Halfway through the first grade, my 7-year-old did not want to write or spell at home or school anymore. This was new for him. It seemed to me like the expectations for the first graders were significantly higher than those for kindergarteners and I think it was showing in his reluctance.
One afternoon, we had a play date at a park with one of his best friends. I went exploring in the woods with the two boys. It is rare for me to have time with my son without his younger brother, so this was a treat for both of us.
We climbed some really high, challenging rock cliffs and at the top we chunked rocks at cactuses and had some imaginative play. I was able to give him undivided, supportive, relaxed attention as he pushed himself to do hard stuff.
Later, we had a chance for more physical play at a parenting class led by Patty Wipfler. After class I was able to run around and wrestle with him. I could see that he felt really filled up, happy, confident, bright eyed, and connected.
That night as we were getting ready for bed he began to spell “hard” words out loud. “Hey, mom! I can spell ‘because’ and ‘sometimes’.” He came up with a whole list of challenging words that he could spell.
This is something he had never done before. He just came up with it on his own. It was as if his mind was really clear and all of these words that had previously been blocked (by whatever) could come forward because of all that close connected play. His mind was fully activated and ready to learn!!
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