One of my favorite things to do is to go to the movies by myself. Since the first time I saw the previews for Brave I have wanted to see it. But this post isn't about that movie. Nope. It's about the short that was played before the movie, La Luna.
Sometimes it can be really difficult for me to take off my teacher hat or my social justice face, and this short definitely had me wearing both. Although it was an adorable story illustrating how the moon goes from 1/2 to 1/4, there was so much built in to it! A few really stood out to me.
The first was how these 3 generations were heading out to do their job of caring for the moon. It was clearly the youngster's first time out and he was learning from his elders, but he wasn't only watching his father and grandfather to do the job. He was carefully watching their behaviors. The grandfather stuck his finger in his ear, so did the child. The father itched his nose, so did the child. The father and grandfather crossed their arms, so did the child. What a great reminder of how children are always watching us for clues on how to act! For me, this reinforced how we need to be aware of what we say and do because it is our actions that predict the future.
The next was the power of not talking has on teaching. The characters don't speak at all during this film. Sure, there's some grunting or some other similar noise to that, but the two older gentlemen were able to teach the young boy what to do without words. This reminded me of when I visited a Waldorf School about a year and a half (?) ago. Transitions were led by music and visual direction. If the teacher wanted the children to take out their recorder she would start singing a song and do it herself, holding out the item so that they could see what she had. When they were ready to use the recorder, she held it out (still singing) and placed her fingers on the holes. This is so closely linked to my first observation about how children watch us to mimic our behavior. But I love how we can just show kiddos what to do and they can try it, all the while using us as their guide.
The last was how the boy, although new to the job, was able to make his own choices. The father and grandfather continuously try to get him to do it their way (both different from the other). First with how to wear his hat. The boy eventually opts for wearing his hat backwards, not how his elders wear it, as he is posed with a problem and needs an unobstructed view to solve it. Later the men try to convince him which tools are best for moving stars on the moon; grandpa loves his whisk broom and dad adores his push broom. After solving the problem the boy opts for a rake. This serves as a reminder that there are many ways to get a job done well and that all ways are equally successful at completing it.
Afterthought: Another thing thing that struck me was how the adults were so busy arguing with each other over what was the right tool, right way to do something that it allowed the child some freedom to go off on his own and try something else out. It was in their absence that he was able to observe the problem, test a theory, and attempt a solution that worked. Makes you wonder...if we got out of the way of kiddos...what would they be able to accomplish on their own?