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Supporting Children’s Natural Passions: My Passion verses Their Passion

I’ve attended numerous Pikler approach workshops where newcomers grapple with sharing their passions with children. They often think, “This method works best for children, but I love books, music, or art, and I want to share that passion.” They hope to open the door of possibilities for children, making their interests accessible. Time and again, workshop leaders emphasize supporting children in developing their own creativity and interests. This concept can be challenging to embrace.

When I first learned this method, my love for books was paramount. Books are vital to me—I even sleep with them. Initially, I wondered where to set up the library and was told, “We have books, but it’s not about structured storytime.” If children want to be read to, they will bring a book to you. This approach seemed counterintuitive, but I saw its incredible impact on children.

In my Pikler-inspired childcare program, Flourishing Children’s Place, we didn’t have a designated library or storytime, but we had plenty of books. We had board books, soft plastic books for chewing, and fluffy books for comfort. These books were part of the environment, reflecting my passion. Over time, I noticed children using books in diverse ways. They enjoyed them, played with them, and mimicked reading. They would even bring books to the teacher, indicating their desire to be read to. Despite lacking a formal storytime, children engaged with books as I had hoped.

This experience taught me a new way to support children’s passions. Some passions may align with mine, and some may not. The key lesson is that it’s not about my passions but supporting children in exploring their interests, leading them to reach their full potential. By creating an environment that speaks to children and calls out their innate passions, they develop a love for literature, music, art, and more.

Ultimately, children develop passions when we provide a diverse and stimulating environment. This natural development aligns with the Pikler philosophy, emphasizing the child’s interests over imposed adult preferences.