Tuesday, 12 February 2008
Posted by Neugier

A busy day of shopping!
Ashley and I hit the gym at 6:00 this morning for an exhilarating hour of cardio, then home for breakfast and helping Papai out the door. Next Ashley and I loaded up the car and at 8:45 we pulled out of the garage and headed towards a "hard" day of shopping! :D

Learning with Abe Lincoln on his special day!

Children love cause and effect as well as simply manipulating objects of various textures. This activity can be a phenomenal learning experience!

Solution: 4 T. white vinegar
2 t. table salt and desired amount of water.
Directions: Drop the pennies in the solution and watch as the dirt seems to just flake off! Stirring and toothbrush scrubbing are great additions as well.

Things to keep in mind:
There are few activities that can not be turned into enjoyable learning experiences for ALL ages. Never underestimate the abilities of your children. I have spoken with many parents who can "hardly wait" until they are able to teach little Susie such and such. While I agree that 'age appropriate' learning/teaching factors in, I also believe that common sense is or should be the key determining factor. I have a BA in Elementary Education and while I truly enjoyed every second of the 6 years I spent in the classroom, I fear that to often we as parents miss many golden opportunities for building a life long love of learning and yes, THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX for our children! And it is frighteningly easy to do so! It takes time, awareness and a willingness to learn -from our children- to avoid doing so.
For example: This activity was done with my 24 month old. I am a certified teacher, I had the activity planned out, and I knew "how each step" should go. First we got out the materials needed, Abby helped me do so and with every item she carried to the table she became more excited! Next we dumped some of the coins out on the table, I separated the coins so that only Mr. Abe Lincoln was left. We discussed the fact that the "picture" on the coin was Mr. Lincoln and the coins name was Penny. Abby is learning her shapes and very excitedly pointed out the fact that the pennies were circles! Smart girl! Next we put the pennies in the bowl and Abby poured the salt and water in the bowl and then held the measuring spoon and counted to four so that we had the correct amount of vinegar. Next she slowly stirred that pennies and solution with the Tablespoon and helped clean each individual penny. This took a little while but she really enjoyed. Our next step was to dump the clean penny's on the cloth and count them into groups of 10. This is no problem, because Abby loves doing this, and tonight was no different. Here is where things took a little different turn - I had planned to have Abby sort them into piles of 10. Logical right?! One pile here, one pile here, and one pile here. Abby however had a different idea. She wanted to put each set of 10 pennies in a different container. It really doesn't sound like a big deal, and it wasn't because we communicated and I stepped back, eager to learn from her and to allow her to explore - OUTSIDE THE BOX learning and thinking.
Question? What would have happened if I as the certified teacher and parent, had "said" to my 2 year old. I am the parent! Put these coins in piles like this. Don't get me wrong. I am VERY strong on obedience and immediate obedience, after all her life may one day depend on it. But in this situation, I chose to step back and learn from her. Here is what I observed: She lined up three different containers, carefully placed each set of 10 in its respected container,(she didn't mix them up) then she took turns dumping out each container one at a time, recounting them and putting them back into their container! I was impressed, I enjoyed watching her learn and I in turn learned from her.


Beth said...

wow looks like you had fun. . .wish you lived closer :) .. . . .i hope one of those pretty necklaces are in the mail for me LOL!!!!