There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on
Recently I was fortunate to be part of an Erasmus plus trip to Italy to job shadow in early years’ services in an area called San Miniato.
I visited ‘Nido Pinocchio’ infant and toddler centre and came away feeling a mixture of elation and sadness at the experience.
I will start with why I felt elated.
Part of the routine after dinner the children would get ready for their nap. So with the help of the adult, between 2-3 children (aged 12 months to 24 months) would toddle off to the changing area beside them. The children, obviously familiar with the routine sat down on a soft mat and started to take their shoes and socks off, and place them together on the floor.
They then stood up and proceeded to take their ‘bottoms’ off and again placed them beside their shoes. The educator only helped if the child became stuck otherwise she sat on the floor beside them. Once this was completed the children toddled around to the changing unit and climbed up to be changed in preparation for their nap. Some of the children, once their nappy was off, sat on the tiny toilets, getting them used to toilet training, before then climbing up to have a fresh nappy put on.
Once changed the children walked out to the main area where an educator was singing to a group of children waiting to move on to their next transition, nap time.
All done with chat and singing and conversation. No rushing in to ‘help’ and get the job done as quickly as possible to get to the act of sleeping…
This part of the day was just as important as the rest of the day for this service, I cannot remember how long they took, and it should not matter. It takes time to develop the skill of taking off your own shoes and socks. It takes time to be able to take off your own trousers, tights or skirt. It takes time… And then we get to the sad part for me, how often have I denied children the time to do these things for themselves… I would often rush the process to achieve the product, losing the essence and meaning of these moments.
So consider these questions:
How do you ensure transitions are easy going and give children time?
How do you give toddlers opportunities to develop self-help skills?
How much thought and time do you give to thinking about time!!