In the last few days there have been many discussions between myself and colleagues about developmentally appropriate activities.
Specifically how do we encourage others to embrace them- how can we encourage parents to live in the moment and not feel the need to push their child past what they are ready for, and most importantly what is it we are trying to accomplish.
I am a firm believer that there does not need to be an end result to every project we provide. I am all about process over product. So how do I explain that to parents looking for an end result and administrators looking to see if we have met the standards? I simply show them the work we are doing and each of the domains we are covering, and let the activity speak for itself.
Building models- small muscle coordination- perseverance- a sense of accomplishment- and hand eye coordination. This is about 6 models that do not belong together. The children don’t care- they screw and unscrew parts and create their own masterpiece that changes with their mood.
Prewriting activities. I have a few friends that still won’t write their names- but when I see that they can control their grip and create snowflakes I’m not worried. When they feel like their names are interesting enough they will write them!
Snack time exploration. I could have stopped this and asked him to eat- instead I followed his lead and he spent 15 minutes telling me about canoes and how they are built. He also explained the apple was the hull and the pretzels were part of the outboard! Finding the teachable moments is what we do- so let’s slow down and embrace them!
I am encouraging you to find those teachable moments- throw out the lesson plan for a day and follow the children’s lead just to see where it will take you.
You may end up on a soapy, canoe in January but there really isn’t anywhere else I’d rather be!