by Sarah Lu
So much of our brain development happens before the age of 5. And while the brain is flexible and able to adapt and grow connections after this period of time, we view it as our job to help develop these small human beings, into big ones that will love, nurture, and support not only each other, but also the physical world around them.
After our Spicy Work yesterday, I was pleased to see stronger connections between children today. It felt like they had remembered, through the eyes of Spicy Work, how to play. There is a lot of growing happening right now, and this is hard stuff. During certain weeks we teachers feel like there is a constant need for help with conflict resolution, comfort, and other types of non-academic learning. Years ago, I felt impatient with that. I was so eager to get to the “good stuff”, that I overlooked the amazingly complex and multi-layered learning that these kids do every single day. It is challenging for us adults to remember a time when we couldn’t communicate as well as we can now. But I like to look back on my twenties, and then I can understand just how far I’ve come!
Just think… in the course of a day these kids are learning how to take turns, share or not share, make other decisions for themselves, listen and digest information, respond, adhere to a certain rhythm, take care of themselves by eating/toileting/dressing/undressing/washing hands/brushing teeth, think about their thinking, reflect on their learning, care for friends, care for materials, contain their natural urges some of the time, know when to do that… and the list goes on.
They need to know how to assert their own needs, and also listen to others. How to deal with feelings of jealousy when their friend wants to play with someone else.
As we support these children in their journeys, I want to remember just how much they are striving to be.