Retaining Wonder

This week’s RIE win comes from my Mom. A child advocate, educator, and administrator; her passion is all things early childhood…and though she’s never said it out loud, I think she loves that I’m following in her footsteps in my own way.

She often finds wonderful memes, blog posts, articles, and more all about early childhood and shares them with me on Facebook. This week I resonated with an article she shared about helping children hold onto their sense of wonder. As I glanced over the list of do’s and don’t’s, I was struck…the things the author encouraged for older children (listed below), are all things that RIE encourages for younger children. (Yes…I have been teaching the Educaring Approach for over a decade now, and that’s something that I’ve always been aware of, but sometimes it sneaks up on me.)

RIE encourages us to get in the habit of seeing children as capable, as self-learners, as explorers, as competent to figure things out from the very beginning. And when you start with that point of view, you make space for children to be capable, competent, self-learning explorers from the very beginning. You start to see your role as ‘observer’ and ‘facilitator’… ‘partner’ and ‘supporter’ instead of ‘entertainer’ and ‘stimulator’ and even ‘teacher.’

That’s not at all to say your children aren’t learning from you…no, but what you teach every day is yourself…what it means to be you, what it means to be part of your family: your values, your expectations, your hopes and dreams, your foibles and failures (and how you tolerate those), your biases and prejudices. This, I think, is a lot of what brings people to RIE…the opportunity to slow down and look at their own internal workings. To examine their own patterns and reactions and to talk about those with like-minded parents.

Oh, and I don’t want to leave you hanging about what that article (and book!) had  to say about helping children retain their sense of wonder: Opportunities to play outside with no agenda and lots of hands-on exploration (and less adult teaching and dictating) …simple toys…no, simple OBJECTS, and a slow pace with lots of unstructured time. Sound familiar?