Sunday, September 11, 2011

On developing humanity

When all is said and done, child development is a natural process. It occurs whether or not parents are inclined to provide environments and activities that support this development. I hope that some of the topics I write about encourage parents and childcare providers (grandparents too!) to pay attention to how the simple, everyday experiences they provide today will have a significant impact on achievement and quality of life for their children in the future.
This summer, we covered ‘baby academics’—literacy and math 001. As school starts for the older children, lets take a moment to consider experiences that we provide that develop our humanity. I am, perhaps, out on a limb here; I have never read any research on this topic. Yet I know at the very core of my being how vital this aspect of life is.
I am talking about developing a sensibility to beauty, nature, and the arts. I believe this begins when we help babies pay attention to details in their immediate surroundings. There are auditory details, such as the crickets in the evening or the birds in the daytime. “Listen,” we say to our babies, “Do you hear the music?” There are visual details. “The little spider has made a web! Can you see where he is sitting?” There are emotional details in the faces of friends. “Look at Joey’s face. Do you think he is sad?”
Now, when the older ones are in school, I invite you to come with your little one to the art gallery in the foyer of the Ladysmith Library. There is a beautiful exhibit in place with vibrant colors and varieties of textures. You can slowly walk around the exhibit pointing out the colors, textures, and things you find interesting to your baby. I know your baby will pay attention to what you are saying. The artwork, which will hang until the end of October, is a traveling exhibit in our state of artists of many ages with developmental disabilities—challenges that may set them apart in some ways, but not in their humanity.


See my pretty, pretty rainbow
Way up high
See my pretty, pretty rainbow
Up in the big blue sky.

The raindrops and the sun will bring
Red, yellow, blue, and orange, purple, green.

Tune: Somewhere over the Rainbow

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