Seeing Eye-to-Eye with Early Learners
When I was in High School I took a Child Development Class. I learned one of the most useful, most memorable lessons in this class. The teacher had half of the class make a craft while standing at tables. The other half of us had to get down on our knees and maneuver the classroom. It was so interesting to see life from that level. I could only see the bottom of the table, the sides of my classmates legs, etc. They were moving all over the classroom getting supplies for their craft. It was a little frustrating to only be able to see bits and pieces. It really opened my eyes to how children must feel.
You have heard the saying “until you have walked a mile in their shoes”, this was a lesson in just that. Now, I constantly put myself in the children’s shoes. Even if it means getting on my knees to see what they see. I am not suggesting you go that far. (Although, you could try it from time to time.) You can, however, get down to their level when talking with children, it makes such a difference. Imagine talking to someone 7 feet tall? It is the same thing for children, only daily. Isn’t it much easier to connect when you can look into someone’s eyes?
I would also encourage you to survey rooms either from your child’s view or at least to imagine it from their view. Is it interesting? Is it over or under stimulating? Is it comfortable? Can my child reach everything he/she is supposed to be able to? Is there anything I would prefer he/she doesn’t touch? I promise you, you will see things you never expected. Life can be pretty dull at 3 feet. Ask yourself, can I make their experience in this room better?
Lastly, when it is appropriate, bring your child to your level and show him/her your world (or at least your view of it). When you are holding your child explain things, ask if they can see something, point out what you see… explore. Have them stand on a stair or a hill so they are at the same eye level too. You will be amazed at the simple things you can enjoy with your child by being able to share the same view.
Enjoy the simple things. They are here only for a moment.