Yesterday, I sat looking at the girls’ toy shelves and was noting a lack of balance in our materials. I was looking for science materials in particular, an area I tend to overlook. That’s the thought that started the spiral of self-doubt. How can I provide them with a more balanced experience? A provocation perhaps? Should we cook more? Summer’s here – sink or float activities? Or maybe open-ended materials. Sensory bottles? Is that science? Finally, I spent a few minutes flipping through a favorite materials catalog for inspiration.
By the end of the afternoon, well . . . I was feeling a little like this:
Parents often have a sense of inadequacy when confronted on the one hand with the eager, sensitive mind of a child, and on the other with a world of complex physical nature, inhabited by a life so various and unfamiliar that it seems hopeless to reduce it to order and knowledge. In a mood of self-defeat, they exclaim, “How can I possibly teach my child about nature – why, I don’t even know one bird from another!” – Rachel Carson
Then came today.
A hike with friends.
Some of nature’s most exquisite handiwork is on a miniature scale, as anyone knows who has applied a magnifying glass to a snowflake. – Rachel Carson
Taking the time to make small discoveries, to wonder alongside my daughter, to hold her hand as she stopped to pick up stones and a stick. To stand by her side as she fell on the trail and got up again when she walked too eagerly down a slope. Geology. Physics. Biology. She was learning them all without the necessity of adding labels to them. As for Moon, she slept and nursed through the majority of the hike.
Learning materials and toys have their place but so does experience and discovery. Thanks for the reminder Greysen.