“What infants need is the opportunity and time to take in and figure out the world around them.”
– Magda Gerber
I have written on the concept of just being with children. At Tumbleweeds we've often visited the concept of being present without interrupting. This quote from Magda Gerber, though, gives a sense of why like nothing we've said before. The only slight change I would make is to the word infants. For me the quote should read, "What WE need is the opportunity and time to take in and figure out the world around US."
This is a very complex and interesting world we live in. There are so many things to marvel at and to attempt to understand. Humans have an insatiable need to learn and explore, and this is seen so clearly in the youngest members of our societies. The wide-eyed curiosity of a newborn as they take in their first visual of the world inspires us to open our own eyes and hearts as wide as theirs are.
"This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it's with us wherever we are." - Pema Chodron
As educarers, one of our primary purposes is to stand back and let the moments that the children choose to have teach. We can spend a lot of time setting up the environment to be conducive to moments, but in reality the moments are always there. They are not difficult to find if we take the time to see them. A child may find a teachable moment in watching the wind blow through a tree. Perhaps they gather great knowledge as they inspect an army of ants crawling across the ground. Maybe the moment comes in the form of another child or a conflict of interest. Whatever form the moment takes, giving children time for uninterrupted play will help those moments come to life.
The most important part of setting up those moments is basic trust, though. Basic trust gives a child the freedom to explore. When a child feels safe they feel confident to go out on their own and see what the world has to offer. Isn't this how we all feel? Having that safe place to return to after our adventures is what makes the adventure possible in the first place. At Tumbleweeds, we spend a lot of time cultivating basic trust so that the children in our care can spend a lot of time having adventures and making discoveries.
"Our children are indeed our teachers. They mirror back to us our behaviour, perceptions and beliefs." - Morgan Simone Daleo
We give them room so that they can lead us. We follow as they make their discoveries so that we can rediscover ourselves. This second part can be so much harder than the first part of giving them room. As children many of us hurried to become adults so that we could lead. It can be difficult to put away that hat now and give our children the chance to lead now rather than having to hurry and grow up first. This is so important for our children. Hurrying only means that this wonderful life we have is over quicker and that's something that none of us want.
"Finally it has penetrated my thick skull. This life - this moment - is no dress rehersal. This is it." - F. Knebel