School, Dinosaurs, and the ROM Schooling about Dinosaurs.

Posted: September 7, 2012 - 09:29 , by Kiron Mukherjee

School, Dinosaurs, and the ROM Schooling about Dinosaurs.

School, Dinosaurs, & the ROM Schooling about Dinosaurs. OR The Reason why Kiron Dreaded the First Day of School.

I’m not going to sit here and say I loved the start of school as a kid. In fact, as a young one I dreaded my early September birthday since it didn’t represent the same things a birthday normally means to a kid (e.g. being older and presents) – instead, my birthday served as a reminder that Summer was over and school was starting again.

HOWEVER! Before you start to think I’m hating on school (which isn’t what this post is about), I’m just going to throw it out there that I didn’t hate school! I’ve got so much respect for teachers and schools and all that they provide for students.

Still, I dreaded the first day of school. Why? I’ll get to that…

Though I dreaded the first day of school, I looked forward to the same sorts of things many kids get excited about: hanging out with friends, favourite classroom activities (shoutout to art classes!) and, of course, recess.

Truth is, however, I was SO into learning! I was SO engaged when I first started school! Until I was told each year that we wouldn’t be spending time learning about my favourite thing in the world: Dinosaurs.

Every year I would raise my hand on the first day of class and ask if we were learning about them. And every year my teachers would say no. (Cue visual of a young Kiron with head hung low.)

ROM Dinosaur with blue background

It was tough! School was supposed to be a place where we learned and had fun, right? So, it only seemed logical to learn about what I felt was quite possibly the greatest topic of all time. Looking back, I wish one teacher would’ve thrown me a bone (or fossil) and integrated my (and likely other students’) passion for palaeontology into their programming. We’ve seen a fantastic array of examples for introducing dinosaurs into Science, and my teachers could’ve provided more creative writing, art, and even math opportunities to explore my desire for dinos. Unfortunately, they were never worked into my teachers’ lessons.

So, I depended on my mom to get my dinosaur fix.

My mom did a great job. She would bring me home books from the library she worked at, and she’d let me stay up late to watch dinosaur documentaries on TV (the only times she would let stay up past my bed time – more on that in a future blog post).

Kiron standing on a dinosaur sculpture

Later, she and my aunt took me on an incredible trip to Alberta where I visited Drumheller (the dinosaur hotbed of Canada), the Royal Tyrrell Museum and the Badlands (where I met Phil Currie – another awesome experience for another post). My mom even brought me to palaeontology lectures and talks that were led by the likes of the famous Robert Bakker… ANYTHING to help quench my thirst for dinosaur knowledge.

Growing up, though I had all these great experiences that I look back on fondly, the best place for me to learn about dinosaurs was at the ROM. Every weekend,  I looked forward to our ritual Saturday Morning visits. My imagination ran wild there, where I’d really enjoy pretending to be a palaeontologist.

Where I’m going with this…

I think we can get caught up in thinking that school will teach kids everything they need to know, but while school is incredibly valuable and provides a very important basis of skills and knowledge, we often have to seek out opportunities to explore kids’ interests in other places. Kids have a huge variety of different interests, and sometimes they may not all get explored in the classroom. That’s why I’m so happy I had the ROM growing up, and why I think it’s so valuable for kids.

In the spirit of providing fun and engaging opportunities for kids, the ROM offers special weekends with fun themes and activities. This Fall we’re hosting a Dinosaur Days series – something I would’ve been thrilled to attend as a kid!

During our Dinosaur Days, you’ll have the opportunity to do activities, attend fossil workshops, dig for dinosaurs, go to talks about prehistoric life, meet some of our ROM Palaeo staff, and, most awesome of all, meet some of the world’s top Palaeontologists. (Woo!)

School’s started, and there are so many awesome things to learn there. But we’ve got dinosaurs covered here.

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