Through the Eyes of the Child
There is a video on youtube (link at the bottom) which gets under my skin every time I watch it. When I do I am reminded of the awe and wonder of childhood and the magic to be found within this world. In the video a little girl is experiencing rain for the first time. As she runs out in to the rain arms spread wide and face upturned, she beams with pleasure as the water pours down, soaking her tiny body. It is a simply beautiful scene to watch and as I see it I find myself wondering what that feels like. As an adult, we take so much for granted, so much which has become mundane and average to us. It is raining outside? Grab an umbrella. End of story. But to experience rain for the first time? This magical downpour of water from the sky. What must that be like for a child? I find myself wishing I could remember. Wishing I could feel that way again. And so I attempt to. I stop, be mindful, pay attention - but I will never be able to truely feel that awe again. I can imagine what it must be like. I can try to relate. And maybe for a moment I feel that indescribable pleasure and curiosity. But it is fleeting to say the least.
We talk often of awe and wonder in early childhood and this is what it truely means to me. This moment where a little girl is exposed to our worlds natural beauty. And this leads me to question how often, particularly when we are educating 0-2 year olds, do we miss these moments - so simple to us, yet so complex to the child? When I used to direct, educators from the nursery would discuss the difficulty of observation with this age group. I believe, if we are looking for our traditional concept of learning, this is true. But in actual fact, these children are making 700 neural connections a second. A second! Their brains are constantly developing and acquiring new information because everything is new to them. I used to tell my educators to look for the most simple moments. A baby looking down at their bare feet in the sandpit and making the connection between this material and the feel of it against their skin. A child that sees bubbles for the first floating around their bodies in mid air, appearing strong but yet so fragile. These are the moments to look for. And if we stop and really observe the child in their discovery, we may actually be able to see what the child is seeing, understand the fascination and plan to sustain the wonder.
Creating new experiences, or experiences that continue to evoke natural curiosities in children is a wonderful way of engaging them in connections with their world. If we can truely understand how the child is viewing an experience, we will inevitably plan meaningful experiences which engage children in their natural tendency for awe and wonder.
And with these thoughts leave you to watch this beautiful clip and hope it inspires you in the same way it does me.