Katie's Content Literacy Blog

04/04/2010

A Toddler Learns to Relate to Adults

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarkie14 @ 9:11 PM

Since most of my life is about school, it’s hard to find literacy events outside the classroom.  Fortunately, I witnessed a literacy event when I was home with my family in Philadelphia.  I have a two-year-old niece (almost three) named Alice and she is the only person under 18 in my family.  When we are together, there is no one her age to interact with and she fights her way into the “adult conversations.”  In one specific event, she was the center of the conversation.  She had just received a present with a rather large chocolate-coconut easter egg.  She mentioned to my father, her grandfather, that she would be sharing this with her daddy when she got home.  Her father was not with us all weekend because he had to work, but she was aware of his presence in her life.  It was an act of kindness and thoughtfulness that I did not expect at all from her and pondered how she developed such kindness.  I felt that it was a result of her nurturing parents and extended family and lessons she often receives from her parents on a daily basis.

Through her short time on earth, Alice has of  the importance of sharing because of the constant reminders she receives on a daily basis.  Now that she’s a toddler, she is constantly learning how to speak like a big girl, being rewarded with verbal praise when she does and asked how to speak like one when she gets very demanding.  The goal of these lessons is to help her progress developmentally and to instill a sense of courtesy and respect for others.  In this situation, there is not only a parent-child relationship but also a teacher-student one, where the student is Alice and the teachers are her parents.  Occasionally, however, someone else may step in and serve as the teacher.  The lessons are ad-hoc and occur anywhere and at any time.  Because of the routine her parents provide Alice, the lessons often occur when getting ready for the day, at meal times, or in the car.  There are no specific, tangible artifacts that reappear in each lesson.

The artifacts of each lesson, whether it’s food, a toy, or a person, are specific to the situation.  The intangible artifacts are the values and morals learned from previous lessons.  The learning activity is usually a conversation, based on the rules set up by her parents she still struggles to learn as she balances her self-centered instinct to survive she’s had since she was board and her need to relate to and share with others.  In each conversation, Alice must apply prior knowledge that she has learned through these conversations that have occurred since she started to speak.  Everyone who has an active role in Alice’s life values these lessons because of how it helps her to grow into a person and because it reduces conflict and stress at dinner time!

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