I’m a control freak. If you’ve met me, there’s no point in my denying it. So for me, setting my children loose at Little Sprouts and especially Seedlings is as much a lesson for me as it is for them. In those programs, as in everything Sunflower offers, children are free: to discover, to learn, to cover themselves in mud, to wrestle, to climb, to paint their little bodies from head to toe. It took me a while to come to grips with it.
But now, I can appreciate that they — and I — must let go. We let go of convention, of (some) rules, of cleanliness and of order. And at the same time, we hold on. We hold on to playfulness, fun, creativity, exploration and challenges. We hold on to friends. We hold onto blocks, leaves, sand and songs. We hold on to the idea that children can learn amazing things if you just leave them alone for a while.
This year, my two and half year old starts Seedlings. I am nervous for him. Will he be too small? Will he make friends? Will he be scared if I’m not there? But I am not worried that he’ll stay clean or dry. I know for a fact he will not. And I’m not worried that he’ll just play in the mud all day, every day. That’s what his brother did, during his first year as a Seedling. All mud, all the time. At first it drove me nuts, but I’ve come to expect it. Mud washes away. A morning full of adventure and love sticks with you for much, much longer.
© Victoria Green and Sunflower Creative Arts, 2011
Thanks for this
Mud, sand, paint, blocks, books, parades, songs, laughs, water, sticks, climbing, tears, stories, hugs… BRING IT ON!!! 😀
I’m glad you liked it.
Yes! For the past week, Gus has been saying, “Go to Seedlings? I go to Seedlings?”
Victoria, my oldest could dig a hole and stay perfectly clean; then his younger brother came along and all he had to do was crawl by somebody else’s idea of a hole and he’d get dirty. I was so happy when my first child loosened up a bit and started getting dirty, although I’m pretty sure partly he was picking up on my control issues as well. And now my third, well, you’d be amazed how relaxed you can get. (Also? Now I can’t get the oldest to shower without badgering him. Go figure.) It’s amazing how easily kids wash, though, and we don’t have “school” vs “play” clothes–it’s all play, as far as I’m concerned. My boys pick out their own outfits and go to school mismatched and stained as often as not anyway, and my youngest has paint stains on nearly all her clothes. I feel dirty clothes are the mark of a good day. 🙂
It is amazing and wonderful that as we learn together through all our senses each little crevice of our bodies tuck away all that dirt, sweat, glitter, paint and playdough. Thanks for a terrific blog Victoria.
I agree about the dirty clothes! One of Dante’s favorite shirts says, “My favorite color is dirt.”
And I thank you. I’m just tellin’ it like it is.