There is something about these days of August that fill my heart with hope. The new school term nears and with it comes the promise of the fulfillment of all the lofty goals I can dream. I was definitely off my knitting rhythm for a few weeks, there. It just felt tedious and tense. Thankfully, I found a joyful rhythm again at Mint Springs Lake while my little girls, in sandy bathing suits, climbed the ladders and slid down the slide again and again and again. Back and forth I knitted across the body of this sweater, while up and down they played. Rhythm. It's a good thing.
And environment. A prepared environment sings hope to me as well. I know it's time to leave the sewing studio for a few hours a day or so and begin to put the right books in the baskets, spruce up the art supplies, re-think the spaces. I was delighted to receive Playful Learning:Develop Your Child's Sense of Joy and Wonder in the mail while I was away last weekend. I had forgotten that I'd pre-ordered it ages ago, when I ordered Amanda Soule's new book. I put The Rhythm of the Family aside for now and dug into Playful Learning yesterday as I forced myself to be still and rid my body of a nasty infection.
I've been reading early childhood education books for thirty years or so. It takes a serious gust to qualify as a breath of fresh air. This is it. This book artfully, masterfully, and very clearly presents a lovely marriage of the theories of Maria Montessori, Loris Malaguzzi, and Howard Gardner. What you get is an accesible and immediately implementable roadmap to the best of Montessori, Reggio Emelia, and Harvard Project Zero. It's absolutely not a theory book though--it's all very practical. This a visually inspiring book full of hands-on reading, science, and social activities for children from three or four to about eight or nine. There is just enough child development background to give underlying meaning to the activities. There are reproducibles to make it come to life easily. And there are very thoughtful, helpful, and beautiful pictures to inspire the viusal among us. This book has me happily reorganizing and purposefully planning to capture the joyful moments of my children's natural inquisitiveness and wonder right along with them. I'm sitting surrounded by a few beautiful things, drawing spaces and sketching simple plans. All good.
I can feel it coming. The next few days are going to be fifteen degrees cooler. The baskets of art supplies and books and science tools will be refreshed and replenished. The knitting needles will click merrily towards the completion of fall cardigans. Hope shines a sunny yellow in the learning space that is my sunroom.
Please visit Ginny for more reading and knitting inspiration. (Hey, I visited with Ginny in person last week. And neither of us knitted. Can you imagine? That baby sure is sweet, though. Plans must be made for a knitting visit soon.)