Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Learning Doesn’t Only Happen in School

Amanda goes to a playgroup five days a week. It’s wonderful for her, because they paint and make things, they sing and dance to children’s music, play on the playground, do movement games and more. For a while now, she’s been learning to write the first letter of her name. She likes to include the letter “A” in many of her drawings and she likes to find it on signs and labels.

Yesterday, I bought M&Ms and shared them out with my family of six. Smarties are the common candy in South Africa, but even though the candies look similar, they are very different to the taste buds. I think my craving for something American was brought on by all the mouth-watering American desserts I see regularly pinned on Pinterest, but I hardly ever buy M&Ms because they are a bit pricy over here.

I enjoyed looking at the colors with Amanda and I showed her the “m” on each candy and explained that it comes after the “A” in Amanda. I sounded out the letter for her too. She wasn’t quite convinced, so I also showed her how her name looked on one of her art projects from playgroup. She has been learning to copy the letters of her first name and so when she saw the “m” on her project, she recognized it.

You can use M&Ms or Smarties to teach a life principle as well. Rob and I were youth pastors in a post-apartheid nation in 1996. I took Smarties with me to one of our youth groups and had the kids observe the candies. I pointed out that even though the candies look different on the outside, they still taste the same on the inside, meaning that our differences are only skin deep.

While we were eating the M&Ms, I took the opportunity to tell Jessica and Samantha the same analogy. Jessica then mentioned how she had been having trouble with a teenager at school making racist comments about people that she likes. I think he does it on purpose just to get a reaction out of her. Anyway, I told her the next time he’s eating Smarties, she should tell him my analogy. Rob and I also encourage her to keep him at arm’s length. I wrote about the impact people have in our lives in “Blessed to Have You in Our Life” along with a word of advice on the subject.

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