“My World, Our World” by Khadija Niazi

Have you ever noticed what happens if you cut off a branch of a bigger plant like a succulent and replant it in a smaller pot?

Nothing. Nothing happens. It does not die, as it still is getting the nutrients from the soil, the oxygen, water and even sunlight but also- nothing happens. It just stops growing in size because there is not enough space for it to grow to its maximum potential in a small pot. Being experimental myself, I cut part of a cactus and a branch of an indoor plant and replanted them in a fishbowl, my version of an indoor fairy garden. I was not expecting them to survive in the first place, but they did. What did not happen surprisingly enough was that they did not grow in size while their counterparts from which I cut them off were growing and spreading in the garden at a fast pace. They were begging me to plant them in a bigger, wider space with more potential to grow and expand. And this is what we will talk about today- The importance of our environment!

Our environments are crucial for us to grow optimally and to be able to reach our true potential. Children grow very much in the same way. They absorb everything around them, what is being said by adults, what is being felt but also the energies of what is physically present in their environments. It plays such a vital role in child development that it is often referred to as ‘the Third Teacher’.

As carers for small children, we need to recognize the importance of environment and its impact on child development. Their environment should have a nice balance of visual stimulation, not over or under whelming. An effective environment should be stimulating and one that involves all five senses. It is open ended and thought provoking for the children paving a way for never ending creativity and opportunities to learn, explore and wonder. 

Environments should also be social in nature and contribute and promote social interactions between children. Open spaces for collaboration and exploration gives children an opportunity to come together and access different perspectives opening a possibility of a vertical learning environment where children learn from other children who are older than them. This applies to home environments as well. An environment can very easily be uninviting and inhibit social interaction so go down to the child’s level and think do I like what I see?

Our brain is everchanging and re-wires itself based on the individual’s experiences and environments. We look onto our past experiences to build further learning upon. So let’s make sure we give children the environments in which their brain’s plasticity changes for the positive and only the positive!

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