I’ve decided to write this entry because I’m feeling the need to explain why I do what I do with my child. The last thing I want is someone to think is I am pushing her to be a future best student. My only hope is for her to develop a love for learning and aspire to follow her own calling. With that said…
As a kindergarten and First grade teacher, I observed children with a variety of life skills and attitudes entering my primary classrooms. It quickly became apparent a student’s early childhood experiences and access to tools of knowledge in the home setting, influenced a student’s incoming skills. If a student attended daycare or preschool also affected experiences, access to tools of knowledge, and overall preparation for primary school years.
When my child was born, I kept thinking about the above observation and questioned myself; what can I do now in infancy and the early childhood years to promote a healthy development of life skills that prepare her for a lifetime of learning? Watching Sesame Street and hoping for the best wasn’t the answer I was looking for. Neither were flashcards. I was on a quest for an in-depth answer that created a love for learning. After all, I whole heartedly believe, if a student loves learning, than skills will naturally follow.
As my child has grown, I have answered my question and want to share it with you. Four traits quickly became a pattern in our daily interactions, and shaped the activities we did every day. These traits are what I call the Building Blocks of Learning; Exposure, Modeling, Intrigue, and Love.
I envision education as a pyramid, with the early childhood years serving as the base. Throughout a human being’s life we constantly build upon our pyramid. A strong pyramid is built with the building blocks of learning at the base, serving as a foundation for a lifetime of learning.
Exposure: Humans crave activity. Everyday I’m further convinced it’s a NEED! Activity helps develop life skills. Basically, I’m saying, kids of all ages need to get out there! Life skills centering around emotional, social, and intellectual development depend on activity and are a must to succeed in our modern world. With that said, I do my best at exposing Em to the active elements of life and intelligence. Within this block I use the theory of Multiple Intelligence to guide me in providing a full spectrum of possibilities, adventures, and knowledge.
Modeling: Kids are sponges. A child absorbs his/her surroundings every minute of the day. As parents, we’re our child’s first teachers. We prepare our children for life. If I want my daughter to demonstrate certain behaviors, I too must demonstrate these behaviors. (I’ll admit this hasn’t been the easiest lesson to learn and consistently apply to daily life. Patience has never been a strong virtue for me, except while teaching small children. My own child has been the ultimate test, especially while I try to model patience with other drivers!)
Intrigue: Humans are born curious and should remain this way throughout life!! With exposure to life, curiosity is fed and intrigue is developed. Intrigue leads to questions, action, and answers. What would the world be without wonder?
Love: Children need to feel successful. Actually, everyone should be bundled up and nurtured with this emotion. With each passing day my daughter teaches me more about love. My sister recently told me about some talk show host she was listening to. The host was claiming children were like seedlings needing proper nutrients to grow. How a seedling is prepared determines the strength as a grown plant. Children are the same. Children who don’t receive the proper nutrients in early childhood often struggle as a growing human. Children who do receive the proper nutrients often thrive in life. Love is the key nutrient for success.
I understand every child is different. On this site I tailor to my child’s developmental and intellectual needs. I am only suggesting ideas. What works for me, may not for you. I encourage adaptation! If you like what you see but think “that is not practical for my life”, I say, adapt and try. You can even ask me how I would do it.
My goal here is FUN, not pressure! If a child’s early childhood experiences include exposure, modeling, intrigue, and love, he/she is on the road to a lifetime of learning J