We have been officially schooling for two weeks now and yesterday I let my daughter have the day off. No, I’m not trying to be rebellious nor do I think school is not a good place for her to be. I love her school and have placed tremendous trust in them to keep my daughter’s love of learning alive. But, I also think that it is important for kids to be allowed a break once in a while.
Over the past three years I have made an extraordinary effort to become a respectful parent for the sake of my children. This style of parenting does not come naturally to me and I have certainly had my fair share of slip ups and regressions as I tried and failed to get it right. But I recently figured out where I was going wrong.
We hit day 5 of Prep (school) today, the 4th consecutive day this week. I have been astounded at how calmly my nearly 5 year old, L, has been accepting this significant change in her life. I mentioned in last week’s post, my nervousness for her starting her schooling year and she blew me away by the confidence she showed me on her first school drop off.
Each day since has been much like the first, with L walking (no, skipping) me to the school gate to wave me goodbye before running off with her new friends. That is, until today. Today was different. Today was the first sign of emotion she has shown (unless you count the time her Dad packed celery with peanut butter in her lunchbox when it is a nut free school, and the offending item had to be removed – that did not go down too well but that’s another story).
Holding tightly to my mother’s hands, I walked nervously into the school yard. I heard my name being introduced to my teacher and an explanation that I was a shy child. I clutched at my mother’s legs as she tried to leave. I begged her to stay with me. I couldn’t be left there on my own. I was scared. I was going to be sick. She prised herself away from me, told me I would be okay and left.
Through days 9 and 10 of the RIE foundations course we examined the ins and outs of conflict. It was both a challenging and moving lesson for me to hear that how we feel about conflict and our experiences with it, are going to have a bearing on what we do in managing children in their conflict.
It is Day 8 of RIE Foundations today and as I begin anticipating the end of the course I am left with mixed emotions. I feel complete and utter sadness that I will be leaving this safe RIE bubble that has been created for me by our facilitator, Deborah Carlisle Solomon and her intern Michelle along with the 7 other women who have together made this experience an altogether enriching one. But I also feel excitement at what lies ahead when I return to my homeland with newly acquired understandings and a massive spring in my step.
We are on Day 6 of RIE Foundations and today was our first real-life parent-infant class observation. It was fascinating to see a basic room set out for play for different age groups and hearing about all the thought and care that goes into the choice and placement of every play object and piece of equipment. If I hadn’t learned anything of how children play and how to interact respectfully with young children previously, then I certainly have now.
RIE class facilitator, Deborah Carlisle Solomon and her intern Michelle were beautiful to watch. Their interactions with the babies and the parents was something I wish everyone could see. Deborah has this calm, confident presence about her which puts everyone at ease.
Infant and toddler specialist and RIE Founder, Magda Gerber used to say, that when a child is struggling (within reason of course) whether it be working out a toy, stuck on play equipment, in conflict with another child or even had a small tumble and are in shock or crying out briefly, wait…and then after you’ve waited for as long as you can…wait some more.