At 17 months, I’ve finally managed to get her seated for a longer duration to do some cutting, coloring and pasting activities. With this, I could now apply alphabets, shapes and words into her art and craft activity. This activity also covers on fine motor skills as well. Like the saying goes, one stone kills two birds. Well, in this case it’s more than two.
Natalie’s current ability did not happen overnight. That reminds me of the article on faith. Like all new activities that I’ve introduced to her, she does not always get it straight away. The effort in preparing lessons always supersedes the actual doing. Teaching materials are prepared mostly over late nights, and different approaches are being experimented to attract her interest. Many times, she would wander off during the activity or failed to be engaged at all. I have to keep believing that my efforts would not be in vain as I go through this process with her each day without quitting.
5 Stages of Harvesting
I relate my teaching journey to that of the different stages in rice planting.
Stage 1: Searching for an ideal land
First stage of cultivation is searching for an ideal land. This stage is crucial for setting a good foundation for rice planting. Soil, water and weather are crucial for yielding of good crops. These natural resources are like that of good teaching aids and methodology for teaching. It sets the right foundation for any learning journey.
Without any prior teaching experience or knowledge in childcare, I started searching online and inquired from my childcare teaching friends for ideas and advice. But I struggle to even start on a simple teaching plan. The more I read up, the more I felt overwhelmed. It took me quite a while before I could get the hang of things.
Stage 2: Loosening soil and removing weeds
Second stage is plowing of the land where new soil is loosened and weeds cleared before planting the seeds. I relate plowing and removal of weeds to be like that of conditioning a child’s character. While we might be eager to teach a child to read, the character also needs constant checking and correction. Crops won’t grow well with weeds around, likewise a child will not be fully developed without good character and moral values.
While I attempt to get Nat into a teaching routine, I have to constantly check her behaviour and attitude as she grows in understanding as days go by. There were occasions in her earlier stage where I had to spend more time dealing with her attitude instead of introducing any sort of academic learning, this is still an on going process. But with time, patience and hard love, her behaviour would be more in check and teaching becomes easier and more fun.
Stage 3: Flooding the land and planting seeds
Third stage is a tiring and back breaking process. One has to have their legs soaked in water while bending over for a long period of time to plant new seedlings. Imagine the amount of endurance and patience that is needed in planting seeds, one seed at a time while overlooking a huge area to cover. I likened this planting process to preparation of teaching materials. A simple lesson plan for a toddler can sometimes involved a lot of preparation time for the teacher.
When I first adopted flash cards to teach Nat to read, I thought it’s an easy task as it takes only a couple of minutes to flash the words. It’s not until I know about the back breaking process of preparing and organizing the cards. It’s a laborious task for the teacher.
Stage 4: Keeping watch over rice field
Fourth stage is where a farmer will have to wait for the plants to grow, but while waiting he has to keep watch over the crops against bad weather conditions and pests. I relate this stage to that of keeping watch over what a child sees and hear. Children are very quick to pick up words and behaviour through observation, so they will either learn the right thing or the wrong thing based on the external environment they are exposed to. These are things that we don’t even have to teach them. So a watchful eye is needed.
Stage 5: Harvest time
Fifth stage is where we enjoy the fruit of our labor. I liken this stage to seeing a child’s physical, mental, emotional and intellectual growth and development.
Up to this point, the best way to express my thoughts are through these photos and videos below. A process that started with searching, plowing, planting and keeping watch over Nat’s learning journey. From being fruitless in my effort to reaping of my own little harvest. Nat’s learning journey has thus led her to this stage in being able to complete an art and craft.
Nat having fun while applying glue
She is getting more accurate in pasting
Getting her on coloring activity
She is now able to sit through the whole art & craft session, and she seems to be enjoying it. Well done Nat!
Applying coloring skill
Applying pasting skill
The fruit of our labor. Well done Nat!..Pa Pa is really proud of you 🙂
As we walk on in our parenting and teaching journey, we may imagine ourselves as farmers owning a piece of land. We invest time and energy in cultivating our land, and therefore can expect a good harvest. No doubt the process can be tough, the principle of sowing and reaping always applies, ie we always reap whatever we sow. Sow on good ground reaps a good harvest, neglecting the land and cultivation will only result in poor or no harvest.
For me, seeing Nat’s progress in her art and craft activities is like reaping a good harvest for this season . When the going gets tough in your parenting journey, remind yourself of the rule of harvesting and expect a bountiful harvest.