There’s a phrase I love; “practise makes permanent” a sidestep from the old “practise makes perfect”. We’re not looking for perfection at The Fern Club, instead we’re guiding children to become masters at new skills they want to learn. Whether this is becoming more dextrous with their fingers when using scissors, working on bilateral coordination during Adventure Play or working on their balance on the wobble boards. Practise makes permanent also relates to their tenacity; do they quit after one failed attempt or do they continue until they’ve achieved what they wanted?
My Grandma used to tell me, try try try again! I should have listened to her in hindsight, I’m probably one of the most impatient people when it comes to anything to do with myself. With children I’m the exact opposite. I love to see how children work on skills, using their bodies to manipulate equipment, use their language to negotiate play with a friend or something as simple as attempting to run faster! Children are fascinating when they’re given the time and patience to find their confidence in play.
When I began my career working with children I would often jump in and “save” children when things got tricky; a stand off during play with a friend, they got themself too high up on a piece of equipment and couldn’t get down or that they couldn’t achieve the skill a peer could. As I grew as a teacher, I learnt that children are incredible little beings. Capable of so much more than we often give them credit for. With a little guidance and the right type of language, adults can really help children flourish. Patience and holding your tongue is difficult at first but it soon becomes clear that often the difficulties of play lead to the most beneficial outcomes. It does take practise though for both adult and child.
Have you ever gone to read a bedtime story, hoping for a new book but instead reading the same story for the 100th time on the request of your little one? The repetition brings comfort and confidence, it brings a greater understanding of the world around them and it helps to solidify language concepts.
Repetition for your child also means failing until they figure it out. Some children find this first hurdle more challenging than others. Imagine learning to thread a bead on a string (a chunky bead and a fat shoelace for a little one) and the amount of developmental elements needed; fine motor skills, self control, impulse regulation, hand eye coordination, vestibular maturity, proprioceptive awareness and staying power to name a few! To be able to master threading children must first have a modicum of control over all of the aforementioned elements. With each bead threaded they learn and refine skills. With each failed bump they also refine what “not to do”. Each is as important as the other.
Without going into the nitty gritty of human biology, a child must experience opportunities many times over to be able to solidify skills. (See our blog on brain development for little ones).
At The Fern Club whilst each week is a different theme and lesson, there will be activities which are repeated or a variation of a skill we’ve already done. During Adventure Play at the start of a class you’ll see we have equipment on rotation. Children love knowing how to tackle a movement they’ve done before; with each play they’ll expand their knowledge of what their body and what the equipment is capable of. We love seeing the joy of a child who’s able to master the wobble board, we also love setting them a challenge just beyond their current ability (see more on the Zone of Proximal Development) So join us in helping these wonderful children practise until they make it permanent!