Sunday, June 22, 2014

Learning Outside

After months or maybe years of trying, our little one has finally played with other kids at the park. She was very shy or scared perhaps before. She would usually run away or cry when other kids come near her. But this time, she played side by side with kids more or less the same age as hers. l think she even suggested the smaller kids to put their hands up while descending the slide. Our little one is just 33 months old by the way. She doesn't have any other regular playmates besides mom and dad since we live overseas where there is language, religion and culture barrier. She has never attended toddler classes nor daycare as l am an overprotective stay at home mom. But maybe just maybe... l can let go now & be a little less me and let my little one be independent without me watching her every move. l saw in the playground her independence, gross motor strengths, waiting skills, kindness and friendliness, seeks us when she needs help removing the sand out of her shoes and most important of all, her better judgement of not doing the dangerous games the older kids are doing. We taught her well. Though she didn't speak too much with the kids because we speak a different language. The language of play and games was enough for her and her playmates to have fun at the park. 

l feel very accomplished as a parent. l guess I'll be counting more of  these kinds of (small) achievements from now on. Which reminds me too of an article I read a couple of months ago...

71 Things Your Child Needs to Learn Before Kindergarten The article listed traits and skills regarding personal/social development, language, math, gross and fine motor skills which are necessary in kindergarten. What struck me the most is the part on social development.
Personal and Social Development
 Approach to learning
  • Shows eagerness and curiosity as a learner
  • Persists in task and seeks help when encountering a problem
  • Is generally pleasant and cooperative
  • Follows rules and routines
  • Manages transitions (going from one activity to the next)
  • Demonstrates normal activity level 
Interactions with Others
  • Interacts easily with one or more children
  • Interacts easily with familiar adults
  • Participates in group activities
  • Plays well with others
  • Takes turns and shares
  • Cleans up after play
Conflict Resolution
  • Seeks adult help when needed to resolve conflicts
  • Uses words to resolve conflicts
I anticipated that we might run across problems with social skills and language when we decided to live here. I thought our little one might be a little delayed on that part. But she surprisingly is at par with the list. Thank God.

With our milestone at the park, I think our little one is more or less ready for kindergarten. Though we are not forcing her to go just yet. She's only about to turn 3 and going to formal classes might be too early. She still needs to play and enjoy other things around her without any strict structure and schedule. Child initiated games might be more beneficial for her (and for everyone else around her as I know I have a very strong willed child) to learn and to prepare herself more for a regular academic setting. And this post on The Atlantic supports our decision not to send her to school yet : Why Free Play is The Best Summer School

Sooner or later, our little one will go out to school and out into the real world where my arms won't be there to guide and protect her. I just hope we are preparing her well to keep her (and other kids too) safe and to enjoy life whatever it brings. 

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