Yesterday was Little S's first day of the new school year at preschool - she's in Mrs. Little's Blue Class. A few friends from last year are there with her, which makes it all a bit easier. In the morning she kept saying she was sick - this hurt, or that hurt. D and I were sure she wasn't really sick just nervous (later in the day she asked me what nervous means and I realized it's a hard one to explain).In honor of school starting, I thought I'd share some of my favorite thoughts and findings on early childhood development. I started studying up on the subject when Little S was about 1 1/2 years old - trying to learn which philosophies I most agreed with and how I could foster a love of learning and creative inquiry in our home. I got into books on Montessori and Reggio Emilia - both Italian and both child-directed learning theories.
One of my favorite tidbits I gathered was the idea that a child will develop more creative and problem-solving skills when she's not required to put one toy away before playing with another. The free association that naturally comes from combining toys that are out but aren't necessarily meant to be played with together allows for creativity and exploration that is so crucial to childhood (and is carried into adulthood). This doesn't mean a chaotic mess of toys on the floor is ok - rather, don't make the child put the blocks away before playing dolls - maybe she'll build a house for her dolls to play in. (My mom is a big advocate of organized toys - "no child wants to play in a mess of piles of unorganized toys.")
This is all very true as I have watched Little S's creativity go wild with random household items. She especially loves my party cupboard where I keep paper supplies, decorations, etc. The pic below is from one of the parties she often sets up for her dolls: Finally, I share with you one of my favorite talks on education - Ken Robinson speaking at a TED conference (see their website for videos of inspiring speakers giving interesting info on diverse topics). Be sure not to miss the story he shares at the very end about the dancer. At a time when music, art, science and even PE are being removed from elementary curriculum, Ken inspires us to help change the system for the better.