The Child

Early CHILDHOOD Education - honouring the crucial word that needs our focus

We’ve worked months on our new toolkit about young children in nature. We’ve written tens of thousands of words on multiple related topics, presented them beautifully and created additional resources to accompany. A lot of hard work and a lot of heart work, and then we had a burst of inspiration, the ‘penny dropped’ and we realised the absolute simplicity of the message.

The need for nature - being IN the earth

Our children are born with an innate connection to the earth.  They are a part of nature, and crave to continue that connection.

When they have freedom in a natural environment you see how authentic their joy is in this type of setting. They want to be outdoors, IN nature, learning WITH and THROUGH nature. They want to keep this bond strong. They know how to, it’s not something we need to ‘teach’, but we absolutely need to allow for it. We need to offer the right space, lots of uninterrupted time, and see the inherent value of young children being truly immersed in a natural setting.

A new old! - watching the magic unfold in the same-same

We so often forget that our young children don’t need new, new, new all the time. They find the familiar comforting rather than ‘boring’.

If the environment and materials we offer are stable for them, they can invest their energy in playing, creating, and navigating the social landscape. If each time they arrive there is a new set up their energy goes into orienting themselves instead, into finding the ‘lay of the land’. It is only once they’ve found that sense of security they can engage in play and relationships.

Be a creature of tradition - the known can be magical!

In a society where the ‘novelty bug’ is rife, Christmas offers us a beautiful opportunity to go for tradition instead.  Rather than brand new decorations every year we can have recurring ones that can be looked forward to each year. Seeing these back in the environment reminds everyone what time of year it is, while still being ‘special’ enough to light eyes up year after year.

Let them lead, let us follow - who’s in the driver seat?

Heart centred teaching asks for us to be humble, focus on the child, and leave our adult agenda at the door. It  ask us to stop ‘doing’ and focus on how we are with the children.

Let them lead, let us follow.  Both approaches call on us to really tune in to the children, really making them the teachers and not us.

Full attention - recharge without batteries

Simone Weil said that, "attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity". This is such a refreshing view in a society that often sees children’s need for attention as something irritating.

We hear so much about the “attention seeking” child, as if it is a deficit in the child and something to be stopped before it becomes ingrained in the child.

Big little things - the unseen little touches

It really is the small things that make the difference.  Tiny little touches set apart the ho-hum “just fine” ECE settings from the really special heart filled ones.  There may be big differences in size and dollars spent across the sector, but the no price tag items are the things that speak volumes.

Are you giving or are you living the lessons?

 "There is no difference between living and learning... it is impossible and misleading and harmful to think of them as being separate." - John Holt

We have noticed a growing trend to implement ‘teaching programmes’ in an attempt to teach our young ‘pre/before school’ children academic as well as social/emotional skills. Much can be said about how and when to teach children reading/math/writing skills, a topic for another time. What concerns us is the trend to ‘teach’ children social skills and values by way of ‘giving lessons’.