In response to a recent ExchangeEveryDay, a reader reached out to say she was discouraged she couldn’t do things with children in the way she really wanted to right now. Perhaps most people can relate to this. So, what are we to do? One answer is to focus on what IS possible, while also acknowledging our sadness at what we are missing (a perfectly understandable and healthy emotion).
Here are two ideas:
November 17 is National Hiking Day, and an organization called Muddy Smiles shared this information about the benefits of hiking for children and families. Even if you can’t hike in a park or forest, even hikes around the block can be invigorating. Feel free to share with families: "43 Reasons That Hiking is AMAZING for Kids"
Rusty Keeler, in his popular new book, Adventures in Risky Play: What is Your Yes?, provided this sound advice about focusing on the possible:
“Can we work to honor children’s rights and support their ideas and decision-making even within the most traditional systems? Yes…we can dream big and start small. It can start with letting go on the playground. It can start with extending schedules. It can start with loose parts and open-ended materials. It can start with really listening to what children want and need and asking, ‘How can I help? How can I support you?’ Maybe they’ll give you a ‘Best Supporting Adult’ award if you keep it up!”
What is Your Yes?
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Adventures in Risky Play: What is Your Yes? goes to the heart of risk-taking and children. As educators working with young children, we all have boundaries and feelings around what risky play is allowed. Rusty Keeler invites us to examine the cage of boundaries that we have created for ourselves and our children. He challenges us to rattle our cage and discover where the lines are movable. In our role as educators and caretakers, when we allow children to play and confront risk on their own terms, we see them develop, hold their locus of control and make choices on how to navigate the bumpy terrain of a situation. What better teaching tool for life is there?
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