It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Planning Ahead

I have a ‘curriculum’ of sorts for the daycare. Each month has a theme. Crafts and activities all relate to the theme in some way. Each month is also supposed to have a colour, a letter or two, and a number as well, but I am not as consistent about these.

January’s theme was (surprise!) “Snow”. February’s will be “Love and My Family”. I don’t talk about it much here because it’s far from the most important thing I do with the children.

I homeschooled my three children for the first four or five years of elementary school (not including kindergarten) without much of a curriculum, either, and when they joined institutional school, they were all three in the top 10% of their class. Each of them had one subject where, at least for a year or so, they were top of the class. Learning is about much more than a column of skills on a checklist somewhere.

Still, a theme does keep my brain involved, it gives some form to my days, and some of the parents just Love It. These are good reasons for a ‘curriculum’ (though you’ll note that none of them really has anything to do with the children). At this age, what they need to learn are non-pedagogical. Colours, numbers, shapes, letters, reading? Not nearly as important as sharing, taking turns, saying ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ — all expressions of caring, consideration, and the dawning awareness that other people have needs too, and that those needs (shocking as this is to some people far older than two years of age) those needs are just as real, and matter just as much — sometimes MORE — than your own.

I know. Boggles the mind.

And that the best way to get your needs met is to communicate them respectfully. Not by shouting or hitting or biting or issuing threats. And yes, a two-year-old can be learning this. I routinely say to children under two, “You may be angry, but you may not [insert inappropriate behaviour].” They don’t get it right away, of course, because it’s a very difficult lesson. All the more reason to start it early!

But a person who knows how to treat others well, who knows how to manage conflict without resorting to threats, manipulation or violence (mental, physical, emotional), that person will succeed in life in a way that someone lacking these skills, no matter how high their IQ or long their list of academic accomplishments, will never manage.

Well. That was one enormous tangent. I sat down intending to talk about my craft plans for next month. But you know what? I hear Lily* stirring, so I need to go soon, and if I don’t post something now, I won’t post anything. So you’re stuck with a dribs-and-drabs, unfocussed post! Some days that’s all that’s possible! 🙂 Maybe I’ll get around to a Valentine-love-family craft-y post on Monday…

(*Yes! Only Lily today! Rory spent last night throwing up, Grace doesn’t come on Fridays, Emily and Tyler have pink-eye, and New Baby is staying home with mommy today. So once Lily is awake, we are GOING OUT! Only one baby? It’s a veritable day off!!! Whee!)

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January 28, 2011 Posted by | daycare, Developmental stuff, socializing | , , , | 5 Comments