Joseph, Callum and Charlie went away camping for a night with my parents last weekend, and when we went to collect them, they showed us around some woods they had been exploring. No doubt involved in some dinosaur related imaginary play, Joseph turned to Oliver and said, "It must be the Jurassic period because there are trees!" Only then did I remember that when we took Joseph to see 'Walking With Dinosaurs' at Wembley Arena recently, we had learned that trees first appeared during the Jurassic period, and flowers and insects during the Cretaceous.
The wonderful thing about having no expectations about what or how my children learn and simply the knowledge that they will, is that I am constantly amazed by them! Rarely a day goes by where I don't 'WOW' at something new they have learned through their own motivation and exploration of the world. Today Callum and Charlie were playing with some pebbles that are piled in a fireplace upstairs and began looking as though they wanted to throw them! I suggested we take them downstairs to decorate instead, and we were soon gluing and drawing all over them. Callum gave me two pebbles and said "I've written 'C' for Callum on them' and made the sound of the beginning of his name.
He has never been given instructions on how to write, or sat down to trace his name (as Joseph was at nursery) but nonetheless he has found the motivation and developed the skills to start to write his name. Callum is rarely still and is usually found running, jumping, climbing and dancing around; I have no doubt that these high energy activities are crucial for Callum as he learns to control his body enough to use fine motor skills.
I didn't expect Callum to spontaneously write the first letter of his name today, or for Joseph to remember that trees appeared during the Jurassic period, so both were a wonderful surprise. It feels brilliant to enjoy what they are learning rather than measuring them against averages and judging them in terms of what they 'should' be learning. When averages and expectations are taken out of the equation no one is behind or ahead, and children are enjoyed for who and where they are.