I am feeling ambitious and excited. Lately I have all sorts of big dreams and goals to help change our collective views of babies, young children, play and the task of educating and caring for them. I want to be a foot soldier in the fight against these sick ideas that pushing one-size-fits-all curriculum on younger and younger children. I mean I must be pretty serious because I started this wordpress site and even a facebook page of the same name!
I recognize these are lofty and idealistic goals that much more experienced people have been fighting for much longer than I’ve been paying attention. It is clear to me these will not be achieved over night. While I patiently work and wait for this glorious day of social revolution in our field, I have a more reasonable and medium-long term goal: a public awareness campaign asking parents to stop sending their children to us in lace-up Converse shoes.
Every second we are with your Converse-clad child – lacing, unlacing, pulling back the floppy canvas sides and trying to force their heel into the back of the shoe, double knotting the laces – is a waste of valuable time that your child can be playing. And when I say playing I mean:
- learning about themselves, the world and their place in it,
- learning about their peers and how to get along with them,
- building their gross motor skills, strength, balance, coordination,
- learning to assess and take risks and build their confidence,
- and basically learning, growing and developing in every possible way you can imagine!
I hope my intended mostly tongue-in-cheek tone is coming across properly here. Lace up Converse shoes are not the worst thing to happen to childhood, but they do drive me and quite a few other educators a bit crazy! I realize I am adding a bit to the mountains of judgement, pressure and flack that parents get every day in today’s world. I am just respectfully asking parents to consider sending their young children to us in shoes and clothes they have an actual chance of learning to put on themselves! Let them get on with the important task of playing!