Tuesday, October 27, 2015

How a Child's Environment Supports Initiative

The environment a child lives in should support a child's efforts in developing initiative. A supportive environment should provide opportunities for discovery. For example, a parent can use an empty tissue box to put things in such as ripped tissue paper or toys that are small enough to fit in the tissue box. I personally love boxes and like to fill a child's environment with boxes. Boxes provide discovery through putting objects in them, coloring or painting them or giving a child something to crawl through. One last way the environment can support discovery is by switching out toys every so often. Put toys children seem to be bored with away for a month and put out new ones, then bring the ones that were put away back out. It's like having new toys to children.

A child's environment should provide sensitive support. For example, toddlers need furniture to help them stand up and practice balance on and to move through. Toddlers need their environments to support what they're trying to do physically. Older children need their environments to support the ability to do art projects they're working on such as a table that parents don't mind getting messy that is placed in a space that parents don't mind getting messy and that is easy to clean. Children need room to move around to play without being worried about breaking furniture.

A child's environment should encourage friendships. For example, a place to play away from siblings and materials to play games children play such as Legos or balls to play soccer, basketball etc. Children need the opportunity to play indoors and outdoors and both of these environments should provide children the opportunity to show initiative. For example, if a child wants to learn to bake cookies, the kitchen should become an environment that encourages this goal. The kitchen will need an apron small enough for a child to wear, a stool for the child to be able to reach the counter and adult supervision. If a child is outdoors and wants to draw on the sidewalk, a parent needs to make sure the child has sidewalk chalk to use to draw on the sidewalk or bikes to ride if a child wants to ride a bike.

The last way a child's environment can support initiative is by having time for the children to have free play. Free play is when a child is able to choose what they want to play with and who they want to play with. This type of play is what children participate in most of the day however, as children get older and begin to have sports practice, piano lessons, school, etc it's important to find time for children to be able to participate in free play. To do this parents need to make sure the house has crayons, markers and other  art supplies, games available to play that are age appropriate, books where the children can reach them etc, so that whatever a child may choose to do, they know where to find the materials for the task and take the initiative to choose what to do with their time. The parent also needs to make sure their children's schedules aren't so busy that free play can't occur. Make sure there are times in a child's day that allow them to participate in free play rather than scheduling every minute of a day.

Initiative is important for a child to learn, so parents need to make sure their children have choices in order to take initiative in what they learn and do and don't make all of their choices for them.

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