Becoming not being

How has your child grown since the beginning of the year?  What can he do now, that he couldn’t do two months ago?

(No, really, pause – think about the question. Think of an answer.)

Children at this age are movers – they are changing and growing so fast.  One day they can’t; the next day they can. Nursery-aged children are not defined by what they can do, but what they are about to be able to do. Nursery school is about becoming – your child’s developmental stage demands an attention to their very active, fluid, forward movement.

Last week I had the fortune of watching as one of our student’s baby brother crawled for the very first time, right here in the Common Space on the 2nd floor.  One of our parents reported this week to her teachers that her son has come home this week asking a new question: “Is he/she my friend?”  And a mother in our school who I’ve watched read to her daughter before class in the Common Space every morning for the past few years reported that one morning recently, her daughter turned the table and started reading the book back to her mother. 

Whether it’s crawling, making friends, reading, or any of a million and one steps forward on their journey, your children are doing things one day that they weren’t the day before.

At our nursery school, because of this, we see children as who they are becoming rather than who they have been.  Seeing children in this manner impacts the environment we create for them. Materials and experiences are prepared in our classrooms, in Jerome Bruner’s words, to “temp the child into the next stage of development.”  Join us in this – join us in providing children with the challenges they need to grow and develop.  Our community is a place where we partner together as parents and teachers around this idea.

I know this is one of the hardest parts of parenting, at least for me; seeing our children not as the babies they were but as the children they are becoming. In the middle of writing this, my 19 month old walked over in his Thomas onesie PJs and I found myself squeezing him and saying, “I hope you stay this little forever!”  I’d love nothing more than to bottle up his baby-ness and keep it forever.  Despite our desire to hold onto who they are now, we can’t; they won’t let us, they’re moving too fast.

And so, I’ll ask you another question – what will your child be able to do in two months that he can’t do now?

(Again – pause – answer the question). 

Talk to your partner at home, talk to your teacher at school – what can you do to your child’s environment to support their becoming?

If you or your caregiver carry your child into school, or stroll them to the JCC, it might be letting them walk more. It might be letting them carry their own backpack. It might be asking them to pick out their own clothes, or pack their own lunch, or wash their own hands.  Each of your answers will be different, but you each have an answer. So let’s join together and tempt our children into the next stage. Let them get down and walk; let them carry their own backpack; let them grow up before our eyes right here.

Shabbat Shalom,