|Pluto and its moon Charon|
|There is in fact an organisation dedicated to saving Pluto's planetary status. I am thinking of ordering Finbar a t-shirt off their website.|
This morning at 6:55am Finbar came in my bed to inform me, rather to ask me to guess, what he dreamed last night. One eye open, I mumbled a guess and not being able to contain himself with the good news, he proudly and loudly announced that he had rescued Pluto in his dream. He had gone out to the "tiny blue planet" and brought it back to Earth because it fits inside of earth. He then made some reference to the two planets being cozy and then he informed me that Earth and Pluto were the only planets with one moon, so it was OK to bring it to Earth (I am still searching for exact rationale in that explanation). As I listened to him relate his feelings about the whole experience, which were so real and rewarding to him, I realised that he truly views this planet as a friend, an ally, to be protected and cared for.
Later in the morning as he was relating his dream to his brother Declan, he was inspired again. First he came to me with a pencil gray rendition of "Ploodo", as he wrote it, and it's moon, and asked me to guess what it was. When I guessed correctly by "sounding out" the name, he marched over to the art easel that crazy Aunt Zanny sent him for Christmas (more on that later), rolled down some paper and drew "Pluto in the Night". The scene included a very small sun ("teeny tiny because it is so far away") and a bunch of other twinkling stars drawn using a pretty blue pastel crayon. All the while going on about dwarf planets, moons, etc. I marvelled at this perfect storm of learning and expression. It is what teachers and textbooks on teaching refer to - you can excite a child to learn (and in this case teach others) if you combine a subject about which they are passionate with an outlet to express themselves and their knowledge.
Clearly if you have been following this blog you would know that all things outerspace and of the universe, particularly the defenseless underdog dwarf planet Pluto, are of great importance to Finbar. If you just take this instance, he did several things which, taught as separate skills, are hard to extract from him:
- creative yet accurate drawing
- phonetic spelling
- teaching others about science
- taking a stance and arguing a case (for Pluto's inclusion as a planet)
- empathy and caring (for Pluto)
For his recent birthday, Finbar received 2 sets of model space figurines, you know, the little plastic figurines that come in a long plastic tube. There were various versions of astronaut suits, rockets, space stations, satellites, capsules, etc. When he got those I thought, well nice, but he has little imagination and so hardly ever takes inanimate objects like that and creates a story to play with them a la Fisher Price Little People.
|Spaceship One has already made one successful test flight a few months ago|
To those with ordinary children who play imaginatively all the time (like my second son) and by age 6 are quite self entertaining (unlike Finbar), playing with pirate ships, legos, and figurines, this little story may seem banal. But for the parent of a child who has trouble self entertaining with toys in a creative, imaginative and productive way, this is progress. I really must try and must make sure that his teachers try, to reach and educate Finbar in ways that are meaningful to him. What a challenge, but what a fascinating challenge it will be.