Saturday, March 1, 2014

River Time! And a few thoughts on preschool-aged learning...

Warning!  There a ton of pictures in this post!

Last weekend we took advantage of the beautiful weather and went down to the river.  We live very close to the White River (it’s only about a 5 minute drive) and like to take the girls every now and then, especially during the summer.  

Always posing for the camera!

As you can see, these railroad tracks go over the river.  I think I've posted other pictures on this blog of the girls on these tracks.

 It was kind of a steep climb to get up there!

 This is a trail that ran next to the river.  

 Izzy always finds some big stick to carry around.

 She was disappointed  because her stick broke.

 I think Addy was looking at the big boulders or something.

 Did you notice Izzy in the background of the previous picture?  Like I said, always posing...

 On our way back, there was a train going over those tracks that we were just on.  Good thing we got down when we did!  Izzy was really excited and she and I ran almost the whole way back to see the train.

 Under the tracks.

 I took several pictures of them sitting here, but couldn't get a really good one because they just kept watching the train go by.  Addy looked kind of worried up there, haha.

 Do you see the girls under the bridge?  This is the Cotter bridge that goes over the river.

I don't know what Jared was pointing out.  Probably the porta potties, which we had to use, and they were disgusting...

 This is not an active train (is that how one would describe two train cars that are just for looks?).

 This is a different trail that runs to a much larger part of the river where a lot of people fish.  
Iz found another stick, of course.

 This part of the river is really pretty, and this is where we like to go to throw rocks and walk around.  During the summer, however, we can't stay long because there is absolutely no shade.  Need to remember to bring a big umbrella this summer.

 Oh, Addy found her another stick!

 So fun to throw rocks!  It's the little joys in life...

 Izzy started collecting some rocks to bring home.  I think she brought home about five rocks.

I was showing the girls how, when you dig farther from the water, there's water under there and you can form little pools.  I have no idea what those little pools of water are called.  But I think they have a name...I think there's a Curious George episode that talks about this.  We like Curious George.  Especially the books; they are very well written and the girls like them.

You know, there's a lot of learning that can go on by just being outdoors.  Take the pools of water described above, for example.  And, while we were walking, there were some trees that were growing right next to the water, and some of their roots were showing.  So Izzy and I talked about how big the roots were, and how long they can be, and about how trees get water from their roots.

Izzy starts kindergarten next year.  She has never been to preschool, and neither has Addy (and I don't plan to send her).  I've never been really big on sitting my kids down and making them learn some kind of preschool curriculum before they actually start school (even though preschool is a pretty big deal in this country).  I'm not saying preschool is bad or whatever, and that people shouldn't take their kids to preschool, and I understand that some people have no choice, but I just want my kids to be kids.  They will be in school for the majority of their childhood, and before they tackle that, I want them to play and be children and have fun.  (And I'm also not saying that those things don't happen in a preschool setting.)

But this doesn't mean that I don't teach them things.  Izzy already knows a lot of what kids end up learning in kindergarten.  Not everything, but a lot.  And I don't remember ever making her sit down and listen to me teach her something.  Most of what she's learned has come through playing, along with Jared and me reading to her (which I do think is super important).  There have been times when she's done a workbook or something (remember my facebook video?), but only because she wanted to, not because I forced her. 

What I want is for my kids to develop a love for learning, and to be able to discover what interests them.  At this age I don't want to force them to learn something (except how to behave appropriately!); I want it to just come naturally through spending time with them, being outdoors, and letting them play and be kids.  And let me say that, no, I do not point out every little thing when we're outside and turn it into a learning experience.  There are plenty of times when they are playing and I just stay out of it, haha!

Can you tell I've been thinking a lot about school and all things learning lately?  Probably because...

Izzy begins kindergarten next year!!!  I don't want her to leave me (maybe she won't)!  :)


  1. Enjoyed reading this and looking at the pictures so much Angela! You are one smart lady and your girls will be so smart!