I am someone who considers themselves to be fast. I make decisions quickly. When I’m moving about, I’m doing 10 things and my hands are usually full. I speed walk everywhere. Ever see me at HEB? Probably not, because I’m in and out faster than a sneeze through a screen door.
However, in my haste and quickness, I can lose sight of what matters most. Slowing down and appreciating those small moments. Taking time to not only do things, but to actually do them well. When I stop and consider my time, I realize that by slowing down, I can practice patience and practice new skills.
We can apply this to teaching new skills as well. We might tend to rush to accomplish important milestones or think that a particular toy will help teach a skill, but in our excitement and eagerness, we could lose sight of why slowing down is the best thing for everyone. Imagine yourself as a child learning a skill for the first time. It will take time to learn how to talk to friends kindly. It takes time to learn how to walk, to put your plate in the trash, make up your cot, to not hit or bite, and how to use the potty. Children depend on us to guide them and give them that time to learn. Let’s go into 3 reasons why Wellspring encourages everyone to teach slower and with full intentions in place.
Our 3 'Why' Factors
Neural connections in the brain.
High quality early learning experiences are vital for children’s lifelong success. In early childhood, neural connections in the brain are established. The process of forming new connections and pruning happen throughout a person’s life, but are considered most consequential in the first three years. We are sensitive to all children’s cries, babbles, talk, and gestures because we are eager to respond and develop those neural connections that lay the foundation for their social and communication development. Our goal is to lower stress and tune in to our children’s needs and wants. If we are in a rush, we might miss something important that they are trying to communicate to us.
Physical, cognitive, social and emotional, and linguistic developments are domains of childhood development. However, they are not isolated from each other, rather they are dependent and supportive of each other. Put simply, a child who has nutritious food options, is active and can move freely, and sleeps well is able to engage fully in social interactions that can stimulate cognitive development. Executive functions (attention, memory, self-regulation, reasoning, and problem solving) are also fostered during early childhood development. When we approach learning in the classroom, we approach it with a mindset that we are connecting all domains. If they are struggling with learning a certain skill, we make sure that we are aware of other domains that may have a need to work on as well. We shouldn’t push through goals without making sure that the whole child is considered.
Scaffolding is a proven method of teaching new skills and information. Scaffolding is breaking down the goal into accomplishable steps while taking into account skills that children have already mastered or are knowledgeable about.
Let’s talk through a scenario where scaffolding comes into play. You’re wanting to have your children throw away their lunch trash and get ready to go take a nap. First, let’s take note of what steps are needed to complete the task.
The child has to recognize that they are full.
Understand the need to make eye contact/communicate to the teacher their readiness to leave the table.
Understand the teacher’s response.
Push back from the table.
Balance/grip the plate evenly.
Walk around the classroom to get to the trash can.
Put their plate inside.
Navigate to the next area.
Use listening skills as they are achieving all steps above.
It takes time and mastery of prior skills to accomplish this goal. It takes time to learn. The end result will still there, but it will be accomplished with respect, calmness, and understanding.
Wellspring is dedicated to the development of the whole child. Our philosophy enables everyone to slow down and appreciate the space and time that we find ourselves in right now.
Maybe we could all take the opportunity to learn more about the world around us and not rush through HEB and life.
Let's all be more like a herd of turtles!