Topics in Early Childhood Education

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Playground on Rock?

We went on a family outing to southern Utah this past weekend. We were able to see Canyonlands and Natural Bridges National Parks. It was a nice adventure and I was very impressed with the Native America Petroglyphs that we were able to see while hiking. Some were off the beaten path away from most tourist spots. Like young children, they were able to tell stories through pictures. A true written dialogue.
In one park we were able to see the ruins of the Anasazi from at least 700 years ago. As we were looking at the homes in the cliffs, I was struck by the thought of how difficult it would have been to allow children to safely play on the sloping rock. We don't even allow slides on school playgrounds anymore and here was an entire village on a cliff. Where was the gate for the top of the stairs? I am happy that we are so conscious of safety in our time, but I wonder if children were more prepared for life when they had to learn how to protect themselves. Perhaps many children in the 1300s lost their lives because of their lack of protection. But, it makes me wonder if sometimes we protect children so much they don't develop life skills. Maybe protect is not the correct word. Maybe it's smother. Just thinking out loud as I wonder how they stayed up there.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Finishing a 5 K

This past weekend I competed in a 5K race to celebrate my birthday. The best part of the entire experience is that this old man finished the race on two legs! I was not quite as fast as I may have been ten years ago, but I was pleased with my time. Isn't it funny that we judge a race by how fast we can get to the finish. The first one over the finish line wins the race. Because I am not an athletic competitor at this age, it is the triumph of working to be able to actually run the race that is important to me. The process that I have gone through during years of running have helped me in other aspects of life.
I often think that for some parents, teaching their child is like a race. They want their child to know everything and get to the finish line first. Perhaps the process of building the skills appropriately would benefit the child more in the long run. I remember working with parents occasionally who were so driven to push their young child that they had very unreal expectations. I also realized that in most cases it was the parents' ego that was the driving force, not having a well-adjusted child with appropriate skills.
Some would call my race last week a failure because I didn't cross the finish line first. However, I was a winner because I finished the race. I learned that I still have what it takes to run the race. Pretty good for an old man.