by Beverly Smith, Kindermusik mom
As a mother and as a teacher I have discovered that, although I have a great amount of patience for children, I struggle with waiting for the big moments– the “ah ha” moments. Every child will reach every milestone at their own pace. We are made to possess different talents and abilities. Some of us are artists, some are “book smart”, some are socially advanced, and a few lucky people excel in multiple areas. Rarely is any of this by choice.
When my daughter started attending Kindermusik she was at an age where I knew she would be engaged mentally, but the physical engagement would be minimal, especially at 6 months old. However, as she became a walker and moved up to the 1 year old class, I was a little worried because she wouldn’t participate much in class. She would always do the moves with me at home– whether it was spinning, rolling over, or simply clapping– but never in class. I was lucky that we had a great teacher who assured me that it was perfectly normal and that she was probably observing and learning in class so that she could later do it at home.
I think that is precisely what happened. I observed exactly that today and had an “ah ha” moment myself. I watched how excited she was to get the opportunity to do something she has talked about for months– riding in a real combine. Up to the moment she got into the combine she was very excited, and then she got quiet. I watched as she looked around and quietly took it all in. The whole time she was quietly watching, with a smile on her face. That is when I realized that she is an observer. She learns by watching and waiting to figure it out before reacting. As a person who learns best by doing, I am not used to this quiet, patient type of learning.
The new semester of Kindermusik started a few weeks ago and Isabelle had her own “ah ha” moment. The light bulb came on for her that day. She actually did the moves as we did them with the music and even vocalized what she was doing! I wanted to explode with pride! I realized then that I need to let her learn at her own pace and try to be more patient for these types of milestones. Just like I had to be patient in the classroom with each my students as they learned how to read, count, and write. Children need time to explore, become confident, and process new things. Every child has their own way of learning and their own special strengths. Celebrate their strengths and patiently work on their weaknesses– they will get there on their own time. When they do, it will mean so much more because of the hard work it took to get there.