Without knowing, I wanted to learn a different way.
I started working at sixteen with Kindergarten children at a daycare center. I didn’t know what the staff expected of me, so I observed and followed their lead. I had very few questions, and many, many, yes ma’ams. I was appalled by some of the behavior of the children as they ran around and cursed, and I watched as others intervened with little change to the behavior of the children. I would keep the children busy with activities. There was a concrete backyard with a few tricycles, and balls and hoop and a beautiful green front yard, that I never witnessed being used. Even at sixteen I was curious why there was Power Rangers on TV every afternoon and very little outside time or any type of free play.
Then there was the time, a couple of years after that experience when I was a camp counselor. Outside time all day, filled with hikes, sports, downtime and free swim. Everyday was different. The kids looked forward to each day as an adventure, each ranging in age from nine to twelve years old. They were excited of the freedom from being away from home. I enjoyed the freedom too. As a camp counselor I had a lot of flexibility on what adventures we would be partaking in for the day. As long as I was with the children at all times and they were safe and we were back at mealtimes we could do our different activities with little to no supervision from other staff. I saw parts of nature I had never experienced. I worked with people from all over the world and all different types of personalities and I loved the work. The kids were growing out of their comfort zones (of what they knew) and so was I.
Since that was over 20 years ago, I’ve worked with many other philosophies in between then and now, ones where I was the teacher with the knowledge at the head of the class and the child the pupil in need of instruction. And others where I was a facilitator in the background for the children’s learning. What I’ve come to know and love is that children LOVE TO LEARN, so much that they may like it in any flavor or philosophy. And what I observed is that those children that continue to love learning have been able to facilitate part of their learning, even if facilitating means saying, WHEN.