Monday, April 30, 2012

Protection of Childhood, by Rhoda Kambandu, KinderHouse Teacher

Happy spring to you all!  In Kinderhouse we are singing a song about all the spring flowers that have bloomed in our gardens and in the forest.  We are listening to a story about planting seeds and waiting for the plants to appear.  Bringing the children an awareness of the seasons and the wonder that each holds for us to marvel at, is truly one of the joys of working with young children.  Their appreciation and understanding of the natural world is boundless.  This is the magic of childhood, and it needs our protection. 
Sadly, many children are not being given the opportunity to simply enjoy childhood.  Young children are expected to master more and more academic subjects and skills before entering first grade.  Learning life skills such as getting along with peers, negotiating situations of conflicts, learning to controls one’s impulses and simply learning to tie one’s shoelaces, is often not seen as important as knowing the alphabet, shapes and colors by age 3.  Several well-meaning service-providers have recently asked me if my 2 year-old knows her shapes and colors, and then proceed to try and teach her these abstract ideas, when really I’d just like her to learn not to throw food on the floor, and not to put her hand into her cup, spilling water at every meal! 
My 11 year old daughter was singing a song she’d heard while with friends and which is now her favorite song.  The lyrics include a line about the singers’ friends who “are in the bathroom getting higher than the empire state”.  It was then that I realized it wouldn’t be long before the protective bubble my husband and I had created for her burst.  All the more reason to protect childhood for as long as possible so children can learn the skills that will serve them as they go through life.  There are so many lessons to be learned from playing freely with friends.  We must not underestimate the value of a childhood spent doing what children do best—playing, imagining, creating, with each other.  It is worth protecting.
I’d like to take this opportunity to let you know that I will be leaving LifeWays at the end of this school year.  I will miss being here and will always value and treasure the time I have spent with the children and my colleagues.  I am thankful to you for giving me the chance to work with your children.
Ms. Rhoda

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