Friday, May 30, 2008

The Hundred Languages Of Children - A Poem

My, my, my it's been a late night with her. So, I'm just going to post a poem - my favorite poem. I always get a bit of a lump in my throat when I read it. The poem, "The Hundred Languages of Children" was written by Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the 'Reggio Emilia' approach to childcare. My brain is too mushy tonight to explain this approach well enough but, I've found a site that explains it fabulously: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reggio_Emilia_approach

I had the opportunity to work with an educator who was learning about this approach and practising it in her classroom. It was the most amazing experience I've ever had working in childcare. The children were so stimulated, curious - they were little scientists!

Our role as teachers was basically that of facilitator. We observed, recorded, and documented their play and provided whatever it was they needed to take it a step further. Projects could go from a few days to over a month.
It is absolutely amazing what children are capable of if we back off and give them the space and opportunity to really explore their interests.

The Hundred Languages Of Children
The child
is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.
A hundred always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling, of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.
The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and at Christmas.
They tell the child:
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.
They tell the child:
that work and play
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together.

And thus they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:
No way. The hundred is there.


Loris Malaguzzi
(translated by Lella Gandini)

Preparing For College

We've finally gone in and set up an education fund for our baby. We sure wish we had education funds because we're still paying off student loans!
I think she's going to be an engineer. She's so pensive... She'll be bouncing up and down in her jolly jumper, getting huge air then all of a sudden she'll stop. She'll look up at the spring and other parts above her as if she's thinking, "hmm, how does this work, what are the physics behind this, how can I make it better?"
Even in the Exersaucer she be springing up and down, then suddenly stop as she turns her focus to all the gadgets thinking, "how does this all go together, what do each of these parts do?"
When she was in the womb, we swore she was going to be a soccer player, or a dancer, or a Ninja! She was always active - all the way to the end. On day one she lifted her head and on day eight she did four pushups on Grandpa's chest!
Who knows what she will become. But, I can't wait to find what her interests are as she grows up; I will support any interest she has. And when she hits college we should hopefully have enough tucked away to financially support her as well...hopefully!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cribs - What Are They All About?

I just finished round three of trying to get my baby to nap in the crib. Since she's started crawling, I'll hear her wake up and run in to find her flipped over onto all floors happily crawling around the bed. I've been propping pillows all around her to keep her in the middle but, as of yesterday, they are just more obstacles she's learned to overcome! I've decided our mattress is going on the floor but until my hubby gets home tomorrow to move the bed, I've decided the crib is the safest.

Oh the crib... Who invented the crib? I mean really, what is the history of the crib? And at what point did we, as a species, go from sleeping on a dirt floor together as a family, to deciding this is dangerous practice and babies need to be in their own beds (in their own rooms nonetheless) or we'll risk rolling over them?

I understand that our society has come a long way from sleeping on the ground and have moved into big beds with comfy mattresses but, what about the little babies? They don't understand why they are being separated from their mothers (or main caregiver) to sleep. One day, when I get time, I'm going to do a little research on where cribs came from.

Cribs... So interesting.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Baby On the Go

My little girl started crawling this week! For the past month she has gotten herself up into the crawling position, rocking herself back and forth, pushing up onto her tippy-toes, and moving herself backwards. She would get stuck in corners and under furniture. But, as funny as this stage was, I just wanted her to crawl!

We were visiting friends this weekend and promised them that she was going to crawl. This weekend was going into the baby book! Then one evening, we were all hanging out in the living room and baby was on the floor. She was full of energy so I put her slipper just in front of her and sure enough out reached her hand, fingers spread and ready to grab. I brought the slipper back a little farther and forward slid her knees, one by one. Her other hand reached out and onto the floor. It was cheers all around as my baby had just made her first crawling step! I continued holding the slipper just out of her reach as she slowly and cautiously she began to crawl across the floor. Out came the digital cameras to snap pictures and take videos. The look on her face told me that she was enjoying the challenge of this new skill.

That was less than a week ago and we've been practising every day since. Today, I laid out a trail of toys for her to follow; of course she came to the first one and was so infatuated with it that she never carried on to the rest. And, although her crawl is at a turtle pace, I am so excited for, and proud of, her. I tell her every day!

I know some fear the day their baby becomes mobile. They are worried about the added workload of a baby on the go. I view it a different way. Crawling adds a whole new dimension to a baby's world and you can see it when you watch them play. As an Early Childhood Educator, I've always loved watching children explore. I look forward to seeing what adventures my baby will encounter while exploring her world in a whole new way.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Welcome to my Blog!

Hello! Let me introduce myself. I am a licensed Early Childhood Educator gone stay-at-home mom. My husband and I have an 8 month old baby. Together, we take a natural approach to parenting. Although my husband was a little, err...a lot, skeptical about this approach at first, through lengthy discussions, research, talking with other parents who share the same philosophy, experience, and seeing the positive effects it's had on our daughter, I am happy to say he now gets it!

When we have a question, I'll often close my eyes and imagine, "what did we do before cribs, Tylenol, and Exersaucers?" And then we'll go from there. This approach has gotten us through many situations quite successfully. We have been told time and time again about how content, secure and just plain amazing our little one is. Some people say we're lucky; I like to take more credit for it :)

I have created this blog not only to document the joys of parenting but also to vent the frustration I feel when faced with the criticisms and judgements of many who follow an outdated approach to parenting.

I am excited to have started this online journal. This is a great outlet for me as I have a zillion ideas constantly running through my head. And to anyone who stumbles across it - enjoy!