1st Edition

School’s Out, Learning’s In: Home-Learning Activities to Keep Children Engaged, Curious, and Thoughtful

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after July 27, 2021
ISBN 9780367772130
July 27, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
200 Pages 86 Color & 33 B/W Illustrations

USD $21.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This book is an accessible guide to helping boost your child’s language, curiosity, and problem-solving abilities outside of the classroom. Packed full of learning activities for children and teaching advice for parents, this book is specifically designed to support parents engaging your children in thought-provoking conversations and problem-solving strategies.

Divided into two parts, the authors first guide readers through "Learning Pit" theory, then present a range of lesson suggestions and useful resources for parents to draw on. This book will give you:

  • Ideas for learning with friends and family
  • Tools to ensure your children make the most of the feedback
  • Resource cards and practical suggestions with each activity
  • Confidence in your ability to impact your child’s learning

The perfect resource for parents supporting learning outside of school, School’s Out, Learning’s In will help you to boost your child’s language, curiosity, and problem-solving abilities.

Table of Contents


Part 1 The Learning Pit

Chapter 1 Using the Learning Pit to Ignite Learning

1.0 The Learning Pit Introduction

1.1 Cognitive Conflict Leads to Longer-Lasting Learning

1.2 Taking the Right Approach to Cognitive Conflict

1.3 Questioning Techniques to Engage Children

1.4 The Language of the Learning Pit

1.5 The Four Stages of the Learning Pit

1.6 Stage 1: Concept

1.7 Stage 2: Conflict

1.8 Stage 3: Construct

1.9 Using the Pit Tools

1.10 Stage 4: Consider

1.11 Final Points About the Learning Pit

Part 2 Lessons to Support Learning through the Pit

Chapter 2 Lessons About Ourselves

Lesson 1 Big question- What is Choice?

Lesson 2 Big question- What is Happiness?

Lesson 3 Big question- What is a Dream?

Lesson 4 Big question- What is Success?

Chapter 3 Lessons About Our Lives

Lesson 5 Big question- What is Cost?

Lesson 6 Big question- What is Risk?

Lesson 7 Big question- What is Time?

Lesson 8 Big question- What is Theft/Stealing?

Chapter 4 Lessons About Our World

Lesson 9 Big question- What is a Hero?

Lesson 10 Big question- What is Language?

Lesson 11 Big question- What is Exploration?

Lesson 12 Big question- What is Conflict?

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Jill Nottingham is Co-founder of Challenging Learning as well as Company Director. She is the principal author of the 200+ lesson resources they have online, as well as the two published lesson plan books. She is also co-author of their books about feedback, dialogue, and early learning.

Carmen Bergmann is Senior Consultant and Regional Manager for Challenging Learning’s work in North and South America. She has dedicated her adult life to improving education. She is especially passionate and involved in creating educational environments that are accessible and effective for all children.

James Nottingham is a leader in transforming up-to-date research into best practice for teaching and learning and Co-founder of Challenging Learning. He has also authored several books on encouraging learning and optimal classroom environments.


"At last! An accessible and invaluable resource for parents and carers. Nottingham and Bergmann guide you through the Learning Challenge principles, providing a great range of activities which will help your young people (and adults!)develop those key critical thinking skills. This book really will transform your conversations at the dinner table! Help your child to get into the Learning Pit and experience those ‘eureka’ moments." - Lorna Pringle, English Teacher, Almouth, England


"An inspiring hands-on easy to use resource for all those parents/ teachers who want to develop children as lifelong learners both socially and academically." - Deb Matley, Teacher, Ulladulla Public School, Australia


"At last – practical resources and lesson plans that will help parents engage in a rich learning experience with their children, whether learning at home or at school! This book shares the very best of how parents can support the learning journey, using the very best teaching and learning activities with choice and challenges built in along the way. This is a gift to all who want the very best for their children.

This book is what all parents need! It unlocks the mystery of what happens in a classroom and generously shares with it with parents in a way that is not only genuinely engaging but also reflective of the very best practice in education.

If I were to gift a book into the hands of parents about the learning of children, this would be it! This book unlocks the mysteries of the learning process by providing parents with activities and routines that are not only are the best ones that teachers use, but also in a way that will build relationship and understanding whether at home or at school.

This book will build the partnership between home and school beautifully. It is full of rich and engaging activities that are perfect for any part of the learning journey.

Parents (and teachers) have been waiting for a book like this for a long time! It generously shares the magic of the learning journey with all so that successful partnerships can be built between home and school. Parents will love dipping in and out of the rich resources - there is much to engage for many years!" - Kate Cunich, Head of Academics and Innovation, Oxley College, NSW, Australia


"Do you want to practice your kids to get out of the comfort zone and allow them to think so that it creaks? (and allow them to think hard!) Do you want to give them the opportunity to doubt and practice listening and being curious about a statement other than their own?

If so, then this parenting edition is a really good book that is both easy and educational for you as a parent. You are supported, through the explanation of what "The Learning Pit" is and get a myriad of methods and ideas for how you can challenge your children's thinking.

The book gives you the opportunity to strengthen your children's imagination and philosophical thoughts when you around the dinner table, for example, talking about what joy is.  For when do you know you are happy? How do you know that other people are happy? Do we all understand joy in the same way - and who decides what joy is?

12 different themes; you choose where you want to start - Being in The Pit strengthens your child's ability to be curious, determined and enduring.

And all children need to practice that. And adults too, for that matter." - Lene Maagoee, District Manager, Glasaxe


"As both an educator and a parent, this book is an incredible resource for connecting parents and educators to encourage children's growth as learners. The resources in the text do not require fancy preparation. Instead, parents are given strategies and simple tools to further engage their children in the world around them and well beyond. Children have natural curiosity and with these concepts, parents can encourage those curiosities to develop children as critical thinkers, hard workers, and persistent thinkers. Most of all, their natural curiosities are encouraged and developed. I am more confident as a parent and an educator after reading and using this text. The organization of the text allows for meaningful engagement that is not staged or artificial. Rather, these concepts work at the dinner table, in the car, during quiet time, and playing outside. 

The Three Little Pigs activities engaged our entire family for a period of several weeks. We read different versions of the tale, compared and contrasted, asked meaningful questions, and imagined our own versions. We have since replicated the activity with Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and Hansel and Gretel." - Molly Allen, Assistant Regional Superintendent, Illinois, USA