Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Hands off...

When we are playing outside I try to have a hands off approach - to give the children a chance to test out their own abilities, to give the children the power to understand their own capabilities and their own limitations and to take pride in all their achievements... it also encourages them to try out new things, collaborate with friends to work out how to get up/across/under/over etc... it can also mean that those children who sit and want to be pushed on the swing all the time actually are more active - either off the swing or on the swing... does make me feel a bit mean at times when I refuse to lift children up on playground equipment or when we are in the woods... and sometimes I am aware of strange looks from onlooking parents... I got one the other day and found myself explaining...

... strange because a little doubt does sneak in...

But lucky for me I got to film the very next day why I feel it is such a good approach giving me the strength to push out those doubts. I filmed and filmed a 2 year old trying to get up on the longer slide... he kept looking at me and wanting me to lift him up - I gently explained that I would not that he needed to work it out for himself. He tried and tried and tried. Frustrated huffs and puffs and the odd look back at me for help... and then all of a sudden he did it... he managed to get up. His face became one GIANT smile, his whole body exuded pride. He went down the slide and came back.

But then he could not get up again. He looked at me for help and I simply answered "But I know you can do it". He tried and tried and tried. And yes he did it again.

I have a total of 15 short films ... showing the struggle, the determination and the pride of one child's journey to be a more competent climber...


  1. I have photos of my grandson trying to climb up a kid sized rock slide. He struggled too but each day we would go back and he would try again. Yesterday, he surprised us both by climbing right up. I don't really even know why it was so easy for him.

    The really interesting thing is how we can tend to think young children have short attention spans and give up easily but this shows that when a child really wants to do something he has the determination, drive, attention span to get the job done!

    I love your observations - simply wonderful!

  2. maybe he was just looking back at you for encouragement :)

    1. I totally agree, there were looks where he sought encouragement, but there were also the frustrated looks of why aren't you picking me up that came with a huff and I always responded that I knew he could... and then he would try again... but the very first attempt most definitely came with the look of "lift me up" and the word "up"...

      It was a full 20 minutes of trying and trying and trying, succeeding and then trying trying and trying - the third time went faster to achieve and then after that he more or less did it within three attempts.

      It was truly amazing to watch, the focus and the determination to master this skill.