Now, lets remember there are times when we have to follow the plan or cut and paste activity; lack of cleaning ability, limited times, the comfort of some of the adults needs to be taken into account of course or if the activity is being used to foster helping relationships. However, I am not going to stop the discovery of child led activities if there is the ability to make it happen. Children are amazing little humans with lots of great ideas. Their pure joy of what they created was apparent, as they ran to our consultant from the Region of Waterloo, Home Childcare with their salt dough ornaments to show her. They were so very proud of their hard work! They had to give them to mommy's and daddy's when they came for pick up. Now, lets look at what happened a few days before their proud moments of sharing with the adults that matter to them.
Yesterday, we started our first parent project, a salt dough ornament. Not really my favourite activity to create a processed piece. Not because I do not care about my parents, but because it is harder on the children. You see, I facilitate a child lead program, it is more about what I believe is the best way for children to build strong foundations. So here we went, we worked very hard, we mixed all the ingredients, 2 flour, 1 salt, 1 water and cinnamon. Baking took forever at 250 until hard and dry. We stayed on task, we followed the rules very well.
The next day, we went rogue on our parent friendly art project. It was transformed into a child lead expression piece. I had two choices, 1. to keep on tract of the creation of one of our parent gifts for Christmas; by saying no and stopping the children's discovery, or 2. let them learn what they are trying to explore. I chose the later, to follow my daycare children's wonder.
The final result was incredible; they created some pieces, I can transform into parent gifts. However, the children were able to have a healthy positive experience. They were able to explore the sensory sensation of painting on their hands, to use the paint on paper to smear it around, to get messy and build some strong concrete learning. However, this would not be possible, unless I was willing to give away the power, and say yes to a positive experience; instead of creating a more structured negative one.
“The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences, but Teflon for positive ones.” ~ Rick Hanson, PhD.
So the end result was the children had paint on their bodies, all over my table, the floor and myself. Wonders, stories, laughter, pure joy and happiness followed the children experience. We ended up running late for lunch and ordered pepperoni pizza, the children did not complain about that at all.
Lastly, the children, my table, washcloth, and myself are all washable! We have an amazing gift to give our parents for Christmas that are parent friendly and child lead, this ECE is ecstatically happy.
Allowing the children to happy and positive moments are truly an important part of the children's brain and emotional development. You see, Dr. Barbara Fredrickson says "we need a ratio of about three positive emotions to one negative emotion to really flourish. At 3 to 1, we naturally become more resilient to adversity and better able to achieve things. However, most of us are just getting by at a ratio of 2 to 1. And the ratio for depressed people is at 1 to 1, or even lower."
My job is to help them flourish not demolish their little sparks!
Lesley is a graduate of the Early Educator Diploma course, who excelled in her learning at Conestoga College. Additional has taken Social Work and the Law, Group Dynamics, psychology, Sociology and Redefining Early Learning and Care. She has also taking Reaching In Reaching Out, RIRO 1 and 2. Working within Early Learning and Care framework, as well as, the children and families under that umbrella is a passion of Lesley's.