Stories are like magic keys that unlock a child’s imagination, taking them on incredible journeys of discovery and wonder.
Parents and educators have extraordinary power in young children’s lives, and we know it.
We offer children our careful attention to meet their needs, safety, learning and joyfulness.
We want our children to grow and thrive – whether they are in our homes, our care, or in our learning programs or classrooms.
Yet I remember the uncertainty I felt as I began my career as an educator. Over the years, in my various roles as a daycare and preschool teacher; as a resource consultant working with families to support their children’s special needs/rights; as a teacher in kindergarten classrooms; and as an early literacy specialist working with parents, educators and young children, I have been aware of the limits of my knowledge.
When I became a parent, even though I had educational and experiential background in children’s early learning, I felt that same uncertainty. I was keenly aware of what I didn’t yet know about being a parent.
I am increasingly aware, too, that our world is changing rapidly.
The global COVID-19 pandemic was poignant evidence of how quickly what we think we know becomes unknown; and what seems solid, tried and true, can abruptly crumble. We often look to the past for how to parent and how to teach, but are assumptions and strategies that are rooted in the past helpful for the present and future?
Our young children are facing environmental challenges, for example, that we and our predecessors exacerbated rather than resolved.
Though our teaching and parenting knowledge does grow with intentional study and experience, our knowledge will always be incomplete because no two children are exactly the same, and the circumstances in which we live are ever changing. Rather than focus on knowledge, I believe we need to focus on the ways in which we empower children as learners, problem-solvers and carers of one another and the world.
Children learn through relationships – relationships to us, to others and to the environments in which they live. Our disposition to be curious learners alongside our children is what will help them thrive.
Just as a spider spins its web, children spin stories that connect their experiences, emotions, and thoughts, creating a tapestry of learning that is uniquely their own.
Children are the main characters in the story of their life.
Can we help them identify their central character as being filled with creativity, empathy, cleverness and resilience? Will the stories we share with them about how we see them help children find comfort and pride in who they are and are becoming? The stories we tell, share and create with children are powerful in shaping children’s identity and learning.
The stories of wonder and discovery that we create, share and tell with children each and every day shapes their engagement as learners, understanding of themselves, and relationships to one another and to the natural world.
In our newest course at Early Learning Café, Story Power: Growing Resilient Children, we explore ways in which parents and educators can be more intentional about affirming and building qualities within young children that nurtures their thinking and problem-solving, their creativity, empathy and resilience in a world of rapid change.
The course is divided into 9 Sessions. Video lectures average 15 minutes with additional time required for reflective activities. Each lecture ends with an invitation to personalize the ideas to students’ unique context.
Please join with me to explore Story Power: Growing Resilient Children. The course can be found at https://earlylearningcafe.com/courses/story-power
I look forward to meeting you in the course – enrol today!