It is easy to underestimate how much of an impact the surrounding environment can have on someone.
- fine in a school environment
- thrive in structure, or no structure
- happy around strangers
- happy outdoors
- love being indoors
To expect that every child, or human being, should be ok in a ‘template’ environment is crazy to think as acceptable. By ‘template’ I mean a place like ‘school’ or a typical ‘work place’.
I’ve been reminded of this recently. My girl, currently 2.5, was so attached to me. Until she was around 2 I just couldn’t successfully/happily leave her with someone else. We had tried various things – nanny, childminder, nursery. She just didn’t like being with other people, I understood her needs, but at the same time I was going a bit nuts trying to find some work time.
She’s come a long way since then. She goes to a Montessori nursery now which she loves, thrives and gives the teachers big hugs at! She also goes to at home childminder / nursery, which is also Montessori focused. Her bigger brother goes there too, which probably helps.
At both places she only cried once. And her wonderful little character is shining through. She is doing so good that I forget how far she has become….until…she is placed in a situation/environment that she doesn’t like – anywhere that has people she doesn’t recognise, she totally freaks out if they come close to her.
It is things like this that create our unschooling journey. Paying attention to what matters for each child, what helps each of them thrive positively. None of my boys were like this, but my girl is and as a result we accommodate her situation/needs/feelings.
And that’s ok. All we are doing is accommodating to each of children’s needs, however small or big they may be. The school system doesn’t allow that and that is why we continue to opt out of it.