I dont know about you folks, but these days my reading is mostly limited to cereal boxes, bills, and 'inspirational' email that no amount of protest can prevent my mother from forwarding.
Thankfully, Teacher K knows how to cut through that haze. Our latest reading assignment is the excellent 'Rec1aiming Chi1dhood: Letting Chi1dren Be Chi1dren in 0ur Achievement-0riented Society,' and it is a pleasure. I won't bore you with a rehash since by now youve already read it; instead, Ill tell you what I walked away with: a renewed appreciation for patience.
You are probably thinking, "I've got patience coming out of my ears! Am I not a parent? Do I not work in a co-op?" And yes, dearies, youre right. You are and you do. But the patience this book advocates is not the kind that keeps you from flushing certain types of electronic toys down the toilet, or from locking your child in a sound proof room after a particularly trying day.
This book describes the kind of patience needed to afford your child the opportunities to create their own learning experiences, without adult interference or prodding. I know this is an Iron Gate credo, but it is still--for me at least--not always easy to remember while in the trenches. I too often find myself wanting to shape the kids' experiences instead of letting them be.
When I can remember to maintain patience, to watch rather than interject, the rewards are multiple. The child I think might be angry at another instead shrugs and offers to help the other out. Dumping a bin of blocks turns out to be a deliberate exercise in taming chaos. And, most deliciously, when not forcing myself on the children, I often later get invited to join in the fun.
My Nice Twin Writes for Iron Gate