Sometimes- being present means giving up what you intended to do.
Sometimes- going for a walk means not walking at all.
Sometimes- parents and teachers alike try to do something awesome for our children, (or even something simple like going for a walk), and it does not turn out the way you hoped or planned. I’ve heard many people complain about the way this makes them feel; essentially they feel like a failure. This is why I don’t PLAN curriculums for kids.
If you allow your children to lead their learning and lead their experiences, you may find they learn everything they need and more. Child-led approaches to learning is a great way to get to know your child in so many ways.
Saying YES to Roses wigwam last week was just the PERFECT example of why letting children lead their experiences is so important. I mean look at this photo?! She is so PROUD of herself and her work is just amazing to look at! (maybe I am being biased because I am her mother, but I thought it was pretty wonderful). —Check out that blog https://presenteacherpresentmom.wordpress.com/2015/11/10/almost-a-missed-opportunity/
When Sunshine and I went for a walk today, I tried my best to be present, but I still found myself saying, “ok, Sunshine, lets go… come on…” Where were we going? Nowhere in particular, just enjoying the sunny day. I kept reminding myself to just let her lead, what did it hurt? No one and not a thing… ..again we were out enjoying the sunny day.
For the most part I remembered to be present- the walk was for her not me.
If I had been more concerned with walking, she would have missed out on so many rich experiences. I also would have missed out on learning about where she is in her development and what she is interested in. I would have missed out on getting to know my own daughter.
Our walk went like this….
Sunshine pointed at signs and said “triangle, E-O-E-O”, (she is noticing letters, but obviously not naming them correctly). No problem- she is only 2. I didn’t correct her, I just said “yes that is a stop sign, S-T-O-P”.
She also noticed the wind blowing the leaves… “mommy leaves rolling…catch it!” I replied “yes, the wind is blowing the leaves down the road, the wind pushes the leaves. We can chase them.” (remember to say YES more often ♥)
At one point she noticed a hill, “Mommy up….down.” She then ran up and down the hill several times. Once she was tired, she plopped down into a pile of leaves on the grass. She sat long enough to make a leaf bouquet.
Only about 5 feet away she noticed a collection of dried leaves all along the sidewalk. She ran through them back and forth while enjoying their crunching sound.
All of this happened within a distance of 20 feet. We did not get far, but we were gone for over an hour. She really enjoyed herself. She explored the textures of leaves, practiced her knowledge of what up and down is, and also asked about the shapes and letters she saw.
When lunchtime approached, I had to start directing her back towards home. She tripped on he sidewalk at one point and scrapped her finger pretty good. She said “mommy, oh no bandaid.” I told her “we have to get home and get one, I don’t have one.” So she took it upon herself to grab a leaf and hold it on her booboo. She walked home like that the entire way. So sweet 🙂
And to top it all off, she collected a bunch of seed pods and put them in her stroller as we walked back– (the stroller she never actually sat in). When we got home, while I made lunch, she strengthened her fine motor skills by opening all the pods and picking the seeds out into a bowl. That kept her busy while I made lunch– perfect! Even though my plan of “going for a walk” ended up with barely any walking, it was a great EXPERIENCE.
Toddlers are like little scientists; always exploring their worlds around them, testing, and re-testing what the know. It is up to us to support the scientist in them. I can honestly say I don’t sit down with my kids and “practice” shapes or letters, (frankly that is just boring). I like to follow their lead and take advantage of their interests and their hunger to learn. You can do this ANYWHERE. All it takes is some listening ears and watchful eyes.