Spontaneous Learning: Alphabet Blocks

This afternoon as I sat down for a short rest on the couch between cleaning, (children’s) crafting & general sprogget parenting duties Babyman approached me whimpering & crying while climbing on me to poke me in the chest & tell me he wanted “more”.

I somewhat resentingly breastfed him, why can’t I have just 5 minutes peace?! My wish was his command, he promptly fell asleep & stayed asleep when I rolled him off me onto the couch. The Bubble had been playing in her room & noticed Babyman had stopped crying. She must have also noticed that his crying wasn’t replaced by his common Babyman chatter because she asked me if he was asleep, & then on hearing that he was, she asked me if I would like to join her in the game she was playing.

Even though I was tired & wanted nothing more than to stare at the wall for 5 minutes while no one talked to (or at!) me, I siezed the opportunity for some time to connect with The Bubble, who has found this transition to a new home & new town quite difficult. She’s feeling the isolation, & she’s acutely aware of the stress Bean & I are under at the moment as we transition to a (hopefully wonderful) life in the Great Southern.

The game The Bubble was playing was with some alphabet blocks my Mum gave her for her first birthday almost 3 years ago. The blocks have letters & numbers on them, as well as pictures of things beginning with the corresponding letters. She was arranging them so the pictures were all facing her. She asked me to help her with that. After I’d turned a few blocks for her she handed me a block with a picture of an igloo on it and asked me what it was.

I told her it was a house made of ice, which is called an igloo. She picked up a block with a traditional looking brick house on it & asked if it was like that house. I told her it wasn’t and explained again what an igloo was. I suggested we get my laptop and look on the internet for some pictures of igloos.

Looking at photos of igloos led to questions about who lives in igloos, which led to looking at photos of Eskimos in traditional dress. Feeling satisfied with all she’d learned about Eskimos and igloos The Bubble then handed me a block with a peacock on it.

We looked up pictures of peacocks and she was fascinated. I decided to check youtube for a video of a peacock doing a mating dance. Bingo! She watched the peacock strut about wiggling its bottom & ruffling its beautiful feathers, then watched the peacock walking about with its tail feathers down, scratching at the ground much like a domestic chicken.

Next up was an octopus. We looked at photos of octopi, which she told me reminded her of starfish. The first time The Bubble saw a starfish was in the water at South Beach in Fremantle, a small sandy coloured starfish. The next one was a larger, vibrant blue starfish in an aquarium at the WA Museum in Albany.

We also looked up pictures of icecream sundaes, snails, angels, nurses & other things she already knew about, simply because it was such a novelty for her to have a bit of control over what showed up on my laptop screen which is usually not something she has access to.

After about 15 minutes I redirected the play back to the blocks & packed the computer away. The Bubble’s interest in the blocks continued after Babyman woke up, while I vacuumed & mopped the loungeroom & until Bean came home from work much later than usual. After the initial excitement of Bean’s homecoming she was back to the blocks which she continued to sort into various groups that made sense to her, stopping only for dinner & a brief “Hello” when Bean’s parents came to lend us their car. She left the blocks on the coffee table in the loungeroom before she went to bed, so I did too. She’s obviously not done with them so I’ve decided to leave them where she left them & see if she picks up her game again tomorrow.

This was pure natural learning in action, I didn’t suggest the game, I had nothing to do with it until I was invited to. It felt great to observe, & I felt blessed to have been invited to be a part of it.

posted by wildecrafted in education and have Comment (1)

One Response to “Spontaneous Learning: Alphabet Blocks”

  1. bek says:

    Things like that are awesome to observe 🙂


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