Tag Archives: support

Home is where the start is

© Norah Colvin

© Norah Colvin

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.

Guiding parents in play sessions for parents and children.

Guiding parents in play sessions for parents and children. © Norah Colvin

It is these beliefs that informed my home-based business Create-a-way,

© Norah Colvin

© Norah Colvin

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.

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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

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

I’m learnerate and loving it!

In my previous post I can do this – one step at a time! I shared two words that I had just learned: illearnerate and learnacy*. I was excited by the power of their meaning and proudly declared myself to be learnerate.

But it wasn’t always that way. Like the students Guy Claxton described in his article Learning to learn: a key goal in a 21st century curriculum, I had been schooled to be illearnerate. Over time, with the opportunity to take control of my learning and follow my interests, I developed a passion for learning, especially learning about learning, and became learnerate. Enthusing others about learning has been a life-long ambition and journey.

Included in that post were two videos in which I demonstrated ways I use PowerPoint. I found out immediately after publishing that the ways I demonstrated weren’t the most efficient. I am grateful to Bec for informing me of a better way of saving PowerPoint slides as images; and also for the consideration she showed by informing me away from my blog in order to reduce the chances of my feeling  embarrassment about having  my “primitive” method pointed out (my words, not hers).

Bec’s consideration for my feelings as a learner was in great contrast to school experiences in which humiliation and ridicule seemed the preferred way of dealing with any inadequacy, real or imagined.  Whenever a lack of knowledge or skill was revealed, rather than being perceived as an opportunity for learning, it was seen as an opportunity to be singled out, chastised and embarrassed in front of as many others as possible.

sad

One particular instance stands out in my memory.  I was in year eight. History tests had been marked and handed back; all except mine.  I tentatively raised my hand and told the teacher. Wrong move. The teacher made a big show of looking for my paper, finally “finding” it in a stack of papers on the desk and announcing to the class that it had been set aside as it was such poor work and I should be thoroughly ashamed of myself.

Over the years I have come to realise that there is no shame in not knowing, or not being able to do something. It simply indicates an opportunity for learning. It is rare that someone will intentionally do less than the best they know how. If there is a better way, they need to be shown. Thank you, Bec, for showing me.

My intention for this post was, and still is, to share my recipe for Pinwheel sandwiches. At the time of making the videos used in the previous post, I had already made the PowerPoint but had not made each slide into an image for uploading to my blog. How lucky was I that Bec told me a much more efficient way before I had done so! Instead of saving as a PDF, and then snipping and saving an image of each individual slide as I had demonstrated, all I had to do was click “Save As” and select “PNG” as the file type and every slide was saved as an individual image. Simple: very quick and easy, as I demonstrate in this 90 second video!

 

And now for my pinwheel sandwiches. They also are simple, very quick and easy; very popular and just as tasty as they look!

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*Think of the terms illiterate and literacy and apply them to learning and you will have a good idea of the meaning.

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post.