Those of us working with young children are familiar with the term Foundations of Learning. What does that really mean? For me it means everything that gives us the capacity to learn, think, create, behave, communicate and build relationships. The things that you learn in the first 5 years remain with you for life, whether they are physical skills, values and beliefs or ideas and knowledge. This is why for me early education is the most important and exciting phase.
With this in mind I would like to share an excerpt from Robert Fulghum’s book All I Ever Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten . This was first introduced to me during my Master’s Degree. When I look at my own children and the way they develop and learn every day, I am reminded of this piece.
Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.
These are the things I learned: share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess.Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say your sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life. Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon. When you go into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the plastic cup. The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup – they all die. So do we.
And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK. Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and sane living.
Think of what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about 3 o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations always to put things back where we found them, and cleaned up our own messes. And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.
So next time someone discredits you as ‘only playing’ or says ‘she’s just a mum’ stand firm in the knowledge that ours is the most important job in the world.