Friday, November 2, 2012

Blending Trends

I believe things develop and grow in cycles from humans, animals, plants and even trends.

Children used to run out the front door in the morning and return as the streets lights came on. There was much to explore and do in one’s own neighborhood from riding bikes, playing ball, roller skating, climbing trees, collecting rocks, pinecones, seeds, insects and more. Children negotiated their own schedules and agendas and played mutually with siblings and next door neighbors.

Children were learning how to figure out social situations, understand time, be creative thinkers and problem solvers all on their own. They learned not only about themselves but the natural environment around them, how things worked, all while their bodies grew and developed along with their minds.

Of course our world was safer then, not as many people, cars or need for closer supervision. For a variety of reasons the trend started to turn more towards providing a variety of different activities for our children.

Lessons and activities like dance, sports and art that seemed more productive and educational emerged, while taking place in safer environments rather than running around the neighborhood. These activities would teach things where you could see the progress from one lesson to the next all while being safe, social and fun for the children.

With these new activities new challenges developed from time management becoming a family discussion with who would be doing what activity, where and when and how to get there not to mention the added cost. We want the best for our children, we want them to participate in what others do, so we adapt.

I question whether we are missing something as we have shifted from one trend to another. Would it be perhaps better to blend the two together and provide a more balanced experience for our children? Can we still learn how to dance or play a sport while still running out into our own backyards to explore the outdoors with our siblings and friends? Perhaps arrange to go on a hike to explore nature and take a picnic lunch instead of having the play date at a fast food place and play center.

I am not only asking these questions of parents but of teachers as well. Our motto is children learn through discovery and play. Our goal this year is to bring back much more of the natural environment to our yards and classrooms. To blend trends, to provide real items mixed with the beautifully manufactured items for our children to learn, grow and develop as they explore and engage together in safe and exciting environments.

The children are using cedar slices, tree limb blocks, tree stumps, river rock and wild animals to explore and create.   Later on spray bottles filled with water were used to wet the wood and rocks to see the interesting details of these natural items and it also brought out the wonderful scent of the wood.