Tuesday, March 12, 2013

In their Own Way, In their Own time

The stairs are like a right of passage for each group at Tumbleweed.  The Stairs blog I have written reminds me of that first steps I took as a teacher in trusting the children in a new way.  It was scary and new for me, but they showed me the benefit of trusting their ability. 
The stairs the entry and exit and the most direct route for us to head outside.  The days are growing warmer and everyone is moving faster, so it is natural for us to head outside as much as possible and allowing the infants to move in their own way, in their own time.
This was made abundantly clear to me as we headed outside today.  I opened the front door and invited everyone out.  H quickly crawled out, Z followed and I helped E get closer.  I like to give each child the time they need while balance the cost of heating the house, so after a while I helped everyone outside.  Then came our next obstacle. 

There are two, cement stairs.  I encourage them over.  "Over here, everyone!  Here's the stairs.  It's the safest way!"  H quickly crawled to the shoes and began to rearrange, talk about, pile up and pull up on the shoe rack.  Z watched carefully remaining near the door, while E scooted to me.  It was like he was pulled to the dirt and grass.  When he found the edge of the stairs and pulled himself forward almost loosing his balance.  He seemed surprised, but didn't slow down.  I found myself reaching out to cushion his fall as he pulled and pushed forward head first down the stairs.  I know the cement is not forgiving, the smallest bump causing an awful abrasion.  I allowed E to feel the weight of his body as it went down the stairs, the change in dimension and where and how to place his hands.  He was so full of joy when he was on the ground, and he spent the rest of our time outside.

Z watched E's trek down the stairs and slowly made his way forward.  He let out a very happy noise as he eased over the edge.  He hung out there, then felt nervous and backed up.  watched H at the shoes for a while and quite naturally began to slide backwards down the stairs.  First his feet reached down, then he was standing on the first step.  He tested it out by pushing down with his feet, even bouncing a bit and laughing.  I sat near by, talking quietly about what he was doing.  "Your feet are on the step, do you feel it?"  Soon he was on his belly on that first step and even scooted forward a bit along the length of the stair.  After some time he swung his legs down and moved down to the ground, the whole process of him making his way down the stairs taking around 30 minutes. 
H came over to see what Z was doing a few times, but returned to the shoes where his true interest was. 

I sat or stood next to the stairs our entire time outside.  It brought my attention to the individual child and our common goal outside.  Each child was at peace with their chosen path, whether it be grass, moving slowly or shoes.  We had our flow and the work and play we chose felt good. 

"If we agree that the bottom line of life is happiness, not success, then it makes perfect sense to say that it is the journey that counts, not reaching the destination."                 
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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