When my daughter was a baby, I took her to the park...I remember the first time I put her in that baby swing...What a thrill for both of us. A beautiful experience.
To me, the swings looked exactly the same...The words almost slipped right out of my mouth..."They're the same...Ava, You don't need to swing on that one too."
But, because I was a First time mom and eager for my baby to explore all there is in this world and formulate her own opinions...
I put her in the other swing...
I was so ready for the "I told you So" moment...(they really are the same, aren't they?!).
However, right away, we both noticed...This swing SQUEAKS very loudly...and wait a minute...I think it's a little shorter than the other one.
She was in awe.
Frankly, so was I.
She pointed to the other swing and yes, we switched between the swings over and over again. It was obvious that she was very much in control of her learning and she "needed" to understand the differences between these 2 swings.
It was so funny...Because, the swings were NOT the same at all.
Since, that moment...I have heard many a parent say the exact thing that I was thinking, to their own children.
"Those funnels are the same..."
"This is the same block he has."
"I gave you the same amount as I gave your brother."
Wow, the amazing brilliance of children, their brains are constantly telling them to look for "nuances" ...How is this alike?
How is it different?"
But, over and over, adults try to STOP this thinking. We take the shortcuts and teach our children to do the same.
We don't mean to, but we teach them NOT to be curious...NOT to Wonder.
What is the same about all of us?
We ALL want to understand our Uniqueness to this world.
We ALL want to see how important we are to someone else.
We ALL want to bring our individuality to the collective.
So, if you really think about it...When you tell your child something is really the same...
You're telling them that they are the same.
Looking for the differences in other things, in other people, in nature, in Art, in Microbial Samples is what leads to a deeper understanding.
Largely, it helps us all understand our unique Value to this world.
My parents never treated my sister and I "the same". This was a concept I never thought about until I had my own children.
Mom never really used the word, "Fair" with us.
Not, a hard lesson I had to learn, it was just the way it was.
The emphasis at our house was taking care of each other.
Everyone was important but we all needed different things.
We learned to be there for one another and understanding.
Every child's education and childhood should be "special".
And, that's why I don't do Standardized very well.
If there was one thing I would recommend we standardize, it would be...
Respect for each other.
Respect for the individual.
Respect for the collective.
My 2nd year teaching, I had a little boy who had a lot of trouble sitting still or listening while I read a story...
I remember, I told my assistant to sit beside him or have him sit in her lap (I did not want to separate him from the group)...
She said, "Will that be fair to the other children? Won't they want a turn to sit in my lap too?"
I remember, I felt confused because I thought in my head, "Of course it's fair. The other children don't need the extra help to listen to a story."
The funny thing is...most of the time, children easily understand this adult concept "fair".
I don't remember one of them questioning why he got to sit in Nancy's lap...
It just made sense to them.
We all learn in different ways. We all need help in different ways.
We all understand in different ways.
A favorite quote from the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy...
"Io Chi Siamo"...which means "I am Who We Are".