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
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
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.