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Using Our Voices with the Young Child, Part 1 by Jennifer Sullivan

This piece, taken from Jennifer’s 2013 LifeWays paper on "Becoming Worthy of Imitation," is the first of three installments on “Using Our Voices.”

My World of Language

When I first discovered my daughter was hiding snug in my tummy, my life changed.  As the months progressed, I found myself humming quietly as I prepared for her arrival.  I did not seem to notice the drastic changes within myself until I had spent weeks, perhaps months, after the birth staring at her beautiful body and witnessing the life that was continuously transformed in front of me. 

The Grace of Illness in a Fast-paced World by Jane Sustar

“A mighty creature is the germ,

Though smaller than a pachyderm.

His customary dwelling place

Is deep within the human race.

His childish pride he often pleases

By giving people strange diseases.

Do you, my poppet, feel infirm?

You probably contain a germ.”

-Ogden Nash

Childhood at a Child's Pace by Beret Isaacson

Beret writes: One of the things I love most about the LifeWays approach to early childhood is the respect given to a child's pace. Children are given ample time to get through any given activity. They are not rushed or told to hurry. Adults do not do things for them even though it may be easier and faster in the moment. Once they are old enough, they are given the time and support needed to complete their own tasks, such as hanging up their coats, getting dressed, etc. Mealtimes and snack times are sit down events, allowing for good digestion, appreciation of the food that has been prepared and each other's company. Lots of time is spent in free play, both inside and outdoors. Adult led academic learning is delayed until grade school. This allows time for the child to grow a healthy physical body, which is the main task of the first seven years.

The Innate Brilliance of Children by Judith Frizlen

Judy writes: Children have an internal program that drives them to meet challenges and to practice new skills through play. Just as we do not need to teach a child to walk, we do not, and cannot, teach children how to play.  Although fair play and social skills are not innate, the desire to work through life's circumstances through creative free play is innate. Since children cannot intellectualize their experiences, they play them out with their bodies, and in doing so, they practice skills and learn how life works.

At My Child's Pace by Jennifer Sullivan

Jennifer writes: I am one of those people.  One of those annoying people that cannot be quite satisfied with the way I am.  What I mean is, although I make changes and have even completely transformed since let’s say five years ago, I know I can always improve.  To the people around me this comes across as though I am too hard on myself, as though I feel my accomplishments are not good enough.  They are good—in fact they are great, perhaps even somewhat astonishing considering the path I was on ten years ago—I just wouldn’t throw that word enough in there.  I don’t believe that when it comes to my children, the word enough should ever apply. 

Our children are our teachers.

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