“Children are miracles. Believing that every child is a miracle can transform the way we design for children’s care. When we invite a miracle into our lives, we prepare ourselves and the environment around us. We may set out flowers or special offerings. We may cleanse ourselves, the space, or our thoughts of everything but the love inside us. We make it our job to create, with reverence and gratitude, a space that is worthy of a miracle!” – Anita Rui Olds (in Designs for Living and Learning)
Early childhood educators are known for their ability to make gold out of someone else’s recycle bin (to be honest, there is gold to be found in the dumpster as well!). I have written before about the value of repurposing soon-to-be-recycled stuff into fine works of art or ingenious open-ended play materials. Those of us in early childhood professions often find ourselves at the mercy of tiny budgets, and work to create environments out of a conglomerate of discarded hand-me-downs – not that there is one ounce of anything wrong with creating environments out of second-hand materials, but beauty often takes a backseat to functionality when it comes to early childhood space design.
Narrowing my passions in the field of early education might just be an impossibility. I’m passionate about food, guidance, respectful interactions, multi-age groupings, play-based learning, anti-bias education, open-ended play, repurposed materials, nature play, outdoor education, and I bet if I thought for a little while longer, I could grow this list by another twenty or so items. A few weeks ago, the crew and I were the fortunate recipients of a musical gift that reminded me of how passionate I am about this area of learning.
Tekoa, designing a love bird puppet.
I’ve written about it before, but at Abundant Life, we sing all the time. We sing to mark special events, we sing to transition between activities, we sing when something special happens, we sing as we dress for the outside, we sing around the table at meal and snack time, we sing when we need help, and we sing just because we feel like singing. Singing does many things for our bodies and spirits: transforming our speech into melody with rhythm and accent, drawing us into a place of thoughtfulness about what we say and do, and connecting us with our inner creative muse. Singing in tempo swells our innate understanding of rhythm and patterns – foundational numeracy skills. Crafting spontaneous songs builds storytelling and rhyming skills which are at the heart of literacy.