Sunday, December 02, 2018

let us live with our children.

"Let us live with our children," was the motto associated with Friedrich Froebel. He did not say, "Let us live for our children," as a suggestion of slavery. He did not say "Let our children live for us," as a suggestion of slavery in the other direction.

My sister Sue sent a quote this AM from contemporary British painter David Hockney, that "People tend to forget that play is serious." Play is in fact the way we learn best and the way that we as adults impart values. We play by the rules of the game so that our children may also.

Generally, the rules are easy to understand. We do our best for ourselves and those around us. And in all seriousness, we are called to give freely of ourselves to each other. I believe that's what Froebel had in mind. These are great simple rules for school and for life.

Our dog Rosie and I took our first adventure yesterday into the wilds of Eureka. We attended the annual Preservation Society's Tour of Homes. (Outside the houses, of course.) Rosie was frightened by the traffic, but enamored with the people. She could not get enough pets or give enough licks. The process in puppy training parlance is "socialization." And it points to the lack of wisdom in American education when we sequester children for long hours without engagement in real life.

A friend had asked about the meaning of progressive education. While very young pups, dogs stay very close to their mothers. As they become more aware, their litter mates play an important part in their socialization process. As they mature, their consciousness transcends the litter toward engagement in the real world, and that, too, is a gradual process. The pup learns its role in nature and society at large. And that is the process we can call "progressive education." It is natural to the dog or to the child. As the child grows, its sense of self grows also. Froebel had devised a scheme for that in his creation of Kindergarten, and most of what he attempted to teach has been abandoned as submerging the child in reading and math have taken precedence over all else.

A few years back when I attended a conference at the University of Helsinki, I grew weary of lectures, and escaped to the university wood shop, where Kindergarten teachers working on their masters in education degrees were learning to teach woodworking. They, my friends, were on the right track.

The photo is a Kindergarten student's airplane.

Make, fix and create.

1 comment:

  1. In towns there would be a wider variety of craftspeople. There would be shoemakers, saddlers, chandlers, coopers,potters, weavers, glaziers, tanners, tailors, and other merchants and craftsmen.

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