Sunday, March 25, 2007

Spring Break & Saturday Quote

Lots of fun in the past week, so I haven't had a chance to post anything! We spent last week at Disney World with Reese & Jessie. Check out our family page for a slide show & some videos of our fun. But here, I'll talk about how educational opportunities are everywhere, you just have to seize them!

Reese found a map of our hotel grounds & was fascinated with learning how to read the map. On the back was a road map from the airport to Disney World property, which he also found interesting. We spent quite a bit of time talking about the compass rose, directions, the map key & what all the symbols mean.

We made it a game to find all the "restroom" signs within the hotel property, or to find the parking lots by looking for the "P" sign on the map. He became very proficient at finding the different parks of Disney World on the road map, & it was fun to see him study that map on his own.

Do I expect him to actually understand proper map skills yet? Nope. I was thrilled that he got the concept of what a map is used for, & asked questions about the map that showed he was developing an understanding of maps.

Let's see, what else...there were plenty of opportunities to teach. Of course, most things at EPCOT are learning-centered. Our favorite ride (Jeff & I) is what we call the "Vegetable Ride" through the Land at EPCOT. It's a little boat ride that takes you through greehouses & a fish hatchery. Part of the greenhouse uses experimental growing methods, & one of them has plants that hang on a track with exposed roots that are misted with nutrients. That was a great way to reinforce our CoOp experience at the Greenhouse & really get a good look at a root system.

On the monorail system throughout Disney, Reese loved honing his listening skills. Before each stop (similar to a subway system), the announcer would say the name of the stop, & what was coming next. By the end of our visit, Reese would be able to listen close enough to pick out if it was or was not our stop, & he would listen for the name of our hotel.

I could go on & on...but dinner is ready & I need to get going. It is just so speical to me to realize over & over again that learning can happen anywhere, any time, with any materials handy. Our free hotel map on the room couch at 8pm one night was a great spring board for lots of map understanding, & it was totally unplanned but the opportunity presented itself. Do I worry sometimes that Reese still has little interest in writing his name or coloring? Sure. That's what 4 years of Early Childhood Education in college will do! But would he have ever spent 20 minutes on map skills in a 3 year old preschool class? Doubtful!

And...before I Saturday quote...

“We hurry our children to learn, to grow, to attend lessons and activities, to go to school. Like the hurrying that we imagine will result in more knowledge, we hurry our children out of the nest and into institutions run by strangers whose interaction with them is not always informed by love. As a society it sometimes seems as if we believe that hurrying our children into regimentation will make them tough and realistic, keep them from being vulnerably dependent on the protection of loving parents.

Yet like academic hurrying, this independence-hurrying often as an effect contrary to our intentions. Paradoxically, it may prevent kids from growing up strong and independent. Independence grows from unconditional love, trust, and having one’s appropriate dependency needs metn, not from premature withdrawal of support. Perhaps our pressure on our children to grow, to learn, and to achieve is a reflection of our own way of being, as we hurry ourselves from task to task, from job to home, and through each moment, absorbed in our thoughts and anxieties, reacting rather than responding, acting from fear rather than love.

Allowing our children the freedom to develop their own interestes, to respond authentically to opportunities, and to grow and learn at their own pace is nothing less than refusing to indulge our fears and anxieties about the future and instead taking a courageous stand of behalf of love.”

Guerrilla Learning: How To Give Your Kids A Real Education With Or Without School by Grace Llewellyn & Amy Silver

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