There's so much lately that I've learned recently about the different ways in which different areas and schools setup their day for small children. Some areas allow more free play time while others expect these little children to be confined to their chairs all day long. Some areas seem to have a strong grasp on "letting them be little" while others want something different. And sometimes because of this, a diagnosis of hyperactive disorders or more is given to a child as their new label simply because they couldn't sit still.
Sometimes it's simply because we didn't "Let Them Be Little."
This mindset to let our children be little is no new mindset. That short quote that is so famously placed on clothes or art work for nurseries is nothing new; it's a phrase we have all heard at least once.
Yet we still forget it so often, even us mothers.
Whether it's our schools, our nation or simply our own self as a tired and worn out mama, we sometimes forget to "Let Them Be Little." We forget that little children learn from exploring; that they learn from sometimes breaking the rules. And by rules, I simply mean those rules that say we should expect them to sit still all day long or those rules that us mothers sometimes forget when our toddler just wants to touch any and everything they can.
We forget that learning is fun, magical and wild; somewhat like life. Life is full of fun and magic and full of so many wild moments. That's how learning should be. Learning should be full of colors, full of dirt and full of play. It should be full of magic.
Even I have to remember myself to "Let Them Be Little" and to let them learn on their own terms in the best way possible. Something as simple as having my toddler help me cook dinner or fix breakfast can create a moment of learning. Shoveling in the dirt no matter how dirty she may get, is an avenue full of exploration and learning. Whether it's gluing beans on to the letter "B" or lacing beads on a string, there's endless opportunities to open the door to playful and fun learning. It's allowing her to be little and for curiosity to wander until answers are found.
So while we can't always control what may happen in our children's school days, we can control what goes on at home. Teachers are wonderful, extraordinary people who spend their days working with our children. But let's not forget that we are teachers too; we are their first and most important teacher they will ever have. We can set the foundation of fun and magical learning in our home and hope that somewhere along the way, others leading them will also remember to "Let Them Be Little."
Let them run.
Let them talk.
Let them get dirty.
Let them help.
Let them explore.
Let them throw leaves.
Let them color outside of the lines.
And let them laugh until their belly hurts.
They are only little for so long and we owe it to them to "Let Them Be Little."
So let's try to not label our children anything other than Little.
"The task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility and evil with activity." -- Maria Montessori
“...my object is to show that the chief function of the child--his business in the world during the first six or seven years of his life--is to find out all he can, about whatever comes under his notice, by means of his five senses...”
― Charlotte M. Mason