Here at Today’s Family, we focus on learning. Sure, our name says, specifically, early learning – meaning the valuable and fundamental learning opportunities that happen every day in the early years. But, don’t you have to know all of the ingredients in a recipe before you whip out your mixing bowls and set to work?
Actually, we not only focus on learning – but learning through relationships. Now we’re getting really specific. But, in reality, learning is an incredibly deep, philosophical, fluid subject. We’re going to try our best to explain what we mean with the help of the toddlers at C.H Norton.
Think about you for a second…
We want you to think about the lessons that you carry with you in your back pocket every day. It’s those moments when you reflect back upon a particular habit or practice and say, “Wow, so-and-so taught me that.” Chances are, most of the things you think of when you think of life lessons were shared with you by someone else at some point in your life.
Now we come back down to our practice, as providers of early learning and child care.
1. We establish a sense of well-being
Think about it – if you’re in a situation in which you are surrounded by people and you feel uncomfortable in any way, you clam up. It’s true, if you’re tired, hungry, upset or lonely you can’t interact comfortably with the people in your environment. How can you possibly learn anything new?
2. Establish a sense of belonging
Now, you may think that feelings of well-being and belonging are closely related – and they are – but there is a fundamental difference. You may feel comfortable enough within yourself, but do you truly feel as though you belong there?
When we feel as though we belong in a place, we feel valued, accepted and supported by the people around us. We know that, when we can’t quite get that second mitten on, there will be someone who is willing to help us out. Sometimes, in order to learn new things, you have to be the one to reach out and start a conversation. We like to think that we empower kids to do exactly that.
3. Look, listen and participate in what’s going on around you
Once you feel comfortable in yourself and comfortable in the company of those who surround you, you’re ready to get involved. Being engaged means constantly looking to satisfy your curiosity – making piles of leaves with your friends to see how high it can go, for instance.
4. Express yourself!
So, you’ve become comfortable in yourself, and comfortable in your environment. You’re engaged in what is going on around you – you’re looking at, listening to, and absorbing new things. But now we come back to square one – what happens if something goes wrong? You fall and scrape your knee, for example. You no longer feel well. How do you fix it?
You need to express your discomforts and your joys. You need to feel comfortable, supported, respected and brave enough to reach out for help sometimes. That’s what relationships are, no matter how big or small. We rely on people our entire lives to teach us lessons and to make us feel better when we’re down.
This means that early learning, really, comes down to learning how to build, learn from, and maintain relationships throughout our lives.
So, remember up in the introduction when we asked you to think of a lesson you learned that you carry with you every day? We bet there was a specific one that came to mind. We’re life-long learners here at Today’s Family, and we’d love to hear about your lessons! We’re all ears over on Facebook and Twitter.
We’ll see you next week!
– Today’s Family