I sat at the bottom of the staircase as my brother finished making his sandwich in the kitchen.
“I didn’t really know how to hold him. I kind of held him like a football, haha.”
“I’ve actually known how to hold a baby since I was…about four. By the age of six I knew how to swaddle a baby, change a diaper, and feed/burp them.”
“What’s a swaddle?”
Though my brother definitely had a leg up on driving skills, I learned so much more from my toys. By nine I knew how to write a check, balance a check book, bake, and perform typical chores (cleaning, laundry, the whole nine yards).
Believe it or not, I possessed the basic tools of adulting 101. Taxes and bills proved to be another beast, but I had a foundation.
Looking back, it seems safe to say that toys prepared me for the ‘real world’ better than the classroom. In various educational institutions, I developed major social skills and learned a lot in the worlds of math and science. However, my toys prepared me for the world beyond textbooks.
In addition to the list above, learning to ride a bike taught me about perseverance and my expressive activities (art, music, blocks, writing, etc.) helped me to sculpt my identity. I even learned quite a bit about morals and values from numerous after school specials. *cough* Boy Meets World *cough*
With all of that being said, education reformation needs to be a thing of the present. I’ll admit that I’m a bit biased, but school should be all inclusive. One central location to gather the necessary knowledge to be an intelligent human being that also understands how to save, budget, handle bills, file taxes, and complete basic domestic tasks.
I understand that parents are also there to help, but not everyone has that luxury. Home is a great place to put your teachings to use. For those that received information from their parents, it couldn’t hurt to hear it twice. Besides, clearly that (preparation) ball was dropped by numerous parents considering how many young adults seem to feel ill-prepared for the “real world.”
If only all parents understood the value of play. That is how the preschool program I direct works. All the centers and toys have an educational value to some awaiting child. Teachers facilitate learning through thought provoking open ended conversations that encourage exploration and experimenting.
If only more educational programs were designed the same way.