Written by Diane Mourot
“There is a dryer vent that breathes out hot steam that smells like summer. You could curl up below it and have a nap.”
Small in the City by Sydney Smith
“In Mammaw’s big kitchen, sunlight poured through the windows like a waterfall and spilled over the countertops, pooling up on the checkerboard floor.“
Saturdays and Teacakes by Lester L. Laminack, illustrated by Chris Soentpiet
When I was a child, some of my biggest moments were where I felt warm, where I felt a sense of wonder at being in a specific time and place and being allowed to appreciate that moment I was in. When I was allowed to observe the beauty around me. What moments in your childhood were magical?
When I read these quotes from children’s books, I am taken back to when I had those times of wonder. Playing in the leaves in the fall and seeing all the ladybugs scurry from under them, seeing rainbows magically appear as I am running without care through the backyard sprinkler. Going for walks in the forest and stopping to see the caterpillar crawling upside down, moving its body in such a different way than I have ever seen before.
When I was 5 years old, I was having a sleepover with my cousin Autumn and my sister Mandy down in our basement. We woke up in the morning and were talking about whether the sun was up, and if we should we get up too. It was so cozy in our warm blankets. I decided to go upstairs and get a glass of water, but when I looked out the window to give my report back to my family downstairs, I saw the most beautiful blue I have ever seen in the sky. I was mesmerized. I immediately ran to every room in my house waking everyone up, yelling excitedly at about 6 am “The sky is SO blue come and see everyone!”
My mom woke up, wrapped me in a blanket and cuddled with me on the couch looking out the window at the brilliant blue, we saw beautiful birds eating from the bird feeder and flying by the window so gracefully as if to say hello. We named the different flowers we saw and watched as cars go by. Now, my mom could have thrown a pillow at me and told me to go back to bed. That may have been a justified reaction. However, she sat with me, and she enjoyed that moment of something that was so mundane to her. She knew the sky was blue, this was not a new thing to her. When she stopped to appreciate and find wonder, we both saw the blue sky like it was our first time.
If my mom would have thrown that pillow at me, told me to go back to sleep, rolled over and disregarded that moment, how would that have changed my view? How would that have affected my confidence or my self-worth?
It’s important for children to have a sense of wonder. Being an ECE, it’s important for me to create these feelings. How I can incorporate them into our classroom? What parts of the day seem mundane? How do we create magic within those times? One of my favourite things to do, when children first wake up, is to blow some bubbles over them, Then I watch as a smile instantly spreads across their face. I see their eyes twinkle and follow the bubbles watching them slowly float closer and pop on their forehead or hand as they reach up for them.
In the boot room, we have a doorstop which is on the wall. The children love to play with it, which can set our time back quite a bit and cause some frustration. One of the children asked, “what’s that for?”. Instead of just answering “It’s a doorstop, now get your ski pants on”, I replied with “It makes the hill outside erupt with lava!”, knowing they were really into volcanos. This had the kids stop and think “Is that possible? Could there be a volcano on the hill? If it erupts, is the daycare too close? Are we going to get hit with the lava?” These questions came, then one of the children said “But what if instead of lava, it exploded with glitter!?” Then one child said a few weeks later “It makes dinosaurs come!” The children loved going on adventures to explore and find answers to their questions and learn, while as an educator I was able to observe the children talking in the boot room making hypothesis after hypothesis about what’s outside while getting ready faster and staying focused. It’s so important for innovation to spark questions to harbour a sense of curiosity in children. As an ECE it’s important to act on that curiosity to figure out the answer alongside the children.
I challenge you all to take something in your day, whether in the classroom or at home and find something to switch it up! Find wonder to replace the frustration and stress. Give yourself time so when the moments arise you are not creating a pillow-throw, go-back-to-bed moment but instead allowing yourself and your child to look at the world as a spiritual, wonderful and awesome world full of possibilities and surprises that are around every corner. Re-experience this magnificent world and recapture magic and awe of our wonderful world that we overlook every day.