Thursday, September 17, 2009

And so it begins.....

The idea for this blog came from the many everyday lessons I learn from those wonderful 2-5 year old minds. I teach parent education, which means that I get to spend the majority of my time with children and their parents. Part of my job includes modeling behavior and helping children to navigate the wonderful world of social interaction and development. More often than not I end the day learning just as much from them as I hope they learned from me.

So, on a regular basis I will be reporting on what I learned. What they learned.


Hopefully, on what ideas/concepts transferred from my parenting classes into the real world of preschoolers.

Today was my second day of classes and I was again reminded of one of the things I love about spending time with preschoolers. They have the special gift of living in the present. Nothing matters, but the here and now and when you are interacting with a child, if you let yourself, you too become fully in the present.

I sat with children as they explored playdough. They squished it, cut shapes with cookie cutters, cut it with scissors, and rolled it into balls. The moment was all about exploring the simplest of things. Did they care that they were stretching their brains, building new connections with each new thing explored? No. They only knew that they were enjoying the moments. No one stopped to show me what they did. No one asked me to "look at this". This wasn't about the product of perfect shapes or super cutting, this was about exploration in its essence. Coming up with a plan and seeing what would happen if.... I felt like a laboratory assistant. I was asked to hold my hand out and catch a dropped playdough ball. I was given shapes and the chance to see what would happen if we pushed into the playdough. We explored with pushing our fingers into it and seeing who made the bigger print. Time flew by and before I knew it I heard the sad sounds of the two minutes until clean up warning. All of the sudden I had new Lab techs. A couple of 2 year olds who had apparently waited and now realized time was running short. They quickly staked out a space and began to create. With what little time they had left they dived in and tried a few things.

When it was time to clean up they reminded me again that they are more capable than I or many others give them credit for. These children wanted to be responsible for their "lab" equipment. Quick instructions - of course enthusiastically given- " Who can put the tools in the big box?" "Looks like the playdough goes in this plastic bag, want to try it?" were taken charge of.

Today's lesson...Take some time each day to live in the moment. Do something just because you want to. Try something new, just to see what might happen and don't worry about what the outcome may be because in the process you will learn more than you ever could from the product. You'll find that in those moments life seems much simpler and when you come back to the issues the answers will be clearer or you'll realize they just don't matter like you thought.

Today's parenting lesson....Let it happen. Just sit back and watch and allow yourself the opportunity to be the "lab assistant" Your children learn so much from exploration they know what they want to do and if you let them they will lead you to spaces and knowledge you didn't know you needed to know.

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