I will Call This Hope

This morning as I was walking to coffee I spotted an awesome sight. It gave me so much excitement that I crossed the road to take pictures.

Why is this so exciting? Or why should this deliver me some hope?

In the wake of our recent budget announcement there is a lot of discouragement within the community that I belong to. Even before the budget announcement there was a general discouragement that had tried to set camp in the community sector. So many people don’t even know if they will have a job in the near future due to cuts to funding.

Although I spent a day feeling great sadness for the future, I decided to turn my eyes up and put my trust in Jesus and found this comforting scripture in Job 5: 15-16 He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth;  he saves them from the clutches of the powerful.So the poor have hope,and injustice shuts its mouth.

Whoo hoo!!

So why does this give me hope? Get to the point Tamar!

This image gives me hope as it shows me that someone is partaking in creativity instead of vandalism. Somebody in the community decided to have some fun engaging in a productive activity instead of mindless violence.

In an area where one often witnesses abandoned shopping trolleys, broken glass, human faeces, syringes, burnt rubbish and general waste the sight of this was like a beacon in the dark.

It’s symbolic of a hopeful future. Lets not give of on hope people. The future is bright.

One Idea Leads to Another

Well, today at the garden I started off doing this

and ended up doing this

This was a lot of fun and very relaxing.

I am amazed at how much inspiration lives in a garden.

When I am creating and following an idea I feel like I’m a kid again.

It excites me and makes me feel happy.

It is delightful

Joy

I am living the dream

I don’t have much yet I am extremely rich

I feel like I am playing in My Father’s backyard

God made me a play ground full of peace and joy

When I am there I feel protected and loved

I don’t care what this world has to offer, who needs  the stress?

If that makes me some weird chick, then bring it on

I am free

When The Son set you free, you are free indeed.

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Caine’s Arcade…..An inspiring story!!

This little film brought me to tears.

It’s about 11 minutes of your life well spent as you view a young boy’s imagination and ability to play. He has an awesome dad who just allows his son to use objects with no monetary value to create an innovative cardboard arcade!!!

Caine is the kid who will never be bored in life. Caine is the person who will overcome disappointments and will find ways to overcome tricky situations. Caine is a genius as the film-maker states.

Why did this bring me to tears?

Because it is a welcome relief from the consumerism that is blastered at parents that says “children must have this!!” For goodness sake the kid is using cardboard boxes and things that would otherwise be discarded as worth nothing!!!

It is also a wonderful to see this dad  give his son the opportunity to create and not just state it as rubbish.  It also impressed me, how when Caine asked for a claw machine his dad replies “Just make one”.

As a result, Caine uses his brain and makes one!!!!!!

Developing early literacy without throwing huge amounts of money to the marketing man!!!!

Apologies for the very huge and long-winded title but I really want to make a statement about the way the marketing machine is putting too much pressure on our young children to become mini geniuses before they even chance to develop at a  normal child capacity!! Unfortunately these programs that promise to teach your child to read early are not saying what the research says about early child development and how a child best learns.  Tullis (2011) describes the increasing  trend of children preschool age expected to sit down and learn just like those of school age.  Where Ginsburg (2007) states, how play is essential for the overall well-being and development of a child. With all of this in mind I what to give you an inexpensive example of how you can assist your child’s learning without paying  a crap load of money to the marketing beast!!!

  • The book you see below  was purchased for about $12-$15, I bought it a while ago so I can’t remember the exact amount but I know that it was within my budget. I chose this book as my Son enjoys it when we walk to the lake and he can sit on the jetty. Therefore, its crucial to  notice what things your child loves and is interested in.
  • Every night (or most nights) we read this book to him. According to Mem Fox, this is awesome!!!!! Please note that the only cost factor here is the time one. By reading to your child you are creating good connections and strong relationships.
  • The ice-cream container that is in the second picture was for free, as his Grandma bought the ice-cream, my son devoured it and then collected the container after it was cleaned. The intention for collecting it was so he could carry his vast amount of cars without dropping them everywhere. One night when I ran him a bath I put the ice cream container in the bath and instantly my son referred to the toy boat and began reciting the first page. Right there people!!! Right there is literacy event in the life of a young boy!!!!
  • Now I will bring your attention to the towel that is on the floor that cost me nothing except for its initial cost. The towel became the lake and my son retrieved his ice-cream container and proceeded to re-enact the “toy boat”!! Once again, this is a literacy event that shows how my son’s early learning development is indeed progressing.

Please note that within my examples that I’ve given you there is a huge emphasis on play with no pressure to perform. My son has been learning without he even realising it. Please don’t be pressured to believe that if your child is not in a special program then they wont do well in school. This is simply not true as expressed by Almon & Miller (2011)  who point out that in Finland they allow children be children by letting them play and introduce academics  at an appropriate age and yet constantly come out on top for “Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)” .

So it’s time now to take the pressure off and stick it to the marketing man!!!! I suggest play, play and more play!!!!!!

A breakthrough with play!!

This afternoon I feel as though I have had a breakthrough with my son. Usually when he comes home from school the first thing that he wants to do is play either the X box, PSP, or my iphone. I’ve really been thinking what can I do to get him to play meaningfully just like what I have been learning about through my course. I’ve never had an issue with getting other children to play along where I have facilitated a play/craft activity, however, when it comes to my son who has VCFS It seems to be a bit of a challenge.

It sometimes grieves me that he is not like other kids but nevertheless he’s my precious son and I love him and I am certain he can learn to play too. This afternoon we were out in the back yard and I suddenly got inspired  to mark out the shadows on the concrete with some chalk, but then my son said “can you make a road?” the next thing he is getting me to draw our Mazda, an electric train, a cruise boat, the lake, the harbor and all the things that have meaning to him and it went on and on. He even wanted me to draw Curtin university lol!!! He is so interested in my Studies!!

He then started talking about his memories of being on a cruise that was kindly donated to us by Kidswish, recited a book about a little toy boat lost on the lake. It was so exciting for me. Then we went inside and he saw his cars and I suggested that he use them on his road where  he played  outside unsupervised for at least half an hour!!!! The use of language is awesome and exquisite. The concentration and in-depth play was  unbelievable!! Yes he can play and I knew he had it in him but I also knew that I had to do more to release him into it as he does lack some self motivation.

I feel that if I want to be an extraordinary educator  for other children, then I need to dig deeper and be that for my son too. It was a great afternoon and I feel like much was accomplished!!!

Pretend play

This is my son doing pretend play

I know that it may not seem all that remarkable to some

but to me it is awesome!!!

Awesome because finally my Son is starting to use his imagination

in a more, in depth way.

In our culture we view pretend play as important

other cultures view exploring the land and learning how to track footprints as important.

For so long I viewed pretend play as the ultimate way to play

but as I learn more about how different children play  it has opened my eyes

to see that whatever play my son does

whether it is pretend, repetitive,  kicking balls, or imitating his non verbal friend

it is all awesome and no lesson is escaping him

as he continues in a state of play.

You can’t see it very well but the above image is of my son

playing is his cardboard box train that  I made for him.

And below is my Son pretending to be a fisherman!!!!

Reading the evidence on play!!!…..I knew I wasn’t talking out of my bum!!!!!

One of my subjects that I am studying is called pedagogy and play and as a part of the subject I’ve been required to do lots of reading on the subject of play. It’s so exciting to me that after all these years of having strong opinions about play there is actually evidence that supports my views.

I’ve always had the belief that play stops way too soon in life and that is not recognized as a healthy part of being human. I’ve seen a growing trend these days for children younger then preschool age being taught academic skills as the marketing machine attempts to put pressure on parents for their child to perform.

This saddens me, as so much is learnt through the process of play and it’s where the child is in control and a love for learning can be cultivated. Play promote’s  innovation, creativity, exploration and curiosity and all these things are ingredience for effective learning.

When children play imagination games and partake in story telling then this is the beginnings of literacy. When children play, they learn problem solving skills which helps a lot when it comes to numeracy.

Too often these days play is underestimated and regarded as unimportant. So many unrealistic pressures are being put on children to perform and please tell me, when did academic success become the most important thing in life? Don’t get me wrong academic success is a good thing to achieve and should be encouraged but I’m urging all that we take a balanced approach.

I feel that if we lose our playtime that unnecessary stress will be suffered as children try to keep up with unrealistic expectations. Why do we expect children to be good at everything?  Are you good at everything? Yes numeracy and literacy are important and should be held in high regard but not at the sacrifice of play and other creative subjects.

Much discussion has been made over the NAPLAN  test and concerns that have been expressed are, the risk of schools narrowing their curriculum just to get the top scores and as a result classes that have to do with creative arts and  sciences get less attention.

If I was at school today, how would I fair? I am that creative kid who liked/likes to paint. I was that kid who knew all the songs on the radio and had an awesome knowledge about all the rock stars. As my late mum would say “If only you knew your times tables like you know the top 10 on Countdown” I was that kid who would look strange to the niehbours as I carried a Frisbee around pretending it was a steering wheel. What would happen if I was not allowed to be that kid who had the freedom to imagine, be creative, laugh and make pretend cakes? What would happen if  massive pressure was put on me to perform and be something that I am not?

I advocate, let the children play!!!!

Here is an interesting lecture about play is more than fun it goes for nearly half an hour so only watch it if you have the time and desire.