I was reading an article recently about how children can change the world. The article really made me think about the many times that I see children during play and comment, "They're going to be a great leader one day" or "She's going to be an engineer seeing how well she designed that structure". We often think about children as having potential to be something amazing in the future and not consider how amazing they already are.
The article went on to offer some thoughts on how to acknowledge, encourage and nurture the current skills and understandings of children including listening, learning together and not to laugh, patronise or minimise the ideas children come up.
These thoughts started to challenge my thinking and interactions with children. Was I actually listening to children? Did we approach a learning opportunity together or did I take on the 'expert' role. Have I minimised a child's idea or pushed it aside as an immature thought?
In early childhood education and care we follow a national curriculum called the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) with the underlying theme of belonging, being and becoming. These three key elements of the EYLF underly everything that happens at the ELC and influences how we interact with young children. We aim to provide a space in which children can build their sense of belonging, provide opportunities for them to be young children as well as challenging learning experiences that encourage them to grow and learn. As much as our role in the ELC is to prepare children for school, we are also allowing this time in their lives to be a time of discovery, imagination, exploration, creativity and all the things that encapsulate being a three, four and five year old.
The theme of being is often a challenge for educators and parents as we often like to encourage children to be learning something new, to extend their knowledge and build on their skills. However, as this article is stating and as is found in the EYLF, we are to celebrate children in the here and now; in their successes and in the times when they are struggling.
King Solomon writes in the book of Ecclesiastes about there being a time for everything. "For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. Yet God has made everything beautiful for it's own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end" (Ecc 3:1, 11). As adults we can sometimes struggle with God's timing for our lives and that we need to wait for Him to answer our prayers or provide the miracle. In our lives as parents and educators, we can see children learn and grow at their own pace, to see childhood not as a race but as a unique road of discovery, learning and wonder.
Director, Early Learning Centre