Sunday, June 28, 2009

Do Kids Come From a Place We've Forgotten?

The recent posts about our child storytellers and poets continue to inspire thought provoking commentary.

My friend Susan shared a story from her then 4-year-old son Reid:

When I was a baby I had these minds in my head and they confused me, but now I’m grown up. I know what they are.

She goes on to ask:

Do kids come to us slowly, from another place we’ve forgotten?

I was hanging out that question when I received a message from Sharon, a fellow teacher and new friend, who commented on the post about Jarin’s poem:

What a wonderful mother to truly listen and respect the wisdom of her child who lives in a world of living metaphor (as children do at that age).

Perhaps this “world of living metaphor” is that forgotten place from which our children slowly emerge. And I think it’s a place that many of us do forget unless we have children around to remind us. This is our lost Eden, in a sense, and while we’ll never return, at least we can occasionally smell those heady flowers and see those miraculous sights through the senses of our kids.

And when we turn the metaphorical keys over to our very young tour guides, we stand to be improved by the experience. Sharon went on to comment about Jarin’s switching beds because “there was a bad dream in my bed”:

His solution reminds me of the technique I learned for myself in the '80's, which so many people know. If one is troubled by a thought one can put it in a balloon and watch it sail away. Or one can rise above the part of the self that is experiencing this thought and look down on her and say, "Interesting." When I know I can separate myself from the thought/image, I liberate myself. Next time I have a troubling thought I'm going to sleep on the couch.

The tagline at the top of this blog is: “Reflections on teaching and learning from preschoolers.” I suspect this is true for every teacher, no matter the age of his students, but teaching preschoolers is definitely a system in which the education flows in both directions.

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