Tag Archives: adventures

Losing Control without Losing it

Bec Carey

We have spoken about letting go, stepping back and allowing the children to explore  their own urges. We have encouraged you to promote more time outdoors, unstructured and in nature. We have advocated for  children’s right to play, to be free and be active decision makers. We have asked you to view children as capable independent beings. We have shared evidence and knowledge on the benefits of all of this…..we have told you that trust is an essential ingredient in Raw&UnearthedPLAY. But what about you?! While you stand there watching your child/ren swing through the trees and turn your lounge room into a shop/zoo/village and use everything in their reach that isn’t tied down to build their ahhhmazing triple deck pirate ship…..you feel overwhelmed and  I bet you can’t help but feel a case of the ‘whats’.

What if- someone spontaneously pops in for a visit and sees my messy house?

What will- parents/owners/visitors think of the messy preschool room?

What will- people think of my mud covered always dirty children?

What happens- when we need to attend something structured?

What if- people think i am just a lazy parent?

What will- the other Educators think of my practice?

What will- happen when they go to school?

What if What if What if!  

The only way to get rid of a case of the ‘whats’ is to stop caring what other people may think, and it may also help to stop comparing your parenting/early childhood practice to the heavily edited perfection that streams through your Facebook feed. It’s time to get real. Have fun. Enjoy life. Stop worrying what others may think. Just breathe and remember play is messy, children need space and time to test out ideas and  what others think doesn’t matter. If you aim to inspire others instead of conforming to societies ‘ideal perfection’ of perfectly behaved quiet children, you will find that you can lose control with out,  losing it.

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The ‘Perfect’ Family photo…

Let’s rewind a few years when I was at the pool with my then 4 year old daughter and 2 year old son. My 4 year old was having her weekly swimming lesson so naturally my 2 year old had to tag along. If you have met him, you will know he is a bundle of energy with a love of risky play. As we watched I couldn’t help but notice ALL the other 6 attending younger siblings were strapped in prams, glued to iPADs. I was absolutely gobsmacked! These babies we muted, unaware of their surroundings and unable to move. My own 2 year old was of course swimming in the shallows in his clothes, with a massive smile plastered on his face. While admittedly I was judging their choice of the ipad use, the early childhood teacher in me can’t help it, I can guarantee they were all judging and probably labeling me #badmum and my son #uncontrollable. Luckily for my son his happiness and development matters more to me than others’ judgments and I didn’t freak out and try to gain control, I went with it. At the forefront of my practice, I know the benefits of losing control and this enables me to not completely lose it in these type of situations.

 

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NOTE: ‘These types of situations’ like that time I lost my 6 year old…..can you see her?           Hint: Red Pole. 

While I understand the juggling act of parenting- lets keep it real, I didn’t even have spare clothes with me that day at the pool. I just cannot fathom the benefit of providing a baby with an iPad. They are missing ALL the fun- say clothed swims and nudie car rides home! Sadly, I have noticed more and more babies being offered ipads in prams in various places- it seems to have become the norm. Recently I was asked by a medical receptionist if I thought an iPad was a good Christmas present for her 2 year old grandson. Needless to say my answer was ‘No, buy him something that he can use outdoors!’  These scenarios led me to reflect the reasoning of using ipads for babies. The only thing I could come up with is that it is to keep them quiet, entertained and distracted so they don’t disturb others. Am I wrong?  I am wondering when society suddenly decided that children should be seen and not heard again? In some cases not even seen…yes cranky man who told me a cafe was no place for children, I am talking about you! (Insert heated discussion re:children’s rights here, wrong person to approach buddy!)

But what if we changed our case of the ‘whats’ to a case of the ‘ifs’…..

If- we all let go and stopped worrying about others’ opinions?

If- we let children be?

If- we let children experience boredom?

If- we stopped overstimulating our children?

If- we all started to be honest?

If- we all supported each other instead of judging?

If we did all this, we would all be able to let go of our need to control all situations and allow the children to be, without judgment. When I am out and about and I see a child testing out ideas and advocating for their right to play, (sometimes puddles just scream to be jumped in!) There is usually a nervous stressed parent nearby and I love sparking a conversation with them, easing their qualms. Of course it helps that my own children have usually dived head first into the puddle alongside their child. These conversations will spread the word and allow us to not feel judged or lose it when our children push the (tight) boundaries society has created for them. It’s time to loosen those boundaries, let the fun begin!

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Trolley rides on the street in Pyjamas……why not?!

So here you are standing watching your child/ren swing through the trees and turn your lounge room into a shop/zoo/village and use everything in their reach that isn’t tied down to build their ahhhmazing triple deck pirate ship……you take a deep breath in and smile knowing your child is becoming strong, creative, independent and that their imagination is well and truly alive. You feel satisfied that they will continue to grow and become stronger and be equipped to take on life challenges they are faced with. As you breathe out you relax, you have let go of the need to over control without losing it because you don’t care what others may think. You know childhood is such a small moment of time in the bigger picture. It may take time to adjust, to feel comfortable to fully let go of trying to control. During this time I recommend coffee. Lots of coffee. There isn’t much a double shot espresso can’t fix.

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This is what losing control without Losing it looks like! So much fun play for the child and a calm, satisfied parent nearby. Trusting relationships, understanding and living life to the fullest! 

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far…

Bec Carey

When my 11 year old daughter Tyger-May was given the task to write a speech on a topic of her choice, she announced that she knew exactly what she was going to talk about… Nature Play of course! Children really are influenced by the world that surrounds them, their home, their parents, their friends and their experiences.

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 With Tyger’s permission I have shared her speech below, it was too amazing to not share with the world. She was thrilled to have a special post on the blog and i am sure it wont be her last. It seems indeed that the apple doesn’t fall far when it comes to a love of nature, dancing in the rain and advocating for rights and a better way of life.

 Nature or  Devices – By Tyger-May

Have you ever thought of going out and exploring instead of sitting down on your devices? What are devices? Devices are Tv’s, xboxes, play-stations, ipads, iphones, ipods…….ieverythings! Well I certainly have thought about it, I always go out and build cubbies, carve sticks and go for a wander through the bush…not laze around on my devices all day!

My family loves going 4WDing, we see heaps of kangaroos, spiders and mostly dancing worms (you’re probably thinking what are dancing worms) Well there are such things, I’ll explain later.

My family also love going motorbike riding. When we go out bush my younger brother and sister always go for a swim in the giant muddy puddles pretending they’re finding crocodiles. Now that’s what I’m talking about, fun!

We also go for lots of bush walks, such as in the Watagans. It is so beautiful but really steep towards the end. The waterfall is AWESOME. We climb on the rocks and explore everywhere. Not on our devices! I believe that what I do, exploring nature, is much more fun that sitting down on a device playing games all day. Playing with nature is ten times more fun (in my opinion).

Even if you want to go on your devices, you should still play with nature more……

Like I said, you can build cubbies, tepees, and even climb heaps high in the trees if you really want too (yes, you might be afraid of heights but i am too). I still do climb trees, just not heaps high.

Now if you don’t want to play with nature you can always find other things to do like drawing, colouring, hand ball or read a book and more! Just don’t get too comfy with your devices, otherwise you wont get off them (trust me).

Why don’t we have a day not going on devices. What do you think? Most of you are probably thinking NO!! But I am thinking the opposite, YES!!

Did you know that my backyard is bush, with bush turkeys wandering around  and heaps of lizards, spiders and snakes?! I found out that we had snakes because a few weeks ago I saw a kookaburra catch a baby green tree snake in its beak one afternoon.

So do you love nature or not? Or prefer devices? Or are they equal? I don’t think they are equal NO WAY. I definitely love nature and not so much devices, so i’ll go with Option 1- Nature.

So I wonder when I am going 4WDing next because I might see some kangaroos, snakes and maybe dancing worms….otherwise known as LEECHES!

 I just love the honesty within her work. She has the ability to express her own opinion and ideas but additionally offers options and diversity in her suggestions. There is something for everyone out there, you just have to get outdoors and find it! Just don’t forget to pack the salt, you’ll need it for those pesky dancing worms.

Magical Worlds

Bec Carey

Magical Worlds

A picture says a thousand words,

A child’s mind thinks many more.

It dreams, imagines and creates,

Magical worlds to explore.

The earth provides many spaces,

waiting to be discovered.

Deep in rain forests,  through the trees,

Over mountains, under leaves.

You have to know where to go,

How to be and how to see.

Clear your mind, let everything go,

Venture on, oh so slow.

Creeping forward, eyes wide open,

Senses ignited with imagination. 

Stop. Pause and look beneath,

Magical worlds lay at your feet.

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Make every day magical

Raw & Unearthed Play

Raw & Unearthed play is real and authentic. Deep within something moves, shifts and unearths. Imagination is unleashed. A deep connection is made and the world slows down creating time to just be.

 The Raw & Unearthed Child is born. 

 

Thank you to Joey Corner Photography for capturing these beautiful moments.

 

 

 

 

 

Milk Clouds

Bec Carey 

Clouds are those fluffy, magical things that float carelessly in the sky, they follow you in your car and change form into unicorns, dragons and the faces of people who have gone but aren’t forgotten. A child once told me they were made out of milk. A pure explanation from a pure mind. I could see the resemblance as I gazed wondrously up into the blue and sunny sky, but I thought to myself not all clouds resemble milkiness, not all clouds are created equally or serve the same purpose. Storm clouds, are dark, aggressive and black. What are they made of through a child’s pure eyes? I wonder if it was a different day back then, would I have still been laying down on the grass with a group of children gazing up into dark gloomy endless skies. In all honesty probably not.  Would I lay in a field gazing up at dark storm clouds today? I most definitely would! You see, I’ve changed. I have allowed myself to evolve and grow. As my hunger for new knowledge and research has grown, my practice has become filled with reason and I have become filled with joy, energy and motivation.

As an educator continuity of learning for yourself is a valuable quality to your professional self.  These days the moment you finish your degree it changes and a day from graduation your qualifications  are already outdated. While it wont stop you from obtaining a job within the industry, it may limit your on-going practice.  If you don’t continue self study and research beyond the walls of your university lectures, you will fast become stuck in a rut, repeating the same same each year. We are a profession, not a bunch of whiny babysitters who want more pay. Stand up, (wo)man up and teach yourself to become a strong voice for the early childhood industry. As an industry we are evolving too. There is a change coming, the clouds are moving and changing shape. It’s the calm before the storm and after the storm, the milk clouds will return and rain over us as we prance through the open fields with flowers in our hair. I am a dreamer, what can I say.

In all seriousness, there really is a change coming. I can feel it. I know it, and while there may not be milk rain and unicorns, there will be play and lots of it deeply embedded into kindergarten classrooms.  I recently was invited to a Department of Education networking meeting in my local community. Within a room full of Assistant principals, Kindergarten teachers and Primary school coordinators, I was the only Early childhood teacher. I have built a strong relationship with my local Kindergarten Assistant Principal and she had invited me along. I was unsure what to expect but oozing with excitement at the opportunity that lay before me. During the meeting I was able to share aspects of practice within the Early Childhood Industry. Questions were asked about holistic approaches, learning through play and intentional teaching. The air was thick with their desire to know more, to build on their own knowledge and unpack new ideas. Prior to the meeting I had a Kindergarten teacher spend a day with me to gain hands on experience of a true play environment- of course she left skipping and dancing out the door, filled with excitement and new ideas. She had allowed her mind to be opened and new ideas flowed freely in. I know we all face barriers, fears and challenges. I also know transitions take time. I’m not expecting this teacher to throw all her structured lesson plans out the window (not just yet anyway!), but I hope to see fresh ideas within her class room when I visit in the next few weeks.  Allowing your mind to be open to new ideas, thoughts and practice you have already taken the first step. It is the second step, advocating for the change which is the tricky one. It can be unstable. But, like everything else, persistence is the key.

It has been my dream to really connect with schools to advocate for change and actively work together. Breaking down the barriers and really seeing the change before my eyes. Play in kindergarten classrooms is not impossible.  Teachers have already begun reaching out and connecting with Early Childhood Educators. Viewing us as professionals has been the first step for them, a big one at that!  Sharing knowledge, working together and continuous visits to each others learning environment will lead to amazing things! Kindergartners may even be allowed to use authentic play tools! – you should have seen their faces when I told them I have allowed children to cut with real saws, build their own campfire and even cook on it. Jaws literally dropped to the floor. “You let them play with fire and have tools we don’t even let them run”, they exclaimed picking their chins up off the floor.

The shock factor of this conversation led to a really interesting reflective conversation about risk taking and utilising outdoor spaces. We discussed how Early Childhood Educators view children as capable, resourceful and we trust them to understand their intrinsic motivation in regards to risks. Alternatively,  schools have so many rules and structures that children lose their independence and ability to continue to build on the skills we work so hard to promote. Within our meeting they shared their desire to utilise the grass areas and trees they can see from their classroom windows. When I asked why they don’t…….why can’t you read a book or do some writing under a tree?…they first looked at me dumbfounded and then realisation spread across their faces. It really is that simple. The desire for change appeared to be there, but it seems fear has taken over. It’s up to us to give them a little push. The gap between early childhood and kindergartens is just too big. That cloud has become big dark and heavy. It’s bursting with a downward push of academic expectations from a competitive society. It’s Kindergarten, not university! Why is everyone is a rush for their child to walk, read, spell and count? Outcomes haven’t changed, but the expectations have gone higher.  It seems now school teachers are feeling the pressure on the eastern front.

That cloud is getting far too  heavy, we need to lift it up. Children need space to breathe, play and be. We, early childhood educators and parents need to stand strong and continue to make our voices heard. Connect with your local schools, build reciprocal relationships and advocate for the children’s rights. Leap out of your comfort zone, because that is where the magic happens. When the heavy cloud is lifted and I promise you it will, come and dance with me underneath the milk clouds and experience the feeling of purity and free.

This is where the Mermaids Live. 

 

Bec Carey

Over the Christmas break I went camping with my family. During our trip,  I  spent time thinking about why so many people change their practice on holidays compared to their ‘real life’. Everyone seems friendlier, happy and connected, “sure kids you can go hang out at the tent with the people you just met, we are on holidays why not?!” While my family and I are avid adventurers in our day to day life and anyone that follows me personally on social media knows this already, I yearn to understand why to some a holiday means to completely change everything they do. I have previously discussed my view on the modern day parent of convenient choices, ipads are easier than tantrums right? If you missed it, you can read more about it here. My question today is, Why is it when people leave the safe and security of their homes, they relax their attitudes and unknowingly allow children more freedom and opportunities to engage in uninterrupted play? Perhaps it is because the pressures of working the 9-5 clock aren’t there. It may be because they are relaxed physically and therefore less stressed or it could be because they are outdoors, engaged with nature and those happy feel good endorphins are jet skiing through their veins. I like to believe it is a good combination of all of the above. This theory leads me to wonder, why can’t we hold onto this feeling. Why can’t our holiday vibes become our ‘real life?’

As I observed fellow campers chat and meet their neighbours, myself included.  I reflected on today’s fast paced society and how people live in neighborhoods without ever talking to the people they live so close to. Perhaps the smallness of tents and caravans force occupants to be outdoors and therefore interacting with others. It takes me back to the theory Richard Louv talks about in his book, ‘Last Child in the Woods’ where he discusses the change in history with houses now bigger, there is no need to seek space outdoors. Camping takes us back to basics, in an authentic way. Finally a solution to first world problems…. Knock down your houses people, replace it with a tent! But in all seriousness, why can’t this relaxed attitude and uncomplicated life become the norm? While I know not all people are in to camping, it’s just not their thing and work naturally consumes a hefty chunk of our day. It’s the nature connection,  a basic instinct we are depriving ourselves of with our giant houses, car rides and long work hours that is the problem. Sadly the children of today are merely collateral damage of our actions, unintentionally of course. Their future is in our hands, it’s up to us as educators and parents to provide them with time and space to play outdoors. We need to disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other and nature. Louv additionally developed the term, ‘Nature-Deficit Disorder’, a term used to describe the undeniable problem of today. If you haven’t read his book yet, I strongly recommend you do.

During our time away the children discovered a path that lead down the headland to a secluded rock heaven. This space quickly became known as ‘Our Secret Place’. Hours were spent sitting, exploring, discovering and hypothesizing. It became a place to build on their ideas, test out risky play and to just be. I observed as they worked together, supported each other, shared, argued and developed solutions. Eventually my role lessened as I took a step back and allowed time for them to independently explore. With my full trust they even began to go there together alone, racing back with stories to tell. There was an unspoken respect for the area, the secret place, it created sheer excitement and the thrill of new discoveries. On the first day, they discovered one fish carcass while the following day more had appeared.  Lakyn, simultaneously fascinated and grossed out by the sight couldn’t look away but was reluctant to touch them. Harper took on the responsibility and made the decision to return them to the water.  With her imagination fully unleashed and wild, she held the dead fish at arms length towards her brother and announced, “This is where the mermaids live, maybe they left them here.” 

  
  





  


  

A Moment in Time

Bec Carey

How much time do you spend reminiscing the past, dreaming of the future or stuck in regret of what might have been? How often are you truly in current time? Focused and completely lost in the moment. A moment of time. 

Time can have so many meanings. It is a measurement of seconds, minutes and hours. A way to add structure within our day, lunchtime, dinnertime and bedtime. It is how we plan, schedule and predict. Our existence revolves around it. To some adults, time feeds their desire for order and control. It gives reason to their actions and order to potential chaotic mess.  For children time has not yet developed these meanings. Time is continual. Time is irrelevant. The present time is a moment in time to just be. 

Too many times we have missed the moment. Whether it be that we have been focused on other agendas, become lost in time travelling thoughts or blinded by distractions, we are all guilty of not being mentally present. It seems that with the introduction of more technology, comes more distractions. Our brains become clouded with more thoughts, regret and dreams. Subsequently we have developed a fear, a fear of missing out. This fear takes our brains on a little vacation to a virtual reality. People have such a desire to stay overly connected to each other, to know everything about everyone and well, over sharing just doesn’t seem to be an issue. Oh great, you ate over cooked steak and soggy vegetables last night. I can sleep soundly in knowing that, Thank you. Our time is consumed by creating a particular image of ourselves or trying to document the perfect image of our children, we become lost and miss the significance of the here and now.

Don’t get me wrong, I am connected up to my eye balls. I have three Instagram accounts- all for different audiences, my personal Facebook- in addition to three Facebook pages that I manage. I have five different email addresses, a blog, messenger, iMessage and then there is my iPhone and camera, basically an extension of my iHand. I take photos of everything food included, #guilty. I currently have 8,552 photos on my iPhone and would probably actually die if I was to lose it.  As much as I am aware of my probable addiction, I struggle to create a balance and go for longer periods without……. But I just need to see the photos from my friends, friends, sister who I heard has just had a baby to my third cousins brother and apparently they gave birth under a waterfall. Oh and did you see that dancing panda that did a triple back flip while drinking a kale thickshake? Ah-mazing! My inner calm and balance comes from the comfort of my known connectedness to nature. I am just addicted to nature as I am to technology. While I know I don’t need my iPhone to climb my favourite fig tree, how amazing would a photo from that perspective be?! #selfie #sorrynotsorry

Our distraction has led to our disconnection from those right in front of us. The ones sitting next to us as we scroll through our phones, check our emails, distractedly think about documentation or spend time with them peering through a camera lens so we don’t miss the perfect photo opportunity. How will people know it happened if there is no evidence, right? Making memories and capturing time is more than just pretty documentation, having a trillion photos or social media records. It is the feelings, the thoughts and connection in the moment. Within Early Childhood Settings and even in our homes, we need to stop and think about the message we are sending to the children. We need to respect their right to privacy. Their right to unscheduled time. Their right to time in uninterrupted play, sans camera in the face, and preferably in nature.

The beauty of nature play is that time becomes redundant, it seems to go on forever. It is easy to get lost in the moment, lost in the play, deeply engaged and focused. You could possibly get lost in the bush too, but I’m sure you will have your trusty iCompass with youafter all it is all about creating a balance. As adults we can learn to prioritse our own time to re-think our role as Educators.   We can stop and critically think about what really matters, the actual authentic moment or the documentation that will come later? Until you clear your mind of distractions, schedules and pre-determined agendas you will never be really able to become lost in the moment of time.  The thought of leaving my phone at home when I go out, leaves me feeling naked and vulnerable. The actual act of not having it in my back pocket, leaves me feeling refreshed and free. I love it and I acknowledge that I need to do it more.

Creating a balance is all about mindfulness, purposeful acts and awareness. Time is continual, there is always tomorrow. Time is irrelevant, unscheduled your day. For children, time is a moment to be. Come out from behind your camera lens, put down your phone and log off. Disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other and the natural world. See the world for the beautiful place that it is, without an Instagram filter.