Connection: the foundation of learning

lessonsfromtheschoolhouse May 03, 2021

In Waldorf early childhood, we take take learning seriously. It may not look like direct academic learning with worksheets and lessons about letters and numbers but this doesn't mean learning isn't happening. Quite the contrary! 

We hear a lot about "learning opportunities" as parents of young children and many well-meaning parents create learning opportunities out of all possible moments. In this video, I challenge you instead to focus on creating "connecting opportunities." 

We create connecting opportunities with the world around us when we give our children downtime to explore their world on their own terms and the freedom to observe without interruption. This means your three year old child doesn't need a science lesson on metamorphosis when they first lay eyes on a butterfly. They won't miss the window to learn this information. In fact, they will be more motivated to learn when they are first connected with interest and joy.

Connecting opportunities aren't the opposite of learning opportunities; they are the foundation of learning opportunities.

In fact, I believe if we want to raise children who are in love with our world and the earth, we need to first give them time to connect without lessons, enrichment, or supplementation. 

We can encourage connection in many ways. Here are some I have found helpful:

  • Time for open-ended imaginative play.
  • Storytelling, especially about the natural world.
  • Regular downtime outside.
  • Modeling a sense of wonder with the world around you. 
  • Rhythms and rituals like daily walks, nature table.
  • Singing and songs that focus on subtle changes in nature (check out the music by Mary Thienes Schunemann to get started).

Watch the video and let me know what you think.

How do you encourage connection in young children?

Interested in learning more about storytelling and seasonal songs? Check out our free week of Storytime in the Schoolhouse

Want to receive support and encouragement via email?

Join our mailing list to receive support on your parenting journey. We send 1-3 newsletter emails a month and promise not to share your information.

We don't like spam and promise not to send you any.