I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday. Halloween holds a special place in my heart, not because I love it or love to dress up or scare people (I actually don’t), but because it is the holiday that woke me up a bit to something I had been overlooking with Andrew.
We were in the grocery store a few years back, when he was 4 and was not speaking any consonants. There were decorations up all over the store and he pointed up at a witch and asked in his own way, what it was. It hit me like a ton of bricks that I had been so focused on trying to get him to talk that I hadn’t really placed any focus on things that most typical children generally pick up on at an early age. It was not that I was dying to teach him about witches, ghosts and goblins but was more about how he was noticing all sorts of things going on around him that I didn’t even realize.
I wanted to be more mindful of exposing him to vocabulary and concepts of each holiday, month and season so that he would form connections between symbols and these times of the year. This is essentially how I was motivated to incorporate themes into My Obstacle Courses, which then reminded me of how I did it so naturally as a teacher. I could incorporate fun, thematic things and concepts while building things like literacy, math, fine motor, gross motor, oral motor, sensory processing and pretend play. He loved it and still gets excited as the themes change.
A huge bonus for me came a year after this first happened and we walked into a store in September with all of the Halloween decorations up and he looked up and said, “Haween.” I said, “Yes! It’s almost Halloween.”
Engage, Encourage and Empower!