As I write this I am watching the kids use old cardboard boxes and packing material to create car tracks for Ziggy’s matchbox cars. I am reminded once again how we are learning in every moment of life’s experience. They are experimenting with different materials, adjusting heights and weights, lengths and widths. Working with balance and creativity, creating structure and stability, problem solving in the moment as encounters occur. But perhaps to some they may be just playing or even just making a mess with a bunch of scraps.
I am observing my 9, 6 and 2 year old work together. Noticing how my 9 year old is gently communicating the ideas to my 2 year old, because he is having an absolute blast! How my 2 year old is attentively watching his older siblings on how they are making things work, then mimicking and trying ideas of his own, offering suggestions and materials. How the diversity in age is actually helping them grow awareness and skills and brings a whole new dimension to their experience. They don’t always get along, I mean for anyone who has lived with a toddler it takes a lot of patience and the older two can get frustrated. I actually don’t expect them to get along constantly because hey who does? We are all ebbing and flowing through this rollercoaster right! They love each other’s company but they do spend a significant amount of time together so there are bound to be build ups of friction. Plus we are in lockdown which can add another layer! I can see how this interaction with multi age groups, not just within our home but in our wider community is a chance to make older children more understanding, empathic and caring. For younger children its an opportunity to learn and observe more mature behaviour.
If I am honest I am a sucker for new resources. Not because I want to spoil the kids but there is a such a buzz and excitement when there is new material to explore. I think in the home setting having materials available to explore at your own will is apart of our flow, it’s enticing and encouraging of play and learning. As we follow no structured curriculum, it also gives the children more autonomy over their time and energy and where they would like to direct it. I am very conscious about the “stuff” I bring into the house but as I sit here once again such a beautiful reminder that actually the learning just happens even without the stuff, they create it, kids are adventurous and curious and will find the magic in everything as long as we cultivate the setting and go along for the ride.
So I guess what I’m saying is it’s easy to overthink it all, the curriculums, resources and experiences. When our perspectives broaden, we take a mindful approach to just notice and observe what they are doing and how they are doing it, We will surely see learning taking place. It’s not quantifiable, you can’t box it up like school based subjects, you may not even be able to test it, but it’s there unfolding within the framework of the child creative mind. There is always opportunity for us adult’s to have input and invite other ideas or to extend the learning through suggestions but even without it they are gaining valuable knowledge, sparked from their internal compass. What a gift!!
Love and Light Amanda