Updated: Feb 4
So what are these ideas that I want to bring out from the shadows?
The goal of our space and community at Renaissance Studios is to provide a place for both moms and kids to hang out and develop the sorts of interests that could grow into fully fledged passions. Some lucky moms and kids might already have passions they can pursue here.
I do psychology journalism in my working life and I've been poking around the psych research to figure out how we develop passions as children and as adults.
Let's start with kids. How do kids develop passions? For an activity to become a passion for a child:
1. The activity must be undertaken autonomously. The child must not be forced to do it and must be allowed to engage with it however and to whatever degree s/he sees fit. In an environment that is explicitly set up to encourage the development of passion, a child should be allowed to say "I hate reading and will not read that book" and no one should lift an eyebrow.
2. The activity must be undertaken in a supportive environment. The role of adults is to warmly encourage exploration *by following the child's lead* not by pushing them in any particular direction.
3. There should be no external reward for engaging in the activity. If we give kids candy and gold stars and As for performing an activity, it kills internal motivation to engage in the activity. Internal motivation--doing something just because you want to do it- is key to developing a passion.
4. The child's interest in the activity must be triggered and re-triggered many times over a long period of time.
I'll go into my ideas for how to achieve this at Renaissance Studios in my next post.