I am ghostwriting a few chapters on child development right now and found that I needed to fact check a few of the points that I was writing this weekend. I have boxes upon boxes of reference materials as well as all my notebooks and textbooks from when I was in college. I was extremely organized in college and all my notes are colored coded and all my textbooks are highlighted in all the important places, which is great when I need to access some of my materials.
Anyway, as I was sorting through some of the reference materials, I came across an excerpt by Helen Keller (1880-1968) in my many handouts, that is wonderful and I wanted to share it with you. If you are unfamiliar with Helen Keller, I would strongly recommend her book, The Story of My Life. She was an amazing woman that accomplished much in her life.
This little excerpt that I am sharing with you was inspired by Dr. Montessori, the founder of the Montessori curriculum that is still taught by many schools and has been incorporated into many toys that we find on the market, but we’ll talk about models of education at some other time. For now, let’s simply enjoy the words of Helen Keller because they are very accurate and true.
“I believe that every child has hidden away somewhere in his being noble capacities which may be quickened and developed if we go about it in the right way, but we shall never properly develop the higher nature of our little ones while we continue to fill their minds with the so-called basics.
Mathematics will never make them loving nor will accurate knowledge of the size and shape of the world help them appreciate its beauties.
Let us lead them during the first years to find their greatest pleasure in nature.
Let them run in fields, learn about animals and observe real things.
Children will educate themselves under the right conditions.
They require guidance and sympathy far more then instruction.”
I know you are probably wondering why I posted this when I talk about teaching history and science and having mini projects but everything that I mention goes with the poem above. The mini projects are there to help you open up the world of possibilities for your child. When he or she opens a door to explore the life-cycle of a butterfly, having a parent who can guide him or her through the door will enable your child to learn in a way that is beneficial and fun. Remember that children learn through play and making learning an enjoyable and play filled experience will pave the way for learning as they grow.
So I hope you enjoyed Helen Keller’s words and sorry if I waxed poetic.
Sirena Van Schaik