Observation of a very young child shows an endless stream of exploration: input, input, input to a developing brain. Watch the eyes followed by the hands followed by the mouth. A spot on the rug is intensely explored. A smooth painted geometric shape is examined, moved from hand to hand and to the mouth until interest is diverted to another child doing something nearby. All eyes, hands, feet, mouth, ears feeding the brain by engagement with the environment, examining every detail with attention rarely matched in later years.
Look at the toys in this morning visit. All designed for little hands and minds to explore: geometric shapes and letter shapes; stacking toys and building toys. “This is an /o/.” “That is a rectangle.” “Thank you for the red ball.” Simple comments, short, gentle, and to the point leaves space for the child’s mind to consider the information in their own time.
It is very interesting to watch creative little hands try to stack and sort in a very personal way. It is in our patient watching that we are able to see the learning happen. We must be still and not interrupt the direction of the play except to keep children safe. A surprise presents itself in every visit if we observe and let the exploration happen. “The brain is never not learning!” I love those words of Patricia E. Wolfe in Mind Matters.
“Yes, little one…that is the letter for /i/!” They find so much confidence in just KNOWING!