Childhood Values ‘still intact’

Instilling values in our children should not be a thing of the past but must become an everyday practice. As educators we can even use it as a tool to enhance the development process of children.
I remember as a child, having to say good morning to every person (especially adults)I pass on the road. It was a tradition of a sort to practice ‘your manners’, and that included the ‘please and thank you’. We grew up in an age where it was unacceptable to be ‘rude or obnoxious’. Our parents made sure we valued their teachings, and the way it was done was either by daily verbal reminders or the ‘rod of correction’.
Times have changed, our children are no longer keen on just accepting what we want to pass on as family values. They are more open to creating for themselves their own value system. My 10 year old, recently made a comment that had me thinking, “why I have to take what you say as the best solution? can’t I come up with my own?” I stood amazed at her ‘sauciness’ but realized she has come of age and is at the stage where everything is questioned. Of course she’s allowed to think for herself but, I would like to believe family values are like heirlooms that must be embraced and treasured.
Let’s think about MANNERS for instance. My parents taught us that “manners and behavior carry you through the world. So, we grew up as a generation of mannerly kids. Last week, I heard a young man remarked, “Manners and behavior don’t carry you through the world anymore, it’s boat and plane”. This might sound hilarious, but it also saddens me because we see the daily decay of our society and can link it to so many lost values. Our world is not the same. The value system has change but for us in the field of education our daily reminders of, “Please use your please and thank you’ still matter. Let’s not make the planes crash and the boats sink with the values we grew up on, keep on sailing on flying the flag of ‘good parental upbringing’.

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I am in the process of interviewing prospective teachers for the new school year. Today, I was so refreshed with one young lady I interviewed for a lead teacher position. She said, “I love what I do, and if you tell me you can’t pay me, I’ll still do it. It’s in here, (caressing her heart). I smiled, it reminded me of me. There were times I worked all summer without a paycheck because there wasn’t enough to go around, but for the love of what I do, I stayed on. You see, teaching is a calling of the heart. you  dare not become a teacher if your ‘heart strings’ do not pulsate with excitement about your children. When one decides to go into the teaching profession, the first word you have to embrace is commitment. You have to commit to being faithful to your job and the children that are placed in your hands to educate.

So yes, my prospective teacher thrilled my heart. She said, “I just want to pour into  them so that they can become scholars”. With zeal like that half the job is done. As teachers, we need to rekindle the flame for the passion of what we do. Many of us get burned out and frustrated over time, but as you self assess and recalculate, you come to realize the journey is  not over once there are eager eyes and inquiring minds depending on you. and so you trudge on being the best teacher you can be.

Childhood Play

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If it’s one thing I look back on my childhood and smile about is the opportunities I had as a child to ‘run free’ and play. Play became such an integral part of my growing up days that when I started to teach at the young age of 17 years, I was still very much acting out my childhood in play.  As I begin to research the value o f play, it is clear to me that if children are not given the opportunity to play, their creativity can be stifled or even become extinguished. So why is play so important to the young child? Countless research have shown that play is an integral part of the early childhood years. It opens up the door for development in all the necessary areas of learning. Play opens the door for a child to develop personality and character.

K. Almon (2002), said” Play helps children weave together all the elements of life as they experience it”. Growing up was fun days for us – my siblings and I, mainly because we got to play and socialized with our friends everyday. We had no ‘play dates’ but we had play days. The weekends were spent creating new games, experimenting with new toys we made together. And as our camaraderie grew so did our communication and our language ability.

So yes, ‘Play Matters’. It is said that play takes up between 3% to 20% of young children’s time and energy. When children play, they are creating opportunities for cognitive, physical, emotional. social and language development. As educators therefore, it is our duty to create opportunities for children in our care to spend quality time playing.

For those of us who are parents of young children, you’re never too old to play and ‘romp’ with your children. The giggles are collected as payments for making yourself look like a ‘big kid” (according to my husband).

“When you ask me what I’ve done at school today,

And I say, “I just played”

Please don’t misunderstand me, For you see, I’m learning as I play.

I’m learning to enjoy and be successful in my work.

I’m preparing for tomorrow. Today, I am a child, my work is play.  (Author Unknown)

Reference:

Almon, K.(2002)The vital Role of Play in early childhood education.

 

 

 

“Education is …

This picture was drawn by one of my Pre K children. It represents her spirit - free, she is a nature baby, so the wind, the sun, the green grass and the beautiful sky is her playground.
This picture was drawn by one of my Pre K children. It represents her spirit – free, she is a nature baby, so the wind, the sun, the green grass and the beautiful sky is her playground.
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My Favorite Childhood Book. This book was read at Christmas mainly because of the amount of baking that was done in our house. Our family was large, 11  children, so the Gingerbread man represented the one less mouth to feed when he ran away, :)
My Favorite Childhood Book. This book was read at Christmas mainly because of the amount of baking that was done in our house. Our family was large, 11 children, so the Gingerbread man represented the one less mouth to feed when he ran away, 🙂

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“Education is an investment that brings future dividends” (Caren Charles- De Freitas)

Childhood Days

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Growing up poor was a blessing in disguise, since the place where I am today, has taught me to be appreciative of all Life’s Littles & Bounties. I know what it is to go to bed with just enough to make you sleep the first round, before waking up feeling like something was clawing in your stomach. I know what it is to feel like a ‘glutton’ because you overeat just for ‘the heck of it’. And yes, sometimes I do as a requiem for my past. Today, I’ve learnt to be mindful of the things others take for granted. For example, getting up to a variety spread for breakfast was a dream to me as a child not a reality. Getting a hot lunch at school was not something we had in my days growing up. I remember we had to walk or run almost two miles to go home for lunch, and still having to go back to school hungry because there was nothing to eat. That’s why I chose “When Life is All You Have” as my six words of entry.

Yes, we made the best of what we had. We wanted to make it better for our children, so we willed ourselves to learn. Today, I look back and I smile at the journey and pat myself for triumphing over the odds. And so I say, it matters not what life throws you, hit it with all you got. Make lemonade with your lemons and drink a toast to better things to come.

Today, as I see the struggles in some of our inner cities, I reflect on my past and determine within myself to do as the late Michael Jackson said, “Make a Change”. Not for my children only, but for the world of expectant faces, hungry gazes, sad countenances we see everyday. How do I do that? By being the best teacher I can be, by giving my students hope for the future, by imparting knowledge so they can succeed, because ‘When Life is All You Have’, you just have to make 

make the best of it.

When life is all you have.