Do you remember life as a child? I don’t mean the physical world that you existed in, but the magical, imaginative one full of surprises and new discoveries. That world of wonder that you escaped to, and dreamed of all the things that now seem impossible.
If you could see the world through the eyes of a child how would this look to you?
How would it change your point of view?
Would it change the way you interact with them?
I want to take a look at how answering these questions could change the way you view the world and how it can support children and their learning opportunities.
Curiosity and Wonder
As a child, the world and everything in it are all brand new. We are not born with all the answers and the understanding of how or why things work the way they do.
The child that drives you mad with their constant “why? but why?” questions, (you know the drill) is just curious and trying to make sense of the world. Before they even have the ability to express this verbally they are testing everything to find answers.
When an infant drops a toy over and over again and you pick it up and hand it back over and over again, you think it’s a cute game. If you look a little deeper you will understand that the child is testing a theory.
The toys falls every time he/she drops it. It does not float up or stay where it is, it falls. It does not matter how many different items or how often they do it, the outcome is always the same.
They do not have the language or the understanding to know this is the law of gravity, but it is now being processed and assimilated into their brain, making the connection at a later date when they are able to give it a word.
Little geniuses aren’t they? And we totally underestimate them.
When I use the word wonder, I am referring to it in the sense of asking a question. I wonder Why? How? Who?
An example of this, is when I worked with a particular 4yr old who noticed that when he poured water into a hole in the sand it always disappeared. His response was, “I wonder where it goes.?”
If we look at the world from a child’s perspective we can wonder with them and see the possibilities to enhancing their play, and extending their learning.
Through inquiry, children are able to begin to ask the questions that help them to connect the dots and make sense of the world around them.
My favourite part of working with children! I still get caught up in these little fantasy or pretend worlds alongside them.
I enjoy helping children to bring stories to life and act them out in play.
Yes! I eat their pretend food, and I run from the monsters as if they were really hot on my heels, and I squeal and laugh, and I love it.
I don’t care what the other GROWNUPS think when I am running around like three year old roaring like a dinosaur, or pretending I have an invisible pet.
Children invite me into their play, and this is where I gain an insight into how to support their learning.
Children need this type of play, as it nurtures their ability to socially interact with others, to find ways to express themselves and their feelings and to develop creativity.
Imagination is also a way for children to escape reality for a while and be alone. This is often where future dreams and goals are originally formed.
When children are very young, they are always exploring.
I often place myself down at the child’s level, and take a good look around at what they see.
It is quite an eye opener actually. Children are drawn towards anything new or things they do not understand yet.
That is how they find out and to learn more. It is built into all human beings to venture out into the unknown and explore.
I once spent at least half an hour laying face down in the dirt with a group of young explorers, peering into a small hole in the ground that we had followed a trail of ants into.
It was fascinating to be a part of the children’s conversations and gain an understanding of how they viewed the world, and yet this came very naturally as I reverted back to a four year old in my mind.
I listened to the varying theories children were coming up with about the reason for the ants going into the hole, and chuckled to myself, as they were probably some of the very same I’d had as a child.
When children do this they are hypothesising and developing their own reasoning. They are exploring the concept of cause and effect.
By posing questions and offering solutions to children throughout these experiences, we are able to help them to draw on prior knowledge and add to their existing knowledge.
Supporting our budding young scientists, mathematicians, and inventors requires developing an understanding of how children learn.
We need to see each child’s new discovery through their eyes as if for the very first time. When we do this it also sparks that same excitement and sense of wonder that they experience.
When a snail leaves behind a shimmering trail or when water and dirt together form mud, it provides an opportunity to explain the science behind the magic.
As we get older we have formed our view of the world and the magic is gone. We take for granted that the world operates because of science, physics, mathematics and all the other things that we have learned throughout our life time.
Children are just beginning their journey of discovery and to be there beside them when they do is cause for celebration.
This is one of the greatest things about being a parent, a grandparent or an educator. We see the first spark ignited in our next generation and we can either snuff it out or feed it.
From a new perspective
So in closing, I would like to remind you that by viewing the world through the eyes of a child, you are in a much better position to be able to understand children’s behaviours. You are able to find ways to guide them through new learning experiences that are meaningful to them. In fact I am betting that you will begin to see opportunities for children to learn and grow in so much more than you ever did before.
I hope that I have not only helped you to understand and help children learn, but that I have reconnected you to your inner child.
Are you still a child at heart?
If you would like to see more posts like this, please feel free to leave a comment below and any suggestions you might have for future posts.
Thank you for dropping by and see you next time.
Founder and CEO of The Treasure Baskets