For those that have been reading awhile, you might guess that Alina’s temperament can lean towards the cautious side. She is independent by nature, questioning everything and challenging me constantly, but she has never been one to stray from my side much. In my professional experience in social services, I’ve worked with kids that have endured real life stories that I wouldn’t even think about. Some of those kids make it out, and UP, because of their resiliency. I’ve always wanted to raise my children to possess that inner strength, writing about it in a two part series on raising independent kids.
Raising Independent Kids at Kidville
Just before Alina turned three, I enrolled her in a couple publicly funded classes to foster her independence. Although our schedule has always been filled with structured activities, this would be Alina’s first experience without me. The classes were very inexpensive, short and I sat right outside the door. The first week she did fine, allowing me to leave the room, but I could sense quickly that there was going to be a problem. Basically, the teacher of this quick paced, jammed packed learning class was forceful, loud and didn’t really look at the kids. Not that she was mean, but I definitely wouldn’t call her nice. For the reminder of the class, Alina would not let me leave and would only engage if I were in the room, tucked in the back corner. When the teacher would yell a directive, or grab Alina’s arm (I refrain from using ‘force’ because I don’t want to seem melodramatic, but her gesture was not nice), my baby girl’s eyes would look square into mine. I would reassure her with a smile and nod (from ten feet away) as she hesitantly continued her assignment.
We finished our 4 week commitment and I didn’t enroll her again, fearing that this experience would cause a greater resistance of independence.
When agreeing to become a Kidville Mom Ambassador, I asked plenty of questions on the training of their teachers and the size of their classes. I learned the hard way that, sometimes, you really do get what you pay for. Huge class sizes and inept teachers can make for a less than stellar experience. And I wouldn’t suffer my child through that again. Not for $20 or $200.
Early childhood learning is not as easy as it might look; it really takes extraordinary people to teach children. At Kidville, Alina’s closed door dance class started with slight hesitation. As you can see, she wasn’t quite running into the class on the first day (although she was plenty wiggly when I was trying to do the part in her hair!). I had to stand in the class for the first few minutes, but eventually was able to walk out. We’re now a month in, and things are quite different. She runs in without even looking back at me!
I am so happy with our experience at Kidville. Apart from the amazing gym playspace, the quality of instruction is reenforcing the values that I parent with on an everyday basis. She has fun, is challenged to follow directives in a positive way, and is learning through repetition (patterns, memorization, etc). I know that, when I to Kidville, that I have a partner in my efforts of raising independent kids.