Monday, May 28, 2012

natural play: learning through imitation

North's '3 lighthouses' made from clay while I was doing my own clay modelling assignments for school

It's amazing how much of my study seems to surface in our day to day lives. Steiner always urged those who attended his lectures never to take his word for anything, but to go out and test and experience everything he said. I am certainly doing that- taking everything I read with a grain of salt and picking and choosing here and there. But the core of his messages, teachings and philosophy of education seems to be reflected quite clearly in our home.

Indigo having a go at cutting (with a wooden knife and play food)

North has been TV-free (except for a few videos on long flights) since he was about 18 months old. Indigo has been TV-free her whole life- she's almost 2 now. It's now come to a point where I don't consider TV an option even when I'm trying to get dinner on, the children are tired and grumpy and everything seems to be unravelling. It's just not a part of our family life. And as a result, I really believe my kids have had more time than most to learn how to play. It sounds silly, because you'd think that children would just naturally know how to play... and they do if they are given enough opportunities to practice: they practice through imitation. When my children are playing imitatively, they are more focused, calm and centred than at any other time. If I allowed them to wash clothes and dishes in the bathtub all day, they surely would. They adore 'meaningful work' more than anything else- helping with dinner, sweeping the floors, setting the table, raking the leaves, passing me pegs to hang the laundry... it gives them such satisfaction.
 North 'writing' a story. We were on a bush walk and came across some charcoal.

 For more information on the importance of imitation in childhood (especially from ages 0-7), I recommend this insightful article by Joop van Dam called Understanding Imitation through a Deeper Look at Human Development. For more information about our TV-free journey please see these back posts.
 North hanging his doll's clothes to dry after washing them by hand

I know I haven't always made the best parenting decisions for my children, but I can honestly say I am so happy and proud that we have decided out children will be TV-free through their early years. We won't be TV-free forever, but for now, I am so very grateful that we are. 


motherwho said...

Great that you are so committed to this Megan! I really do admire you for it, particularly in the early evening hours.

Natalie said...

I love the photos of your kids hard at play (work!). I love being TV free, it gives such peacefulness to a house when it is free from constant noise.
I'm working on slowing down and letting my nearly 18 mo daughter participate in household activities. It really is so much easier to just set her up elsewhere and go and do it myself. But there's some much more joy and learning when we take the time to do it together (and frustration too on my part.. working on that as well!).

Kate said...

Some lovely ideas, I've also been moving more and more towards a steiner way of doing things. Each time I read and implement a little more the more I want to do. Great to see your little one's growing up

Mama Nature said...

This reminds me of the term "role model" or "mentor". I think the thing I benefited most from as a young adult was my mentors. Not everybody has the strength and support to put things aside and make raising healthy children the biggest priority in their life. Things can get in the way- especially money and work. But in my opinion those things aren't worth much because someday the child go on and contribute to the health of our planet and their children. It's really the only important thing a parent leaves behind when they leave this world- is the generation they have created. Idk. Thank you for this. It speaks to me in so many ways!

I wish we could be TV free. Is it too late for my 5 and 7 year old? I'm afraid they would hate me :(

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