Saturday, 19 November 2011

Finger Knitting to Self Regulation to Cultural Chaos

We are going to start finger knitting in Kindergarten soon.  I thought it was a great way to practice fine motor skills. Tactile, beautiful, creative as well.    I was wrong.  It is apparently a commentary on all that is wrong with our Culture : ) Bear with me. 

Finger knitting is also an opportunity for me to help children self regulate, apparently something great learners need. Brain guys say that self regulation comes from repeated, rhythmic, soothing actions like chanting, drumming, rocking, knitting, weaving.  Engaging the brain stem and all that stuff.  
Sounds like your house any given day right?  Sounds like the kind of stuff we do all the time in our Culture. Peaceful, rhythmic, repeated, time consuming stuff.   
We get into these trends of what is important for kids to be globally successful. To be successful 21st century learners.   What if what is stopping us is our own Culture? What is it to be Culturally successful?  Gross overstatement alert here, but many world Cultures are self regulated and sustainable. Why in our Culture do we have to “teach” self regulation instead of it being embedded?

So. Finger knitting : )   Your brain cannot find the path to quiet reflection, to self regulation,  without having been there first, on its own terms.   We ask kids to be quiet and listen. We tell kids to reflect now, please.  Have you ever seen a group of people knitting? Quilting?  Conversation, reflection, a lull in conversation that is golden.   Or someone working at a loom, a puzzle, weaving, or kneading bread.  What we lightly refer to as hobbies, or schedule into a busy day as Me Time, or dismiss in another Culture as backward,  are an essential chunk of what helps children to cope with a Culture that might be stripping us of that. 
Technology allows us to visit other Cultures, to explore and reflect and compare. It allows us to share our Culture through stories and images and voices. It even creates some of that Culture. 
As long as we value and explore the rhythmic, repetitive chant that is a Culture at its quietist. At its most reflective.  At its most powerful. 

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