Early childhood years, from 0-8, are the formative years. It is during these years that most is learned. Children learn about the world through their explorations. They learn about themselves through the responses they receive from others, and learn about others through these responses also. Attitudes to most things begin in the home.
Children require warm, nurturing, positive relationships that demonstrate the way life should be lived, in actions, not just words. As Anne Goodwin, former psychologist says, the interactions with significant adults will greatly influence the adult that the child becomes.
If home is where it starts, then we can’t wait until the children are of school age. By then it’s too late. It is relatively undisputed that it is difficult for children to catch up what may have been missed in those early years. Sadly, much of the intense formal work in school does more to alienate these children further, rather than improve their opportunities for learning.
Therefore, we must begin in the home, and I don’t mean with formal structured programs. I mean with fun activities that validate parents and children and provide them with opportunities and suggestions for participation and learning.
It is these beliefs that informed my home-based business Create-a-way,
and my idea for an early learning caravan that, staffed with an early childhood educator, would
- go to the parents and children in their neighbourhoods, meeting in a local park or community greenspace, on regular weekly occasions;
- invite parents to talk with, read to and play with their children using provided books, games and toys;
- model positive parenting behaviour, explaining to parents the benefits to their children of engaging with them in activities and discussions;
- provide suggestions for inexpensive and easy activities to do at home;
- encourage borrowing from a book and toy library.
Of course, for many parents, such as those reading this post, nurturing a child’s development is almost second nature. They have the education and resources, and a belief in the benefits, to empower them to nurture their children’s development. They require little additional support.
Requiring most support are those without the benefits of education, resources or a belief that life could be improved. If all they have experienced through school systems is failure and rejection, they will have difficulty in perceiving any purpose in trying. It is these parents and their children that we need to reach. If they feel valued, they in turn may find value in others. If we improve the lives of those marginalised by poverty or lack of education, it must contribute to improving our society, and our world, in general. This will help us to feel safe in our homes, in our localities and in the wider world.
This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills is talking about homes and the importance of having a roof over our heads. The way we treat each other, especially those hurting, indicates there is a greater need for compassion and for those in need to receive a helping a hand.
In my response to Charli’s flash fiction challenge to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about home, I attempt to show that the situation in which one is raised is not always a self-fulfilling prophecy. Out of the cruellest situations, hope can be born. We, as a society, need to do what we can to give hope to many more, to help break the cycle of despair.
The birth of Hope
Startled by the blueness of eyes and the intensity of unfamiliar feelings, she suddenly relaxed, as if finally, home.
She’d not known home before: not locked in a room with hunger the only companion; not shivering through winters, barefoot and coatless; not showered with harsh words and punishments.
She’d sought it elsewhere, mistaking attention for something more. When pregnancy ensued; he absconded. They kicked her out.
Somehow she’d found a place to endure the inconvenience. Once it was out, she’d be gone.
But now, feeling unexpectedly connected and purposeful, she glimpsed something different —a new start, lives entwined: home.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.