By Tyler Starbard, Dandelions teacher
As humans we want to feel self-sufficient, meaningful, and helpful. There is satisfaction in looking upon our own work, just as there is reverence in admiring the meaningful work of others. These positive emotions broaden perception, range of thought and build self-esteem. They can turn enduring activities into joy and they can fuel our drive. A job well done is a good reward in its own right, but there’s more.
Children watching adults involved in meaningful work are learning how to be human; they biologically expect to learn by watching (and asking what? and why?)
We can support children to participate in worthwhile efforts by modeling the simple tasks that make up the important things that need to be done each day.
Through observing the care, tribulations, and pleasures associated with the projects we undertake as adults, children are developing functions of their own capacities. As a model it is important to keep in mind that true self esteem comes from feeling genuine competence, not performing for an adult's praise. By demonstrating and developing our own competencies we are laying the foundation for children to live in similar ways. To go about one's business in a meaningful self-directed way is to add to life in present and in future.
Children also attach emotions to events, so if we are joyful in work, they will associate that task with joy.
Soon you'll be turning work into story time for your young ones.
Simple activities to model for children: reading, writing, creating, mending, gardening, bird watching, building, washing dishes, sweeping, folding laundry, weeding, moving rock, brick or lumber...
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Wild Roots staff authors include Erin Boehme, Lia Grippo, CJ Cintas, Anne McCarthy, Tyler Starbard, Jenn Sepulveda, Heather Young, Amalia Smith Hale, Natalia Pareja...