We began a conversation today about a question that came up over my block unit. The question was around some activities that appear to be repeated. I thought it would be helpful to share my thoughts on this and also recap some of the vision for this project.
This first unit is geared for 3 and 4-year-olds with parents who are either homeschooling, haven’t ever homeschooled, or teachers in both private and public school. In my experience both in the classroom and with my own children, this age group thrives on repetition. They love routine and want to know what comes next. There is comfort in the stability of a routine. I remember a story my mom used to tell me when I was around 4––we had come home late from an outing and didn’t have time for my usual bathtime routine. Apparently, I made such a ruckus that the neighbors came over to see if I was alright!
Repetition is what builds mastery and for the very young child, that might mean repeating the same activity over, and over, and over. One way I measure how many times is, if I think it’s been enough, then I plan to repeat it at least 10 more times. No joke. One of the children’s favorite activities was mixing paint. Can you imagine their excited faces to be given permission to create something new? Mix red with blue and you make purple. Mind blown! They wanted to do it over and over and show me and their friends.
Something that has become a sort of passion of mine lately is gifting parents with permission to slow down and be present. In our community, we have children on both ends of the spectrum––some of us are just starting out, while some of us are graduating children into adulthood. Ask anyone with adult children and they will unanimously agree that time speeds up the older your children get. I want so badly to “breathe in” this time with my children. To not focus on checking things off my list, but to savor my time with them––and I want this for every parent. It’s hard for me to talk about this without welling up.
How in the world do you put a monetary value on this? I don’t have the answer. What I do know is that I want to change the way people think about educating their children. Equipping them with the tools to be present, ask questions, lean in and see the wonder and magic of learning are what drives me. This doesn’t look like what other schools are doing or what our own school experience looked like. It looks like slowing down, and letting your child revel in repeating while watching their minds absorb and expand.