Ok. Snow day today. I could have slept in, except I woke up thinking......I could be asleep right now if it were not for the thinking in my brain. And what, you may ask, was I thinking about? You got it.....what are today's children missing in life? I mean, we have catalogs full of sensory, learning, and behavior solutions.
For example, Integrations "Cuddle Loop": a stretchable snugly that provides a swaddle effect for a restless child. We went through a time of school when teachers became afraid of touching children. Yet, at my grad school, we had a rule: 12 hugs a day were the minimum and we were adults. So don't our children need 12 hugs too? Maybe they are not getting that touch anymore. Maybe with the onslaught of both parents working, early infant daycare, isolated cribs, etc., our children have developed these sensory deficits. When I review the catalog, I see a lot of "things" and "solutions" that remind me of good old-fashioned toys. Could it be that with computers, video games, TV, and commercial childcare, our children now lack real opportunities for play?
I wonder if in a city such as Reggio Emilia, Italy, which boasts of the best early childhood centers in the world, their children have as much sensory dysfunction as it seems American children have developed. I highly doubt it, for they have learned throughout the years that play is a child's work. I think that it makes the American Dollar look bad for trying to sell these things when for the most part, children if left to themselves, don't need. They just need time and encouragement.
I still give hugs to my students. My 7 year old who developmentally like a 2 year old in a lot of ways, often needs that full frontal hug. We should not be afraid to give children what they need.
My next thought all night was this: we have wonderful service people in our school systems such as Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, and Music Therapists. Yet problems arise daily in the general ed classes with children becoming stressed out, fatigued, and anxious. Why are we not seeking their help when it comes to general ed classrooms? Most of these classes have an overwhelming literacy environment, they sit in chairs too long, and have little playtime. We buy them a rocker, child size furniture for the Library area, SMART boards, but nothing to help these tykes with the wiggle factor. For the price of one Reading Rocker at $96.00, we could purchase 3 chair disks for 3 children.
Just a guess, but it almost seems that younger teachers are no longer encouraged to be creative in their approach to the class environment but to just buy as much as they can at the education store and plaster it everywhere. Speaking for myself, when I see a wall with words everywhere, I am overstimulated. Now, try to look at it through the eyes of a young child.