Wednesday, February 5, 2014

In Our Own Way

When infants feel secure and have their needs met, they naturally start on their own work: movement.
Offerings of various materials nearby incites want! Want incites motivation to look, to start orienting the body towards, and, eventually, to reach!

Once a material is in hand, self-guided exploration continues! Children naturally want to discover for themselves: What is this? How does it feel? How does it taste? What are the properties of bowl-ness? 
I quietly observe during this exploration. My goal is to avoid interrupting the process and, thereby, to support the natural progression of ever-increasing focus, self-confidence through discovery, and love of learning.
I am nearby, available, present, and yet wanting nothing from the child who is fully engaged in work.
If a child invites me to join in, typically with eye contact, I take the opportunity to connect and reflect my guess at their feelings about the situation, building on language, our relationship, emotional intelligence, and the Tumbleweed culture: "You're holding onto the black cloth! It feels so soft on your hands and face. You really enjoy this soft cloth." "The nubs on that toy fit right in your mouth! You're excited! It feels good on your gums to bite on the hard nubs."
Struggle is an inevitable part of the growth process!  A child is naturally driven to push themselves, to work hard, and to perservere. They will try again and again and again... Sometimes they will take a break from trying and return to the attempts at another time.  
My goal during struggle is to make sure I am following the child's cues for needs. Most of the time, the child in struggle expresses with a cry or grunt, but is still working hard and not actually seeking my support. 
Sometimes the struggle is so frustrating that the child may make eye contact with me, seeking a secure connection with me before wanting to return to work.
By being fully present and available AND following the child's cue for needs, I feel best able to support each child's authentic, self-driven path of discovery.

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