Family Learning Days - an innovative way of building a learning society

Tool type(s): 
Other (please describe)
Annual National Campaign for Family Learning
Examples of Good Practice: 
Learning Region Strategies
Target Sector(s): 

Family Learning Day

The UK Campaign for Learning runs its Family Learning Day in the September of each year. It is intended to be an opportunity for families and their friends to get together and have fun learning something new. The learning may be new to the whole family or may be a chance for one family member to share skills or knowledge with the rest of the family.

The Campaign believes that lifelong learning will be essential for survival in the twenty-first century. In the past an adult may have expected to learn the majority of skills and knowledge required to earn a living in the early years of life. In the future that early learning will only be the foundation stone for a lifetime of learning.

A family life that embraces learning can help to confirm the habit of continuous learning from early life. Adults can no longer assume that they are familiar with everything being taught in school. By learning with their children, they not only support the children's learning but also discover new things themselves.

All the institutions in a city are brought into the fun.

• Libraries are encouraged to invite authors to discuss writing about family relationships and run a competition for children to write family stories, or provide family history tracing packs and show how to produce a family history scrap book
• Museums and galleries promote family visits through local schools or organize a 'paint a family portrait' competition
• Zoos and Aquariums work with local newspapesr to produce a feature on animals in the community
• Residential homes are asked to encourage residents to provide a picture of family life 30 years ago, or organize a teach-in for older people given by youngsters, or - preserve memories of family life through audio and videotapes
• Universities are invited to organize a family fun day or give a discount on fees for more than one family member
• Youth Clubs are suggested to make displays on members family history, or use the internet to teach older people or even organise a learning day for a family
• Schools organize an after-school family activity, or run a weekend family learning activity or organize a family competition or launch a family literacy project

The creativity shown in many parts of the country each year in September is high. Kent TEC for example developed travelling roadshows on learning. In fact, the Campaign for Learning identified 29 organizations interested in family learning in England and Wales alone. These include the nicely named University of the First Age, which runs learning experiences for parents, older students and members of the community to support young people aged 11-16 as they learn.

Family Learning days and weeks are now run in several European countries