When I was little, all I dreamed about was being a veterinarian - not an unusual dream for a little girl. Dogs, rabbits, horses - I wanted to play with them all the time. Did I have a horse, a rabbit or a dog? No, well, occasionally, our family had a dog, but it was mainly my Mom's and definitely wasn't the Disney Benji I thought needed my attention as a "vet". Oh, I wanted a horse and to be the President, to ride a horse, or better, be the President's horse! But, whatever animal was involved in my dream, I was always outside, in the grass and dirt with the animal of my dream.
Did I become a vet? No. Am I outside in the grass and dirt much? Often. Is that okay? Sure, because, that's the thing about dreams. They let you try new things on for size. Dreams ramp up your curiosity and send you in directions you never imagined. Dreams change and morph with time, sometimes growing into reality, sometimes going away forever, sometimes just hanging around like an old friend bringing a quiet smile when you see that spark in a child.
Feeding dreams is a great benefit of being an early childhood educator. Enriching environments and giving lots of extended time to play so that a child can follow the tangents of their imaginations. Is a child fascinated with blocks dreaming of being an architect or a child always at the easel planning his Art School Portfolio? Probably not. I am not there to impose my adult view of occupations on a child's time. Are the benefits of block play and the availability of art material endless? Yes. Spatial awareness, pre-math skills, enriched vocabulary, social skills, perseverance, motor and cognitive development - the list goes on and on. Benefits that build a foundation for the dream of their choosing.
So today, with my dog at home and a rabbit in the classroom that hops in the block area and hides under the easel, I like to think I'm feeding a few dreams...or maybe just enjoying an old one.