Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lessons from the Littles: Let Your Brain Dance Today!!!

I don't know about you, but it often seems to me that grown-ups have a lot to learn from children.  Maybe it's just because I am blessed to be surrounded by littles every day.  All I know is that when I slow down and see the world from their perspective, even if only for a few minutes, I come away with a renewed sense of wonder and awe.

Case in point:  My afternoon littles have recently requested that I play "dance" music for them at around the same time every afternoon.  This occurs during our centers/free choice time.  I have baskets of jingle bell sticks, rhythm sticks and scarves near our group area.  They have free access to these during centers time.  Sometimes the scarves are used in their creations, such as when they used them to decorate Mabel's duck pen (I will write a separate post about Mabel sometime soon). 

However, during "dance time", the scarves are waved with great abandon, jingle sticks are in full jingle mode and creative dance moves are bountiful.  I find it completely impossible to not be 100% joyful when watching the littles dance.  Their faces are wreathed in smiles.  They giggle, sometimes uncontrollably.  They move without the insecurity or self-consciousness of adults, listening to their inner dancers and spontaneously expressing their uniqueness.  I absolutely love watching them.  And, I admit, I equally love busting a move with them.

One of my little friends has a particular knack for getting his groove on.  He recently introduced the rest of us to a move that we now refer to as the "crab dance".  I cannot recall ever laughing so hard as I did when he first demonstrated this feat of movement to the rest of us.  It is now, by far, one of my favorite dance moves to do.  ANYHOW...... the "crab dance" is a frequently requested song in my classroom these days.  I wish I could show you a video of it in full swing.  It is unforgettable.

A few days after the premiere performance of the crab dance, I observed my little budding choreographer busting a move during centers time.  However, there was NO MUSIC playing at the time.  So, I asked him, "_____________, are you hearing music in your head right now?"  He replied, "WHAT??????!!!!!!!!" I said, "Well, I saw you dancing a little bit there and wondered if you were hearing music, like, in your brain or something."   At this point, my little friend pointed to his own head and said something I do not think I will ever forget.  It is something stated simply, yet profoundly and in such a way that I felt I had to share it here.  He said,

"My brain.  He dancing."

I smiled at him.  He smiled back at me.  A big ear to ear grin on his face.  And for just a moment, time stood still.  I was struck by the realization that something very meaningful had just been communicated to me by an innocent four-year-old.  I thought, almost immediately, how amazing it is to allow oneself to get caught up in the beautiful dance of life.  To embrace each moment wholly and without reservation.  To appreciate the beauty in the small stuff:  a snail exploring a surface with his eye stalks; a grasshopper hanging upside-down under a slide; a tiny glittering jewel an expanse of a wood-chip covered playground.

As adults we forget to notice the small stuff, to our great detriment.  For if you spend much time around the littles, you will realize that it's all small stuff.  And also big stuff.  And it's important to listen to the music and let your brain dance.  Every.  Single. Day.

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