In the Early Learning Center, we have the unique opportunity to observe “aha” moments on a daily basis. When a child takes their first steps, or when they mix red and blue paint for the first time (and suddenly see they have created purple), the expression on their face says “wow, so that’s how it’s done!” When they add baking soda and vinegar to gelatin and create a volcanic eruption, children are elated and amazed. For children the world is a playground and every minute is a potential “aha” moment. Children understand fun. Completely. Kids will find something new and exciting from very ordinary things. It’s their level of curiosity, risk taking attitude, lack of inhibition that allows them to do this. One of the messages we send out resoundingly to our staff is that the best laid plans don’t always go the way you intended. Children have different agendas and we want the staff to support and elevate that learning.
One morning, I observed a beautifully set up classroom with a variety of materials to explore and experiment with. One of the children requested some masking tape. She began to place the tape on the floor and quickly looked for objects to use for measurement. Among her items was some glass beads. As she began to place them one by one, count them, compare which row was longer and which was shorter another child began to form a grid. That little boy was adding groups of ten beads at a time and counting them up. More children gathered around forgoing the other beautifully set up centers. The mathematical skills and learning that took place was not “planned” by the teacher but rather supported organically. What an “aha” moment it was for me!
We can learn a lot from children. Take risks, learn something new every day, embrace your flaws, use your imagination and smile more. Children do it 400 times a day!