted four days, always immediately after school. He dictated me everything and I wrote; I has to pursue of course, because his thoughts were faster than my hand.
[Peter is also involved in our conversation.] Ok, so tell us what do you like most of all in the universe?
Peter: I wonder what is behind it – what is behind the sky, what is behind the planet Earth, behind the solar system. I would like to know where the universe ends, how and why everything works in the universe. I’m especially interested in the whole solar system.
Sure, but knowing the whole solar system seems to be as difficult as getting the attention of so many little children from kindergarten. What was the hardest part for you about teaching children from kindergarten? And what did you like most?
Peter: Telling them about the universe in easy terms was the most hard for me. I wanted to tell them everything clearly. I liked when they heard me and they knew the answer on my questions. What I really liked the most was that they liked it (laughs).
How did you, Mrs. Banášová, encourage your son to have the courage to stand up before many children and teach them? Was Peter always so direct, or you have to keep he by yours education?
It’s difficult for me to answer that question. Peter is very shy and quiet around other people. He has a problem with communicating spontaneously. In the topic of “universe” is he at home and he is sure by himself. He knows that he knows it therefore he took courage to go and talk to others. About two days before the discussion, he talked to me about his fear that the children will not have fun. I assured him that it will be perfect because prepared well. There was a small needle, but he mastered it brilliantly. I myself was wondering how he tackle with it.
It means that it’s important for the child to be well prepared and assured that he can handle it. How was it just before the great “B”?
I have neddle just before the discussion, not Peter. He was really excited and looking at a clock when will kids come. He literally jumped around the table (laughs).
There are definitely a lot of parents in our neighborhood who are aware of the talents of their children and want them encouraged in their gifts? How can the parents do that? Can you help them?
My advice is that they must believe in their children and give them space to grow. It’s important to listen to them if they want to say to something about a topic. For sure it is good investing in the education of our children. In our family, books are the only gifts Peter really wishes for, and he still thinks that he has only a few books. We live modestly and often the books which Peter desires are too expensive for us. However, any book he receives, he appreciates. I’m trying to promote that kind of thought in him as much as possible.
Peter is 3th grader at Lutheran Elementary school (LES) in Martin now. Are you satisfied with this school?
LES has an interest in its students. It teaches children to love in God and develops them in all directions. The method of teaching, and teacher access is on high level. My son has been coming here for three years and I’m still convinced that this was the only and correct decision.
What do you wish for the school in its future?
I wish for a lot of students, who are hungry for education, caring teachers, wise administrative decisions and God’s blessing. The Lutheran Elementary School personally helped us very much. The foundation of Christian education financially assisted to handle payment for his third year at the school. Peter has the opportunity visit a school cohort free too. A big “thank you” is still too little.