Hello there, we’re Penny and Max and we’ve written a book for you called “The Roots of Childhood.” Let us explain a little about the book for you.
The “Roots of Childhood” documents our journey of nature-inspired play with our first child and all the magical activities we enjoyed with her at home. This book is a tool for learning and development, but it’s equally a tool for beautiful bonding moments with your child at home. These are eternal moments that you will cherish, as you watch their eyes glow and their imagination flourish.
We’re sure you can relate, there is nothing more fulfilling and wonderful than playing with your child and watching them evolve and grow before your eyes. Our activities are all designed to assist growth and development of your child in key areas such as: social, emotional, fine-motor skills, language and communication and problem-solving.
BACKGROUND OF THE AUTHORS
Firstly, this book comes from the perspective of a mum and dad parenting for the first time. We have been through all the joys, struggles and roller-coaster of emotions that comes with parenting.
Additionally, we’re coming from the perspective of a teacher (Max) and a designer (Penny) with 10-years professional experience in the field. With this book, our goal is to help you create a thriving learning space at your home, which can host engaging learning activities and spark moments of endless inspiration and imagination. We will help you do this using natural resources and tools, which are kind to the environment.
THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE BOOK
How did the book come about? Let us recount the background story a little for you.
In the midst of a worldwide lockdown in 2020, we took some action to ensure that our child was not deprived of nature. We designed activities at home, which incorporated nature and slowly, but very organically, our daughter grew to love and respect nature.
With natural, open-ended tools, she played, learned, role-played, problem-solved and delighted in sensory play. Home became a place where our daughter thrived. It wasn’t easy by any stretch, but we’ve attempted to make it easy for you by providing a step-by-step guide to 40 of our best nature-inspired play activities.
There are a variety of different activities in this book for you to enjoy, from the messy play style to building three-dimensional forests where animals can thrive! Themes or ‘unit studies’ are important in a child’s learning process, so we’ve given you some interesting themes to work with. Please use the book as you please and you can join at any page – we’ve designed the book so you can dip in for inspiration at any moment.
40 HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES
The timing of our debut book, “The Roots of Childhood” is profound as our earth is struggling cope with all the devastation caused by humanity – pollution on a mass scale, deforestation and of course, our carbon emissions.
We’ve included plenty of activities inside the book which help children learn about our environment through fun, sensory play activities.
The book itself has 10 parts and the activities were classified into 6 categories – Plants, Animals, Food, Art and Craft, Mindfulness, Mathematics.
We give you 40 hands-on activities to set up at home, with the possibility of hundreds of extension activities beyond that. The early years are a journey to be enjoyed and savoured as our children learn and soak up the world at a faster rate than they ever will again.
NATURE AND SUSTAINABILITY
As for our focus on nature-inspired play, we’re passionate about this because we’re in the midst of an environmental crisis. Our relationship with nature is more important than ever before. As parents and educators, we all have a responsibility to raise the next generation of environmentally conscious adults.
With this book, we wanted to give you a tool to help you raise your child with nature and help them stay on track with their development, while they’re at home with you. No one can impact our children’ learning more than we can – and all the magic happens at home.
You will notice with everything about the book, as you read it, that nature and sustainability is always at the forefront of our minds, from the non-toxic ink to the natural hessian fabric we use for the packaging, we want to show you that we do practice what we preach and we truly adore nature.
REGGIO EMILIA INSPIRED DESIGN
You might notice that we modelled our activities on the Reggio Emilia philosophy, which is a child-led, open-ended approach that we’ve learned and Max has studied in depth.
The Reggio approach was our personal choice because it matched our view of children as strong capable learners with infinite potential. We connected with this philosophy and quite simply, we fell in love with the Reggio approach. We’ve shared our connection to Reggio in the book and given some tips how to set-up Reggio Emilia style learning ‘provocations’ at your home.
These provocations have been instrumental in our child’s development and we have seen with our own eyes the positive impact they have on children. They empower children, give them confidence and entice a child’s natural hunger for learning and exploration. We hope you are willing to try and see for yourself!
Indeed, central to the Reggio approach is designing an inviting, attractive learning space so we’ve given you lots of tips and advice in the book how to achieve this. With the words, we’ve provided clear, vivid images to help guide you step-by-step. The magic happens at home when a child has the space, the tools and the environment which communicates to them like a sweet musical melody.
We share the Reggio philosophy that a child’s learning and development is directly influenced by the stimuli surrounding them. With Penny’s experience in designs, we feel that this book can really help you achieve a learning space which can foster limitless growth and development.
By the way, our home is a humble apartment in the concrete jungle that is Bangkok, so if we can do it, you can also do it – no matter how big or small your space is at home.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM ‘THE ROOTS OF CHILDHOOD?’
You may have already realised, we’re nature lovers and we care very deeply about our environment. We would like to present this book as a useful tool for all parents and educators, who are environmentally conscious and support sustainable play. You may not support the Reggio Emilia philosophy specifically, but other similar pedagogies exist such as the Montessori approach.
Anyone who is looking for child-centred activities and inspiration can benefit from reading this book. Equally, these activities can be incorporated into a homeschooling curriculum as they support all the key areas of development.
The book can sit at home and be opened at any moment you need inspiration for your activities. Similarly, the book has a place in alternative schools who incorporate nature and sustainable play into their curriculum . Schools who place the environment as a fundamental in a child’s early years education could certainly gain something from this book.
With the activities provided in this book, together with our design tips and vivid images provided, we believe that you can create a thriving learning environment at home.
Your home can be a place where you relax, eat, sleep and also revel in your child’s personal development. Where new ideas and inspirational “eureka” moments are achieved on a daily basis.
Our environment at home can empower our children and in turn, we can be empowered as we observe, document their progress, discover their preferences and learn who our child is inside out.
Finally, materials and learning tools at home can communicate with our children, provoke their limitless potential, boundless imagination and best of all, Mother Nature provides all that we need. We’ve shared with you everything we have learned on our journey so far and we hope it helps you on your journey too.