Tag Archives: childrensrights

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! 

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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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Sit down & Shut up

Bec Carey

Excuse me while I gather my thoughts and pick my brains up off the floor, they have just exploded with mixed emotion of anger, shock and complete disbelief. I can not believe some Educators are still stuck in practice where children are expected to sit down, shut up and be present at mandatory group times developed by and for educators convenience. What benefits does this practice promote- apart from the obvious time it allows for educators to pack away everything out of children’s reach to make their end of day duties easier. No play = no mess, right? How do these said Educators force children to sit for extended periods of time? Feed them biscuits? Read them continuous stories? Physically pull them back into place? My heart bleeds at the thought. My head screams NO! Physically my whole body would become mute at the shock of utter disbelief. My brain will definitely explode.

I have worked in Early Childhood for over 10 years. I know too well the pressures it creates. The constant juggle between keeping on top of the abundance of work, daily chores such as cleaning and meeting the high level of expectations from families, colleagues and business owners. But I would never dream of forcing a child to sit on the ground at my feet while I read endless stories from a comfortable spot on the lounge so my colleague can clean up. Story time for me looks and feels a lot different…. It usually begins with a child requesting me to read them a book or to tell them a ‘magic story’, a known specialty of mine. We find a comfortable place to sit together, a lounge, floor cushions or under a tree. At times, after the story has begun, more children may curiously join in if they wish. There’s no mandatory crossed legs, no superior teacher above the children’s height, looking down and forcing children to listen. Actually there is usually body parts everywhere, entangled in an wonderful mess of comfort and belonging. Children come and go as they please and if they chose to sit upside down, back the front or lie down, they can. Others like to listen from a distance, multitasking as they paint, draw and play. It’s fun, it’s relaxing and it works. Books hold a very special place in my heart. I love them. So naturally story time for me is such an important time to promote an enjoyable atmosphere. I was so excited the first time I saw my 5 year old daughter smell the pages of a book, “ahh I just love the smell of books” she cooed dreamily.

I am completely dumbfounded as to how educators to this day could turn such a natural instinct into a forced expectation and experience. It’s 2016 people! Research and time has allowed us to evolve our practice for the benefit of the children.  We’re moving on and up, please don’t be the one left behind. If someone pulled your arms down and demanded you sit, how would you feel?  How can children find strength to assert their feelings and rights if they aren’t given opportunity to have a voice in the first place? Is this practice shaped from an outdated image of the child, incapable, inferior and helpless? Is it that these Educators forget that children have rights? The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a universal agreed non-negotiable standard for the rights of children. Along with  a right to shelter, education, health and more, it states children have a right to play (Article 31). So, why do some think it’s ok to take away this right? The UNCRC doesn’t say, “children have a right to play as long as it’s not messy and inconvenient for educators” Perhaps these educators have closed minds, they’ve done it the same way for years or perhaps they aren’t mindful of their own practice.

   

Mindfulness allows you to subconsciously stop and be aware of your actions, words and practice. It will provide you with time to critically reflect on yourself before you critically direct children.  Educators need to ask themselves ‘why’ they are giving direction to a child, especially if it’s taking away a child’s free choice. Better still, they need to stop directing  and start connecting. Relationships form a strong foundation to understand someone, to see the world through a child’s eyes. To be mindful you need to channel your own sense of being. You need to be comfortable in your practice with children, no matter how big the mess becomes. You need to understand children’s rights, including their right to play. The sooner you realise that play is messy, the sooner you will find inner peace.

 The perfect place to read

For more information on the UNCRC, Early Childhood Australia has provided links on their website to the original document as well as providing links in various language options. There is even a simplified version, for those who like it clear and concise.

 Early Childhood Australia- http://www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/learning-hub/educator-resources/childrens-rights/

UNCRC Original document in full- http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/ProfessionalInterest/crc.pdf

This post is a tribute to Bev Bos, a true advocate for play and children’s rights who sadly passed away this week. 

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.