Tuesday, August 5, 2014

WHEN I WAS A BABY? Children and their earliest memories

"What were you like when you were a baby?"

Welcome to my blog!  I hope you're summer has been one that has filled you up with joy and refreshed you for your work with children.  One of the programs my Foundation has worked with for 12 consecutive years is the Child-Parent Centers Head Start program in Southern Arizona.  Together we have taken a journey that has created a new paradigm in early childhood education.  Asking children open ended questions and allowing enough time for a real response has led to so much learning.  In addition, parents are being engaged like never before!  In this blog, you'll get to read the responses and see self portraits from children and parent responses and see how they connect to language, social emotional growth and perspective building.  Enjoy!
Founder, Director of Education, F.A.M.E. Foundation
Co-Founder, Context Method®

In this first mini autobiography, I notice how Alberto remembers what he looked like.  What do you notice about the perspective of the child?

It is so empowering to a parent to ask about their child and what they remember.  Casey's parents have some specific memories.  What memories to you have of your children when they were babies?

Desiree has memories of known "other" babies.... along with being adorable, what does this tell us about the intellect of a young child.  Do we underestimate children?

Ryan knows that mom's and dad's take care of babies.  Ryan's parents share a wonderful memory of Ryan's first meal he fed himself... what was the first meal your child ate on their own?

The parents of Adilene remember their child liking it when pictures were taken of her.  What could the significance be of that?  Have you explored having children take pictures of others?

The parents of Santiago remember that when he was 6 months old, he would crawl, and when he started to crawl, he would not stop!  What jumps out at me is the drawing that Santiago made of himself.  The emotion of a gentle and kind child is so evident.

Genaro's parents remember their child being able to capture the attention of others as a baby.  That is quite an observation beyond the typical one.  What subtle things do you notice about your own children, at any age?

I love the self portrait of Sebastian.  Strong, confident and curious is what I pick up.  What do you observe from his self portrait?

Monique says that "Babies eat eggs and play with other babies."  The fact that she interprets that babies either should play or do play with other babies speaks to her developing personality and her sense of social emotional bonding.  What kinds of questions do you ask the children in your life?  Do we take the time to ask and then really listen?

The parents of Xail share a sweet memory of their daughter enjoying the feel of mommy's hair brushing her face before going to sleep.  I wonder if this child was and/or is currently a "physical touch" child related to Dr. Gary Chapman's love languages.  Either way, we need to pay attention to they physical cues children give us as well as the words they use.

In this response, Damian sees babies as playing with their brothers, "like me."  How wonderful to see a young child already beginning to take care and possible even mentor a younger sibling.

Sebastian E. remembers that he looked like his brother and his parents remember that he was strong and made them laugh a lot.  If you were to write down three things you remember about your own child, what would those three things be?

The parents remember that Allyson loved to hear herself scream and would laugh at that sound.  The fact that the parents allowed that to happen is impressive and important.  A child's voice is very much like their name.  A child's voice is a bridge to speaking.

I hope you enjoyed reading these responses as much as I enjoyed putting them together.  Sometimes the simple moments in life are profound ones.  Ask the young children in your life questions.  Engage them as the young creative and critical thinkers that they are and wait for it... wait... a bit longer.... for that authentic response.  Let them find their voice!


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