Last week, we were kindly invited by Aunty Sarah to participate in a trial session of the upcoming parent-child workshop entitled Walk With Me as part of the Esplanade‘s Octoburst programmes. I’ve never (I think?) attended any parent child workshops before, but to me the word workshop actually conjures up images of doing “fun” stuff in an enclosed environment. Maybe I’ve just had too many corporate “workshops”, but as you might guess, Walk With Me encompasses a lot of walking and exploring, story telling, and imagination.
I could give you a run down of each of the day’s activities, but I think it’s more important to tell you what we took away from the session. It was a short 2 hour (ok it kinda stretched to 3 for us) session, but it was so filled with activities such as story telling, physical activity, crafts, observing, touching, doing… I really like that I learnt (or was reminded?) to lead the children to explore our surroundings, be it art, the city scape, or our history.
So often we go about our hasty lives, rushing from one point to another, one activity to another, and it’s easy to forget that kids enjoy being in the moment, and just being, rather than doing, and that sometimes I need to slow down to let them soak it all in.. Simply by opening our eyes (figuratively and literally) and listening to stories related to what we saw, the children were encouraged to feel, question, observe, practice listening, test their memory, and so much more. It really made me look at our lives (particularly the area at the Esplanade) differently, and hopefully I’ll be able to use as many moments with the kids as possible not just to teach them about things, but also about our lives – who we are, where we come from, and how we live. I will definitely be trying to ask more leading questions and being more observant from now on, as opposed to say, just bringing them to Art Garden and letting them run wild (you mean the museum is not a playground?).
It’s important that children are able to make connections and parallels between objects or concepts (which could be as simple as “Wow look at that big tree, do you think it could be bigger than the one that we always see at grandmother’s house?”), and Sarah’s stories and activties did just that. She was also able to bring history to life, which I have always found challenging because everything we see is always so “new”.
Sarah blogs at The Playful Parents, and I remembered being wowed by her Home Exploration Activity Pack for last year’s Art Garden 2012 where she created her own activity ideas surrounding each of the installations. At this event, she was brilliant – engaging, edging and stimulating each child, and never forgetting about the parents. I’ve already asked her when she’ll be doing her next event!
I dare say that this short well-organized session is so packed with more stimulating activity for a child than many cognitive brain training sessions out there. It’s so well worth the time, and I can tell you that as a mother of three my time is certainly precious! And of course, it definitely gave our mother-son relationship a boost, as a wonderful way to spend some time with Mittens (alone!) while he enjoyed himself, and I learnt how to be a more engaging parent. Research shows that the most important factor in improving a child’s intelligence is not buying him a whole stack of assessment books or sending him for all the enrichment courses you can afford, but by creating a nurturing, loving and secure environment at home. Not to mention the benefits of having a well rounded, adjusted child, of course.
I’m not sure if it was what Sarah intended, but I feel Walk With Me could also be a parenting philosophy, couldn’t it? Aside from the diapering/feeding/clothing/etc., and I’m not sure if the same could be said for them, but I can certainly say that it’s almost a privilege to have these little people walk with ME in my life. Thank you Sarah for a wonderful, amazing session that has left a lasting impression on me.
Oct 5th, 2013
10.30am & 4.30pm
(1hr 30mins, no intermission)
Various locations around Esplanade
Recommended for children aged 6 – 9
$25 per parent-child pair
Package of 3: $30 (Bring your husband!)
Book here on SISTIC