If you have ever had a young child then you have probably experienced it before, an unrolled roll of toilet paper. Sometimes you find it in a long strip or other times in heap. Sometimes it was a mistake and other times, not so much. What if instead of an inconvenience, you see it as an opportunity for learning? Your reaction would be very different.
This happened in our house recently. The boys had colds and in the process of getting some toilet paper to blow his nose, Metu unrolled almost half of the roll. It started out as an innocent mistake but as it unrolled into a long strip, he was fascinated and did not want it to stop. I might have been upset if I thought it would be a waste but I saw a learning opportunity and a way to salvage it. This helped me remain calm (a constant but not always successful effort :D). I gently asked “what happened here?” And he narrated. I responded “it’s ok, accidents happen. I think I know how we can fix it!”
And so we set up a work station where I cut it up, two sheets at a time and he folded them into compact rectangles perfect for his little hands. I then set up a nose cleaning station.
It was a win-win because they now had a set up that better facilitated their independence and reduced waste. The activity also really engaged him, so much that his brother joined in, which made me see another learning opportunity (which I’ll discuss in tomorrow’s post.)
I think that just like we have to help children develop eyes that see, we also have to train our eyes and minds to see these learning opportunities that present themselves in unlikely situations. Some of the ways that we can do this include:
- Knowing how children develop, what kinds of activities they enjoy and how to prepare the environment helps us see this opportunities.
- Observing to understand the child’s needs, interests and abilities
- Understanding our role as the child’s link to the environment and knowing how to take advantage of the opportunities.