It can be easy to underestimate young children’s ability to utilise memory, perhaps because as adults we find it so hard to remember the early days of our own lives. However research, and recent developments in neuroscience, show us that young children are laying down memories all the time.
Well when you stop and think about it, that’s no real surprise, they have to be, otherwise how would they be learning? And learning really is their thing!
When I started working in education I remember suddenly being struck by the question, “What is it that defines learning as opposed to mere recall…is there a difference?”
I recently spent a happy afternoon helping my mother clear out a couple of cupboards, one of which contained many old family photographs, including this one. It’s a school photograph and I think I’m around 5 years old.
When I look at it, all at once I am swamped with memories.
I have never quite understood how it became socially acceptable to laugh openly AT children, there’s no confusion that it might be WITH, we really laugh AT them. I know it’s a truism that they do say and do the funniest things, but much of the time, they aren’t trying to be funny, much of the time they’re trying to express something that’s extremely important to them.
During a movement workshop in a lovely RC school in central Birmingham, a very keen six year old girl kept asking if she could show me her Irish dancing, and I had replied, yes, that would be lovely, but could she please wait and show me at the end of the session.
“Stilo?! Stilo?! Madame, stilo s’il vous plait?!”
This is the cry that will greet me for the next couple of weeks during my stay at a retreat where I will increase my abilities as a Pilates teacher, as well as enjoying the delights of a fairly remote Berber village some 45 minutes distance south of Marrakech.
It was my nephew’s 17th birthday this week, and this is the first year since he was born that an annual ritual remains unfulfilled.
The day after Sam was born, I laid him on a piece of paper, and drew round his fledgling form. Every year after that, either on or close to his birthday, we repeated this ceremony, needing a larger and larger piece of paper as he grew into the young man who is now old enough to try for a driving licence.