The Art of Connection

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Originally published September 23, 2016

The other day a friend’s question got me thinking about the meaning of the word art.. so I looked it up.

One definition stood out to me and made me think past the idea of traditional art.

art: something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.

It was the words beautiful and feelings that stood out to me. I often wonder in deep reflection whether what we do with children is an art or a science. I silently debate that time and time again as I reflect at the end of each day. After reading this definition I have concluded that it is both, an art and a science;  for you can not have science without art, and you can not have art without science…

Our daily work is rooted in the art and science of connection and relationship. Authentic connections are born out of *feelings of security, love, belonging, and acceptance. The result of this connection is so very deeply *beautiful.

With every interaction and every encounter, we are either strengthening our connection or weakening it. Knowing this and being mindful of this drives me to put much thought behind my interactions with the children I spend my days with.

Share with them, play with them, step out of my adult world and into their world.  Speak their language, the language of play.

The word SKILL caused me to think even deeper, does the art of connection take skill?

The skill to observe, document and gain a deep understanding of the needs and interests of the children.  The ability to translate my findings to make the learning visible to the children, their families, and the community at large. The Sense to respect their need to be free of adult intrusion and understand when my close presence is not needed or wanted. It takes skills to detect the need for support and to decipher what tools to use to scaffold a child in need. It takes  skills to design an environment that supports each individual child’s unique needs.. I’d say YES… The art of connection takes skill.

 Through connecting with children on such a deep and authentic level, you are *expressing important ideas and feelings. The idea that the child is worth it, the child is valued, loved, and inherently good.  The art of connection produces such masterpieces, it produces strong, confident children who grow to be imaginative, creative, skillful, beings with important ideas and feelings to express.

art: something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.

Kisha Reid is the owner and director of Discovery Early Learning Center: A
Place for Childhood a wonderful play-based program located in Poolesville
Maryland. She has been in the early childhood field for 27 years and continues to actively work in the classroom with children 3-5 years old. Her passion for authentic childhood has led her to found an advocacy group called Play Empowers which focuses on promoting developmentally appropriate play based education for young children.